People of faith are called by that faith to speak
forall the children among us.
June 16, 2008ICM Joins JUSTGeorgia Coalition
Receives $20,000 Grant from Sapelo Foundation
ICM received a $20,000 grant from the Sapelo Foundation to assist the JUSTGeorgia Coalition in generating support for passage of the proposed model of Georgia's Juvenile Code. As a result, ICM will soon take to the road in a statewide juvenile justice campaign.
"The issue of juvenile justice resonates with all faith communities. The grant from the Sapelo Foundation will give us the financial resources to travel across Georgia more quickly and build more deeply than we otherwise could have done. We are very excited about the possibilities this grant creates for the children of Georgia and for ICM," said a delighted Pamela Perkins, Coordinator for ICM.
ICM will work to establish an active network of faith communities statewide (1) that will become educated about the Juvenile Code and how it affects children; (2) that will advocate for the model Code within their faith communities; and (3) that will work for passage of the legislation for the revised Code in the upcoming 2009 legislative session.
JUSTGeorgia is a coalition of ICM partners, Georgia Appleseed, The Barton Child Law and Policy Clinic of the Emory University School of Law and Voices for Georgia's Children, that seeks to accelerate change for children in Georgia through the formal adoption of a modernized state juvenile code and child-serving systems that are fair to children, as well as offer a better chance for prevention, intervention and/or rehabilitation.
The coalition was initiated by philanthropic funding from the Sapelo Foundation to these advocacy organizations and now, by invitation, to the Interfaith Children's Movement.
Throughout the rest of 2008 and 2009, ICM will convene educational and informational sessions for faith communities of all types through which JUSTGeorgia and ICM can provide a clear understanding of the importance of the Juvenile Code and its proposed revisions.
ICM Builds Partnership with Hispanic/Latino Faith Communities
ICM hosted its first workshop, "Expanding Our Voices; Embracing All Children" with Hispanic and Latino faith and community leaders Thursday, June 12 at Simpsonwood Conference Center and began a conversation about issues that impact Hispanic/Latino children and planned ways ICM can partner with our Hispanic/Latino sisters and brothers of all faiths to address them.
"While many issues are universal to all children, ICM wants to ensure that our agenda and efforts include those issues of particular concern to faith communities that serve Hispanic/Latino children and families," said Kathryn Stanley. Kathryn and Caitlin Foley are ICM's Faith-in-Action community organizers for this initiative.
"After many preliminary conversations with Hispanic and Latino faith and community leaders, ICM, with the help of GALEO, is ready to bring faith leaders together to talk," Kathryn said.
GALEO, co-host of the meeting, is the Georgia Association of Latino Elected Officials.
The workshop was a success with some 20 attendees participating in identifying and discussing the most pressing issues that Hispanic/Latino children in Georgia face on a daily basis. This was the first of many collaborative efforts to come between ICM and the Hispanic/Latino communities.
Save Wednesday, October 29 for the Annual ICM Breakfast
Volunteer to Help!
Plan to reserve a seat for yourself, your friends and your faith community for this year's Call to Action Prayer Breakfast. This annual event both inspires and raises funds for our grassroots movement for children.
The Breakfast will be from 7:00 a.m. - 9:00 a.m., Wednesday, October 29, and the location will again be at The Temple at 1589 Peachtree Street, NE.
This year's Breakfast Chair, Duwanna Thomas, needs enthusiastic ICM members to serve with her. Planning is beginning to accelerate so now is a great time to volunteer! There are a variety of tasks and jobs to suit a variety of skills and interests!
If you've been wondering how to participate in this movement, the Breakfast is a great way to start. You'll meet great people from many faiths who share your concern for the welfare ofGeorgia's children. Contact Pamela Perkins, ICM Coordinator, at email@example.com or the ICM phone line - 770-498-2141.
Take Children's Issues to the Candidates in the Georgia General Primary
General Primary is July 15
On July 15, Georgia will hold its general primary. That means the next few weeks leading up to the primary is a golden opportunity to express our concern for children's issues to the candidates who are running to receive their party's nomination for the November general election.
Go to the ICM Website for a list of all the candidates. ICM encourages you to contact the candidates for your district and explore their views on ICM's Advocacy Priorities for Children.
