Georgia Division of Family and Children Services—Office of Prevention and Family Support Increases Focus on Committee for Children’s Second Step Social-Emotional Learning Program Published: SEATTLE—Committee for Children (CFC), the global nonprofit dedicated to fostering the safety and well-being of children through education and advocacy, today commended the Georgia Division of Family and Children Services (DFCS)—Office of Prevention and Family Support (OPFS) for awarding over $500,000 dollars in grants to schools throughout the state looking to implement CFC’s Second Step Social-Emotional Learning program. Committee for Children’s Second Step program is an award-winning social-emotional learning (SEL) curriculum—for early learning through grade 8—created by the Seattle-based nonprofit. It teaches skills for learning, self-regulation, empathy, emotion management, friendship skills, and interpersonal problem solving. When the program is taught and reinforced schoolwide, staff and students develop a common language, set of explicit skills, and framework for prosocial norms and expectations. “For over 30 years, Committee for Children has been guided by the belief that we can change the world by teaching children to get along, to be safe from harm, and to be caring, responsible members of their families, schools, and communities,” said Committee for Children Executive Director Joan Duffell. “We’re honored that our Second Step program was chosen by Georgia’s DFCS—OPFS as an option for schools throughout the state.” The Office of Prevention and Family Support, within the Division, works in partnership with community-based organizations committed to reducing the incidence of child abuse and neglect by implementing evidence-based prevention and early intervention techniques to ensure positive outcomes for children and families. State and federal funding provides families throughout Georgia with services such as parent support programs, parent training, screening and identification tools, training opportunities, high-quality home visitations, and primary and secondary child maltreatment prevention. These services help local communities promote the overall health and well-being of Georgia’s children, youth, and families. Studies have shown that providing young children with social-emotional learning can greatly affect their educational capacity, their school and at-home behavior, their sense of self-worth, and their resiliency to potentially traumatic events. Giving young children the tools they need to succeed academically, emotionally, and in their relationships will allow for the healthy development of adults ready and able to be successful members of society. For these reasons and more, DFCS—OPFS has provided funding for schools to use the Second Step curriculum for several years. “We are thrilled to be able to play a part in promoting the social and emotional well-being of children and families in Georgia communities,” said Carole Steele, Director of OPFS. “We appreciate the opportunity to partner with schools, nonprofit organizations, and parents to impart the knowledge, skills, resources, and social support they need to provide safe, healthy, nurturing relationships and environments for our children.” Keeping children safe from abuse through education is a huge priority for Georgia’s DFCS, which is why this year’s grant options included the addition of CFC’s Second Step Child Protection Unit. The Child Protection Unit is designed to help school administrators develop a comprehensive child protection plan and prepares all school staff to recognize indicators of abuse and neglect, identify staff violations of child protection policies, respond to a child who discloses abuse, and teach personal safety skills to students. “The Georgia Department of Education supports the ongoing efforts of the Georgia Division of Family and Children Services to help schools improve school climate so that students can go to schools that are supportive, nurturing, safe, and secure,” said Garry McGiboney, Deputy Superintendent, Georgia Department of Education. He called the Second Step program “…a powerful framework that improves the conditions for learning and helps students develop essential social-emotional skills. ‘Second Step’ works extremely well with Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS) to build a sustainable network of practices, procedures, interventions, and supports that benefit all children.” More details on DFCS-OPFS and future funding opportunities can be found here http://dfcs.dhs.georgia.gov/future-funding-opportunities. About CFC Founded in 1978, Committee for Children is a global nonprofit dedicated to fostering the safety and well-being of children through education and advocacy. CFC is the world’s largest provider of research-based educational programs that promote social-emotional skills and prevent bullying and sexual abuse. The organization’s curricula reach more than 10 million children in 26,000 schools around the world. Learn more at cfchildren.org. Connect with CFC on Facebook and Twitter. About DFCS—OPFS The Georgia Division of Family and Children Services (DFCS) investigates reports of child abuse; finds foster homes for abused and neglected children; issues SNAP, Medicaid, TANF, and childcare assistance to low-income families; helps out-of-work parents get back on their feet; and provides numerous support services and innovative programs to help families in need. The Office of Prevention and Family Support (OPFS) is a section within DFCS that focuses on primary and secondary prevention services. Connect with DFCS—OPFS on Facebook and Twitter.