WABE News

State Initiative Aims to Help At-Risk Children

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Georgia First Lady Sandra Deal is helping roll-out a new statewide effort aimed at promoting early childhood development, and linking at-risk families to various state services.

The initiative expands the Great Start Georgia program, which provides home counseling to at-risk families in seven counties, including DeKalb, Clarke, and Whitfield.

Deal says the goal is to make sure all children in Georgia are prepared to enter school by age 5.

“We want every mother to find out how to help her child grow up and develop properly. We want them to notice the milestones and be able to know when their child needs extra help,” said Deal. 

Deal says one in three new babies in Georgia – about 45,000 newborns –need additional medical help or developmental services.

The effort will use about $6 million in state and federal funds to identify at-risk children and provide counseling to the families. The funds also help set up a website and a centralized, toll-free hotline to direct parents to various services.