October 31, 2007 – The Georgia Department of Human Resources, Division of Public Health is pleased to announce funding from the Governor's Office of Highway Safety to continue three Injury Prevention initiatives in 2008. The Older Driver Safety Program, the Rural Roads Initiative and the Child Occupant Safety Program were each awarded grants to continue their work towards improving the public health and safety of Georgians statewide.
October 31, 2007 – Families and individuals interested in learning about adoption are invited to attend the "Award Winning Families Celebration" on Friday, November 2. The event, sponsored by the Georgia Department of Human Resources Division of Family and Children Services’ Adoption Unit, will take place from 5:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m. at Albany’s Merry Acres, located at 1500 Dawson Road.
October 31, 2007 – With winter approaching the Department of Human Resources (DHR) will again provide heating assistance for low income Georgians through LIHEAP, the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program. The $20 million federally funded energy assistance pr ogram will help low-income families, the elderly and the disabled with heating bills. Starting November 1, the homebound and the elderly (65+) may apply for assistance at their local community action agencies.
October 30, 2007 - The Georgia Division of Public Health (GDPH) and its private and local partners completed a week-long exercise Friday October 26 that successfully tested the ability of private employees to assist public health in the distribution of preventive medication to a population affected during a mock Anthrax scenario.
October 30, 2007 - As older adults get closer to age 65, they will need to make choices about their Medicare coverage and prescription plan options, because Medicare Part D may be in their future. Enrolling in Medicare will depend on an individual’s circumstances. Part A is for hospitalization, Part B is for doctor’s visits, and Part D is for prescription drug coverage. The Department of Human Resources, Division of Aging Services’ (DAS) GeorgiaCares program is encouraging older adults nearing age 65 to consider their options for prescription drug coverage during the Medicare Part D open enrollment period, November 15 through December 31, 2007.
October 22, 2007 – The Georgia Department of Human Resources welcomed motivational speaker and author of the book The Ultimate Learning Experience, Chris Skinner to the Georgia Red Ribbon Campaign kickoff celebration which recently took place at the Georgia Capitol. Skinner shared with audience members the challenges he now faces as the result of a poor decision he made to ride two miles unrestrained in a car with an alcohol impaired driver. As a result of this split second decision, Skinner will spend the rest of his life in a wheelchair.
October 22, 2007 - Although African Americans are less likely than whites to have a major depressive disorder, when they do, it tends to be more chronic and severe according to a recent report published by the National Institute of Mental Health. In addition, African Americans are much less likely to undergo treatment. Of those with major depression, less than half receive treatment. Nationally, African Americans are more likely to be served in emergency rooms and public psychiatric hospitals than outpatient facilities. Common barriers include access to care, attitudes about seeking help, and lack of community support.
October 22, 2007 – The Jesup Office of Child Support Services (OCSS), in conjunction with the Department of Corrections (DOC), and Department of Labor (DOL) have joined together to prepare transitioning male inmates to for their return to society through the Top Step Program. In order to become productive citizens, transitioning fathers must learn the aspects of fatherhood. To teach those aspects, transitioning fathers are now receiving classes which educate them about the child support process.
October 22, 2007 – The Office of Child Support Services has expanded its Parenting Time Services to four additional communities - Savannah, Columbus, Macon, and Augusta. Parenting Time Services is the state’s child access and visitation program which oversees organized meetings for families with custody and visitation issues. Parenting Time Services, formerly known as Child Access and Visitation Services, is responsible for group parenting education, individual education/counseling, mediation, development of parenting plans, and coordination of 3 types of visitation events - supervised visitation, neutral exchanges, and monitored visitation.
October 18, 2007 – October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month and the Department of Human Resources Division of Aging Services (DAS) is urging mandatory reporters and all Georgians to report any known or suspected incidents of abuse against elderly and disabled adults living in the community to Adult Protective Services (APS) toll-free at 1-888-774-0152 or 404-657-5250 in Metro Atlanta.
October 17, 2007 - October is Protecting Older Americans from Fraud Month and the Department of Human Resources Division of Aging Services (DAS) GeorgiaCares program is offering tips to seniors on how to avoid being victims. Seniors are often the targets of identity theft involving Social Security and Medicare numbers, with fraudulent charges appearing on their bills.
