Frequently Asked Questions

What is Great Start Georgia?

Great Start Georgia (GSG) represents a milestone in the development and implementation of comprehensive, community-based systems for expectant parents, children birth to age five, and their families in Georgia. Great Start Georgia provides communities with a framework for reaching out to new and expectant families, offering support and services to improve the well-being of Georgia’s children and families.

GSG provides a welcome for every child, emphasizing prevention and early intervention services that are community-based and voluntary.

Who is behind Great Start Georgia?

GSG is spearheaded by the Governor’s Office for Children and Families (GOCF), which works with communities throughout the state to ensure that children and families are educated, healthy, safe and growing—and Great Start Georgia is the first step in this process. GOCF received a Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting (MIECHV) Program federal grant from the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) to implement evidence-based home visiting programs within maternal and early childhood systems in some Georgia communities. Great Start Georgia provides the framework for a community-based system of supports and services within which home visiting programs are embedded. The Georgia Department of Public Health has partnered with GOCF to provide a Central Intake function to help support the efforts of GSG.

What services are available?

GSG connects expectant mothers, children, and their families to a range of services in the areas of evidence-based home visiting, maternal and child health, child safety, school readiness, community and family safety, and family economic self-sufficiency.

Where is Great Start Georgia available?

GSG is unfolding in various stages in communities across Georgia. Currently, seven counties have received federal funding from GOCF to embed evidence-based home-visiting in their local Great Start Georgia system. This funding affords Georgia the opportunity to create a statewide home visiting infrastructure to expand and improve existing home visiting services, to replicate a home visiting model, and to link home visiting to other community efforts focused on promoting early childhood health and development. Other communities in Georgia are using existing resources to develop the system one step at a time.

Which seven counties are implementing the Great Start Georgia system?

The seven counties are Clarke, Crisp, DeKalb, Glynn, Houston, Muscogee and Whitfield.

Who is eligible for Great Start Georgia?

Great Start Georgia is available to all expectant parents, children birth to age five, and their families in the seven counties listed above. Families desiring services and supports are linked with the specific community resources that they need. Evidenced-based home visiting services are available for families needing extra support for themselves and their children.

How are individuals or/families referred into Great Start Georgia?

Families may be referred to GSG in several ways. Community service providers, families, friends, neighbors or other interested community members may refer families to:

  • Local GSG representatives designated by each county implementing the system. These representatives include GSG home visiting program staff and district or local public health department staff.
  • The GSG Information and Referral Center (IRC) through a toll-free number (1-855-707-8277).
  • The GSG website which provides an online referral form.

Once a referral is made, the family will be contacted by a trained professional to assist in determining the next step in ensuring that family needs are met.

How are referrals to Great Start Georgia made locally?

Designated community representatives are available to accept referrals from local child and family service providers and families within the community. Contact information for the community representatives is provided locally by GSG partners and is also available through the GSG Information and Referral Center at 1-855-707-8277 and the GSG website.

What does the GSG Information and Referral Center (IRC) provide?

The GSG IRC increases the capacity of the GSG system to identify families for screening and referral to needed services by:

  • Reviewing all birth certificates in GSG communities in a timely manner and verifying birth certificate information.
  • Answering calls from families, providers, and other stakeholders daily and providing information on basic parenting and community resources.
  • Following-up on referrals made through the website within one business day.

What will happen when I click the blue door to the left for a referral?
When you click on the door to the left, you will be leaving the Great Start Georgia website and accessing the Great Start Georgia Information and Referral Center provided by the Department of Public Health.  You will be asked to provide a bit of information about yourself or the person whom you wish to link to Georgia’s services for young children and families.  You can expect to be contacted by someone who will have thorough knowledge of services provided in your community and will ensure that steps for connecting to these services are clear.  

Is information on GSG available in languages other than English?

Yes. Spanish-speaking representatives are available at the IRC. Interpretation is also available at the IRC for a wide variety of languages. Brochures and other written materials are available in Spanish, as well.