ICM Advocacy Alert for February 13, 2017

LEGISLATIVE BILLS FOR YOUR ATTENTION

JUVENILE JUSTICE: House Bill 116 (Rep. Reeves, 34th)

Hearing Scheduled (TODAY) with House Judiciary Non-Civil Full Committee, Monday, February 13, 1:30 pm., Room 406 Coverdell Legislative Office Building (CLOB)

A BILL to be entitled an Act to amend Chapter 11 of Title 15 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, relating to the Juvenile Code, so as to provide the superior court with exclusive original jurisdiction for cases involving aggravated assault involving the use of a firearm and aggravated battery upon certain individuals; to allow a superior court the discretion to transfer such cases back to juvenile court; to clarify the definitions of a class A or class B designated felony act in light of the jurisdictional changes; to add aggravated assault upon an emergency health worker as a class A designated felony; to provide for related matters; to repeal conflicting laws; and for other purposes.

This bill adds additional offenses to what is commonly known as "SB 440."   "SB 440" relates to offenses by which children can be automatically tried as adults in superior court. Extensive testimony for significantly amending this bill was given Friday, February 10, by the Barton Child Law and Policy Center, the Southern Center for Human Rights and other child advocates.  Some of the concerns included the broad nature of these offenses; the bill's potential to create an unintended dragnet for children who do not pose a danger to society; the direction of juvenile justice reform in recognizing the science and research which recommend limiting children's encounters with the adult correctional system for better life outcomes; and the existing remedies in current law for appealing a juvenile court judge's decision re transferring/not transferring a juvenile case to superior court.

 JUVENILE JUSTICE: HB 9 (Blackmon, 146th)

Hearing Scheduled (TODAY) with House Judiciary Non-Civil Full Committee, Monday, February 13, 1:30 pm., Room 406 Coverdell Legislative Office Building (CLOB)

A BILL to be entitled an Act to amend Part 1 of Article 3 of Chapter 11 of Title 16 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, relating to wiretapping, eavesdropping, surveillance, and related offenses, so as to prohibit the use of a device to film under or through a person's clothing under certain circumstances; to provide for definitions; to provide for exceptions; to provide for related matters; to repeal conflicting laws; and for other purposes.

HUMAN TRAFFICKING:  Senate Bill 39 (Sen. Unterman, 45th)

Hearing Scheduled with Senate Judiciary Subcommittee A, 

Tuesday, February 14, 2017, 4:00 p.m. in Room 307 of the Coverdell Legislative Office Building (CLOB)

A BILL to be entitled an Act to amend Code Section 16-6-13 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, relating to penalties for violating Code Sections 16-6-9 through 16-6-12, so as to increase the penalty provisions relating to pimping and pandering; to amend Code Section 42-1-12 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, relating to the State Sexual Offender Registry, so as to require registration on the State Sexual Offender Registry when an individual is convicted for the second time for pandering; to provide for related matters; to repeal conflicting laws; and for other purposes.

Members of Senate Judiciary Subcommittee A:

Sen. William Ligon (3rd), Chair - (404) 463-1383

Sen. Blake Tillery (19th), Secretary - (404) 656-0089

Sen. Hunter Hill (6th) - (404) 463-2518

Sen. Elena Parent (42nd) - (404) 656-5109

Sen. Vincent Fort (39th) - (404) 656-5091

Sen. Jesse Stone (23rd), Ex-Officio - (404) 463-1314

Sen. Bill Cowsert (46th), Ex-Officio - (404) 463-1366

ADVOCACY ASK - CALL SUBCOMMITTEE MEMBERS TODAY: Please pass SB 39 out of Subcommittee for a full Senate Judiciary Committee hearing.

 

EDUCATION:  House Bill 338 (Rep. Tanner, 9th) 

A BILL to be entitled an Act to amend Title 20 of the O.C.G.A., relating to education, so as to provide for system of supports and assistance for low-performing schools identified as in the greatest need of assistance; to provide for an Education Turnaround Advisory Council; to provide for the creation of the Joint Study Committee on the Establishment of a State Accreditation Process; to revise provisions relating to contracts for strategic waivers school systems; to revise provisions relating to charters for charter systems; to provide for related matters; to repeal conflicting laws; and for other purposes. 

HB 338 is the replacement for the Opportunity School District legislation that failed to receive a constitutional amendment in November 2016.  A possible "hearing only" by the House Education Committee, Thursday, February 16.

Join us on March 21st for the Protecting Children Workshop

Prevent Child Abuse Georgia, The Interfaith Children's Movement and The Georgia Center for Child Advocacy want to invite you to the Protecting Children Workshop on March 21, 2017 from 11am - 2pm at The Temple, 1529 Peachtree Street, Atlanta GA 30309.

This free educational event is designed to help all communities create safer and healthier environments for our children and youth.

Included will be:

  • Discussion on creating child safety policies for your organization
  • More information on mandated reporting policies and prevent programs like Stewards of Children and the Interfaith Children’s Movement
  • How to use prevention, policies and training to lower insurance costs

Lunch Included

Click here to Register

Legislative Session Prayer: Day 4

"Thank you for this day. Thank you for your mercies. Lord I asked that you bless our children, Lord protect them from the enemy. Provide shelter for families. Lord I pray for provision and protection for them. I pray that you give them wisdom and courage, go before them Lord lead them to a path that will help them to become all that you would have them to be. I pray that you will open their eyes and help them to see how special they are in your sight. Give them a thirst and a desire to know YOU better Lord. Lord I ask that you have mercy on those that are living in fear, have mercy on the children that go to bed hungry and have no hope for themselves. Lord bless them in your name I pray. AMEN."