October 16, 2007 – The Department of Human Resources Afterschool Services Program will be able to provide afterschool activities to 3,000 more children statewide, extend its services from summer to year-round, and add more schools and community organizations to its service roster, thanks to $14 million from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
October 16, 2007 – The Department of Human Resources Division of Aging Services (DAS) informs Georgians that as of July 1, 2007, the new Georgia Advance Directive for Healthcare has replaced the Georgia laws on the Living Will and the Durable Power of Attorney for Healthcare. This document combines the characteristics of both the living will and the durable power of attorney for healthcare and still allows people to choose for themselves the medical care they want when they are no longer able to communicate with doctors or family. Those persons who already had living wills and/or durable powers of attorney for healthcare are allowed to keep the forms that they have and they are still legally binding until they are revoked.
October 15, 2007 – According to the Georgia Afterschool Investment Council, over 70 percent of Georgia’s school-aged children lack organized adult supervision after school. The Georgia Department of Human Resources, since 2005, has been working to close that gap by establishing afterschool programs for youth in urban and rural environments. An independent evaluation of DHR’s Afterschool Services Program was recently conducted by Georgia State University and shows that the statewide program proves promising.
October 15, 2007 – Sumter County parents who are behind on child support payments are being offered the opportunity to get back on track with their payments just in time for the holiday season. This opportunity, appropriately called Settlement Day, is being offered by the Georgia Department of Human Resources’ Office of Child Support Services (OCSS) and is extended to all parents with a child support case in Sumter County who are at least two months behind on their payments. Parents wishing to take advantage of this rare opportunity to resolve their child support obligations are asked to report to the Sumter County Courthouse in Americus on November 15th between the hours of 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
October 15, 2007 – The Division of Family and Children Services ’ Professional Excellence program, the statewide training and professional development program for case managers and supervisors, and one of DHR’s efforts to reduce staff turnover and enhance professionalism, has doubled in participation by DFCS frontline staff.
October 15, 2007 – The Board of Human Resources will hold its official monthly meeting on Wednesday, October 17, at the Northwest Georgia Trade and Convention Center in Dalton Georgia. The center is located at 2211 Dug Gap Battle Road in Dalton. The meeting will begin at 1:15 p.m.
October 12, 2007 - The Georgia Department of Human Resources (DHR) announces the statewide kick-off for Georgia's Red Ribbon Campaign will be held Monday, October 15, 2007 at 2:00 p.m. at the Capitol in the South Atrium to signal the beginning of the Governor's Red Ribbon activities in Georgia. Josh Belinfante, deputy executive counsel to Governor Perdue, will represent the Governor at this event. DHR Commissioner B.J. Walker and Stuart Brown, M.D., Director of the Division of Public Health, teachers and students from many Georgia schools as well as leaders in substance abuse prevention will also be on hand to celebrate and bring awareness to a pervasive problem in Georgia.
October 11, 2007 - Meriwether County Schools is the newest school district to join a growing list of Georgia educational systems that are adopting the 100% Tobacco Free School Policy. A total of 13 school systems in Georgia have adopted the policy which prohibits cigarette, cigar, pipe smoking and smokeless tobacco use by students, faculty, staff and visitors. The Georgia Department of Human Resources, Division of Public Health reports that nine percent of Georgia's middle school students and 19 percent of the state's high school students smoke cigarettes. With tobacco use statistics for Georgia's youth reflecting a national trend of rising rates, the Division of Public Health encourages continued collaborations with school systems to adopt the 100% Tobacco Free School Policy.
October 11, 2007 - The Georgia Department of Human Resources is pleased to announce the appointment of Dr. Ketty M. Gonzalez to the position of Health Director for the East Central District in Augusta. She will begin her new role with the agency on October 16th.
October 10, 2007 – The Department of Human Resources Division of Public Health and the Boards of Health in five Georgia counties will conduct a week-long exercise in October that will play an Anthrax release scenario to test the effectiveness of working with volunteers from the business community in order to distribute medication to the affected population.
