Message from Executive Director, Katie Jo Ballard

Thank you for your interest in Great Start Georgia (GSG)!  Governor and First Lady Deal are committed to ensuring that every child in Georgia has a great start. At its heart, GSG creates a community culture of caring, encouragement, and support for all families before and after the birth of a child.  It is first and foremost a vision for how communities will provide a welcome to every child, make available natural supports for all expectant families, children birth to five, and their families, provide basic parenting information and resources, and link families with more intensive services when needed.

The Governor’s Office for Children and Families works with communities throughout the state to meet the Governor’s goals of ensuring that our children and families are educated, healthy, safe, and growing

Great Start Georgia is the first step in this process.  By providing communities a framework for creating a coordinated system for reaching out to all new and expectant families, and offering needed supports and services, GSG has the potential to significantly improve the well-being of Georgia’s children and families. 

The purpose of this website is to provide more information about Great Start Georgia and to assist families, service providers, advocates, and community leaders in learning about the community system in your county.  A second and equally important purpose of the website is to serve as an entry point into the GSG system.  All expectant parents, children birth to age five, and their families may be referred into the system by entering basic contact information through the GSG website.  Families will then receive a contact from a caring person to assure that their needs are being met. 

Great Start Georgia is an approach which requires service providers to build collaborative partnerships that allow families to be served in a systematic and coordinated way.  It is also an initiative that is unfolding in various stages in communities across Georgia.  Currently, seven counties have received federal funding from the Governor’s Office for Children and Families to embed evidence-based home-visiting in their local Great Start Georgia systems.  This funding affords Georgia the opportunity to create a statewide home visiting infrastructure to expand and improve existing home visiting services, to more effectively replicate evidence-based home visiting models, and to link home visiting to other community efforts focused on promoting optimal early childhood health and development. 

We appreciate your interest in Great Start Georgia and invite you to join in supporting this initiative in your community.