ICM members should be especially active in discussions with candidates about the need to pass new Juvenile Code legislation in the next legislative session. See the article about the Model Juvenile Code for more information. Much of our emphasis will be on this legislation for the next 10 - 12 months, beginning now!
What We Accomplished in the 2008 Legislative Session
When Governor Perdue signed the 2009 budget, it contained $560,000 new state dollars for a egional assessment center to serve adolescent girls who've been prostituted. ICM advocacy in the Georgia Senate had a lot to do with successful full funding. The new assessment "beds" are already up and running!
Also, Senate Resolution 445 created the joint study commission on the commercial sexual exploitation of minors into law. There should be more action on Child Prostitution in the legislature next year. But together, we have already made a difference.
The legislature also approved $20.3 million more money to subsidize child care for parents entering the work force. which translates into approximately 5,600 new child care "slots. ICM worked with a coalition of advocacy groups to create this new money in the budget.
Significant was the testimony of two members of the House Appropriations Committee (Mark Butler, the Chair, and Jeff May) and two members of the Senate (Ben Harbin, Chair of HR Committee, and Jack Hill, the powerful Chair of Senate Appropriations) who all spoke eloquently about the need for quality child care if a parent -- particularly the single parent TANF recipient -- is expected to find and retain a job. These officials really "get it" that there has to be sufficient support for low-income parents and their children.
Wednesday, August 6 at 1 p.m. there will be a meeting for people interested in thinking ahead to the 2009 legislature. Conversation will focus on the needs of low income families with children. Contact Panke Miller at 404-636-7172 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Case for Overhauling
Georgia's Juvenile Code
ICM has become a very active partner in the JUSTGeorgia Coalition, a collaborative of child advocacy organizations working to overhaul Georgia's antiquated Juvenile Code.
"We hope every ICM member will become an advocate for passage of the legislation for the revised Code in the 2009 Georgia legislative session," said Pamela Perkins, ICM'sCoordinator. "In order for that to happen, the Code has to be a topic in this year's election. The November election is just four months away, so we must go to work quickly to make people aware of the Juvenile Code and its importance in the lives of their children," Pamela said.
The current code, enacted in 1971, is largely out of date; is a "patchwork quilt of amendments;" and is no longer able to guarantee fair or consistent treatment for children who enter the system. The Juvenile Code applies to children who need protection from abusive or neglectful families, who are consistently truant orotherwise "unruly," or who have broken a law.
The JUSTGeorgia coalition began as a joint project of Georgia Appleseed, Voices for Georgia's Children and The Barton Child Law and Policy Clinic of the Emory University School of Law. Leslie Gresham, project director for JUSTGeorgia, says that JUSTGeorgia seeks to build a better juvenile code to help youth and children grow to be successful, participatory members of society. JUSTGeorgia was established with philanthropic funding from both the Sapelo Foundation and the Community Foundation of Greater Atlanta. ICM, one of the first partners in the coalition, also received funding from the Sapelo Foundation to spread the advocacy voice for a revised juvenile code throughout Georgia.
Below is the first of a series of educational articles about Georgia's Juvenile Code.
Why Revise the Juvenile Code,
and Why NOW?
"A completely new code is of utmost need. The current code was enacted in 1971," JUSTGeorgia's Leslie Gresham said. "I think a lot has changed with families-the way we view children's crimes, the drug culture, even what we consider to be a typical family has changed. You have children at 13, 14 and 15 who can be tried as an adult, yet cannot legally make decisions as an adult.
"One problematic aspect of the code is that it is not uniform. It's been amended to so many times that it is difficult to see what the law really is. Children are ending up in the system who do not belong there. And we need more options for treating the children that are there. We need [the code] to be more rehabilitative," she said.
In March 2008, the State Bar of Georgia Young Lawyers Division Juvenile Law Committee completed a model code document for Georgia. According to the executive summary of the new model code, the proposed document "represents a comprehensive revision of the current juvenile code to achieve the goal of creating a user-friendly, consistent and comprehensible document. The drafting process was guided by three overarching themes: developing a new organizational structure, maintaining stylistic consistency throughout the code and incorporating substantive revisions that reflect best practices."
Now that the model code is available for review, JUSTGeorgia, with help from ICM, is working tirelessly holding town hall meetings and information sessions. They are reviewing comments and feedback in order to shape the model code into a legislative packet to be submitted during the 2009 legislative session.