October 10, 2007 – Whether a person is Internet savvy or not, it is easy to file a regulatory complaint against a licensed facility online at the Georgia Department of Human Resources, Office of Regulatory Services (ORS) website: http://ors.dhr.georgia.gov. "With more and more people using the Internet, many consumers may find it more convenient to use our website to file regulatory complaints on any facility licensed by ORS, rather than calling ORS during regular business hours," said Sharon Dougherty, Director of ORS.
October 3, 2007 – It’s the season for seniors to start thinking about their Medicare Part D Drug Plan Options for 2008, and GeorgiaCares is offering help. Beginning October 1, 2007, companies will start marketing their prescription drug plans , leading up to the Medicare Open Enrollment period, which begins November 15, 2007. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services and the Department of Human Resources, Division of Aging Services’ (DAS) GeorgiaCares program are advising people who wish to make a change to do so as close to the opening date as possible to ensure that their coverage will be available on January 1, 2008.
October 3, 2007 - A federal grant will allow the Georgia Department of Human Resources, Division of Aging Services (DAS) to provide more choices to older individuals, at-risk adults and persons with disabilities who are struggling to remain in their homes and the community longer before entering a nursing home. Georgia is one of 12 states receiving grants from the federal Department of Health and Human Services to improve what the state is doing to assist individuals avoid being placed unnecessarily in nursing homes. The Georgia grant includes $500,000 in federal dollars and more than $166,000 in state funds.
October 3, 2007 - Mental health consumers will convene at Central State Hospital (CSH) Cedar Lane cemetery to mark progress in the treatment of Georgians with mental illness. The ceremony is a part of the Cemetery Restoration Project begun in 1997 after more than 25,000 graves without names were discovered on CSH hospital grounds. Consumers responded by restoring the cemetery which included the placement of several monuments, and has triggered a nationwide movement to memorialize patients buried at state psychiatric hospitals. The effort has served to bring attention to the stigma of mental illness and promote recovery. In 2005, the National Parks Service placed the cemeteries on the National Register of Historic Places. The ceremony, hosted by the Georgia Consumer Council and CSH, will take place Sunday, October 7 at 2 p.m. at Cedar Lane Cemetery.
October 3, 2007 – Domestic violence is a universal problem that has no bounds and all too often young children and teenage girls are among Georgia’s thousands of faces of victims, either directly or indirectly. While system responses are primarily targeted toward adult victims of domestic abuse, program administrators of the Department of Human Resources Family Violence Unit say that there’s increased attention on children who witness domestic violence as well as those in teen dating violence situations.
October 2, 2007 – October through May is flu season and the Georgia Department of Human Resources, Division of Aging Services (DAS) Georgia Cares program is reminding Medicare beneficiaries to talk to their healthcare providers about getting vaccinated to prevent them from getting the flu and the pneumococcal disease, which is the cause of the most common form of pneumonia.
October 2, 2007 – The Department of Human Resources (DHR) Office of Child Support Services (OCSS) along with the Governor’s Office of Consumer Affairs (OCA) would like to alert the public of a child support collecting company that is allegedly engaged in fraudulent practices in Georgia. According to OCA, a company named Child Support Services of Georgia is contacting non custodial parents to set up child support payments. Once contacted, consumers believe that they are in contact with the official State of Georgia, Office of Child Support Services when in fact they are being contacted by a company that has no affiliation with this Office. Allegedly, once those payments are made, the company pockets the money and the custodial parent doesn’t receive a penny.
October 2, 2007 – Domestic violence is the leading cause of injuries for girls and women between the ages of 15 and 44 in the state of Georgia. And according to statistics, nearly 30 percent of Georgia women in that age group will be abused at least once by their partners during their lifetime. October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month and across the state the Family Violence Unit of the Department of Family and Children Services is joining health care providers, businesses, policy makers, faith-based groups, college and high school students, and many others in statewide activities and community events to raise awareness about domestic abuse.
October 2, 2007 – The Department of Human Resources (DHR) Office of Child Support Services (OCSS) is pleased to announce the initiation of its DNA collection program. Through this program, paternity results can be received in only 3 to 7 days; whereas the previous method of DNA collection could take up to 2 months. The program, which initiated earlier this month, is currently being piloted out of the Athens and Newnan Child Support Offices.