When asked how the new code would affect Georgia's residents in five to 10 years, Leslie replied she would like to see a more holistic approach to helping Georgia's children. "I would like to see a juvenile court system in which [the children] are getting due process- where the child is represented and where the parent is represented. I would also like to see the court be
more respected by people as a whole. People look at this as a baby court. But I would like for people to realize that this is one of the most important courts. You'll find that most people in adult courts came through juvenile court. Once we can tackle it in juvenile court, it will make an impact on the adult court."
For more information about the model code, visit www.justgeorgia.org. The Code itself is quite long, but the Executive Overview and the Introductions to each of the main Sections of the code give the broad understanding of the code. Also look at "What Changes."
(This article contains information reproduced with permission from the Community Foundation June Newsletter.)
Bluegrass Fundraiser Coming August 23
Bring your family; ICM Gets the Proceeds
This year's Cliff Valley Bluegrass Festival, Saturday August 23, is a benefit for the Interfaith Children's Movement.
This family-friendly event features thirteen-year-old fiddler, Alex Thomlinson, winner of several contests, and Atlanta'smost entertaining bluegrass band, Cedar Hill.
Doors open at 3:00 PM at the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Atlanta. Along with the concerts, there's jamming (musician hanging out around the building playing bluegrass standards), food, and refreshments.
Complete Bluegrass Festival information and directions at http://cliffvalleymusicconspiracy.org/.
In This Issue
Revival Hosted by
Ben Hill, Cascade and Central United Methodist Churches Donates $20,000
On May 4 - 6, senior pastors of three of Atlanta's historical United Methodist churches made children the central focus of their joint spring revival and ICM the recipient of three nights of offerings which totaled almost $20,000.
"Historically, church revivals have brought people from various communities together for a time of spiritual rejuvenation. We, Rev. Winn, Rev. Moss and I, wanted to take this church revival a step further by making a tangible contribution to the revival of justice for our children. And with the work that ICM has done and does on behalf of children, we couldn't think of a more deserving recipient," said Rev. Byron E. Thomas, senior pastor of Central United Methodist Church and vice chair of ICM.
Rev. Richard Winn, senior pastor of Ben Hill United Methodist and Rev. Otis Moss III, senior pastor of Cascade United Methodist gave their full support to ICM and encouraged congregants to do likewise by contributing to the offering in a thoughtful way.
The proceeds from the revival will give ICM additional leverage in making policy-level changes for children throughout Georgia.
2008 Advocacy Priorities:
> Juvenile Justice Code
> Child Prostitution
> Tax Reform
> Expansion/pre-K Program
ICM Mission and Goals
The Interfaith Children's Movement was formed in 2001 as an intentional association of individuals and communities of faith from all religious traditions.
The Interfaith Children's Movements strives to be a voice for all Georgia children, but especially the poor and marginalized whose voices are often unheard.
ICM works closely with Georgia's policy-oriented child advocacy organizatons-
Voices for Georgia's Children, The Barton Clinic at Emory University,
Prevent Child Abuse Georgia, A Future Not a Past (child prostitution prevention).
These organizations set the agenda for our advocacy work for children.
ICM's faith community members provide a megaphone to the legislature about what needs to be done for children.
OPPORTUNITIES TO GET INVOLVED
Join the breakfast planning team. The 2008 Call to Action Prayer Breakfast is scheduled for Wednesday, October 29. Contact Pamela Perkins at email@example.com if you are interested in working on this pivotal ICM effort.
ICM's Faith in Action needs you. Become a Faith in Action faith community. ICM now has two community organizers who are focused on the issues of children in immigrant, minority and low-income communities. The goal is to respond to the distinctive issues affecting children in these communities and to establish Faith in Action groups that respond to their needs. For more information, contact Kathryn Stanley at firstname.lastname@example.org or Caitlin Foley at email@example.com.
Remember: Your membership dues keep ICM strong. If you haven't made a support contribution in the last six months, or so, it's probably time to renew. Renew online or by mail.
Note our new Web address: www.interfaithchildrensmovement.org. Many updates have been made and changes instituted that make it easier for volunteers to keep up to date.
Note our new mailing address: P. O. Box 54149, Atlanta, Georgia 30308. The phone number remains the same: 770-498-2141. Our Coordinator is Pamela Perkins!
Doing what we are called to do.
Doing what we are able to do.
Doing what must be done!