Legislative Session Prayer: Day 3

From the Book of Common Prayer
O Lord our Governor, whose glory is in all the world: We commend this nation to thy merciful care, that, being guided by thy Providence, we may dwell secure in thy peace. Grant to the President and President-Elect of the United States, the Governor of this State, and to all in authority, wisdom and strength to know and to do thy will. Fill them with the love of truth and righteousness, and make them ever mindful of their calling to serve this people in thy fear; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, world without end. Amen.

January is National Mentoring Month

January is National Mentoring Month. ICM stresses mentoring as a basic component of improving child well-being.

Here are some stats about the effectiveness of mentoring:

  • Students who meet regularly with their mentors are 52% less likely than their peers to skip a day of school and 37% less likely to skip a class. (Public/Private Ventures study of Big Brothers Big Sisters)
  • Young adults who face an opportunity gap but have a mentor are 55% more likely to be enrolled in college than those who did not have a mentor. (The Mentoring Effect, 2014)
  • Youth who meet regularly with their mentors are 46% less likely than their peers to start using illegal drugs and 27% less likely to start drinking. (Public/Private Ventures study of Big Brothers Big Sisters)
  • One of the strongest benefits from mentoring is a reduction in depressive symptoms — particularly noteworthy given that almost one in four youth reported worrisome levels of these symptoms. (The Role of Risk, 2013)

Here are some great Georgia organizations that are always seeking mentors:

If you want to learn more about the impact mentoring can have on children, you may want to attend the National Mentoring Summit.  Click here for more details.

 

 

Celebrate Georgia Gives Day with ICM on November 17th

Georgia Gives Day is another opportunity to turn your donations into very tangible advocacy for Georgia's children.  ICM is asking that you take a few moments and donate a few dollars.

Click here to Donate.

Through the month of November, donations of $25 or more through the Georgia Gives Day will entitle you to a one year membership to ICM. 

Bishop Wright's Challenge for 30 Days of Prayer

Bishop Robert C. Wright challenged attendees at ICM’s 16th “Call to Action Prayer Breakfast” to pray for children for 30 days.  His challenge calls upon everyone to enact a basic spiritual practice of all faiths: prayer.

   The challenge was to each individual in the room.  This is something everyone can do as an act of faith and compassion.  The challenge was also to faith communities to encourage their members to focus prayerfully on the realities of children for 30 days.

   We know the saying “prayer changes things.”  We come to know the truth of this saying through praying.  Prayer changes us.  And as we are changed, we are more empowered to care for children.

   Expressing to God our hearts’ concerns, hopes, laments, joys, and desires for guidance in advocacy for children is not only a challenge, it is a privilege.  Is there any reason to not pray for children for 30 days?  A future of greater awareness and assurance awaits us.

Click here to Submit Your Prayer

Ask Before You Book

Interfaith Children’s Movement Launches Child Sexual Exploitation and Trafficking Campaign to Raise Awareness in the Hospitality Industry

     Interfaith Children’s Movement has launched a state-wide campaign called, “Ask Before You Book,” to raise awareness within the interfaith community and the hospitality industry of the commercial sexual exploitation and trafficking of children in Georgia. The campaign asks faith communities to pose three basic questions to potential lodging facilities prior to booking their conference, convention, meeting or other activity:

 

-       Does your company have a formal written policy in its annual report against human trafficking and the commercial sexual exploitation of children? 

-       Does your company provide annual anti-human trafficking/commercial sexual exploitation of children awareness and response training for its employees? 

-       Does your company include anti-human trafficking/commercial sexual exploitation of children messaging in each lodging facility’s brochures?

 

“ICM believes that if the interfaith community begins to ask these questions, then the hospitality industry will begin to respond with a movement towards making their lodgings safer places for all children,” says Pamela Perkins Carn, coordinator of the Interfaith Children’s Movement.

Studies have shown that anywhere from 250 to 500 girls are sold for sex each month in Georgia. The average age of entry for a child into the commercial sex trade is 12 - 14 years old. A 2010 study by The Shapiro Group, reported that on average, 7,200 men knowingly or unknowingly purchase adolescent females for sex each month in Georgia. 

 In 2011, metropolitan Atlanta possessed the seventh largest supply of U.S. hotel rooms. “Many of our children are victimized in the hotels, motels and other lodging facilities that highlight our cities’ skylines and populate our highways and communities. The hospitality industry can play a key role in arresting the continued victimization of our children,” said Perkins Carn. 

To order "Ask Before You Book" awareness cards, please open and complete the order form and e-mail toinfo@interfaithchildrensmovement.org.

Some things that the Hospitality Industry can do to help:

-  Comply with Georgia law and post the National Human Trafficking Hotline posting (HB 141).

-  Post the National Human Trafficking Hotline (1-888-3737-888) in their brochures and on their bedroom and bathroom telephones.

-  Provide mandatory anti-human trafficking/commercial sexual exploitation of children awareness and response training to their employees and contracted transportation providers.

-  Make a public statement in their annual reports against human trafficking and the commercial sexual exploitation of children.

-  Support legislation that protects children from victimization.

-  Cooperate with law enforcement in their efforts to apprehend perpetrators.

-  Sign onto The Tourism Child-Protection Code of Conduct.

Legislators Say "Some Students to Young to Suspend"

By Austin Stewart, Special to the Atlanta Progressive News

(APN) ATLANTA — HB 135, or “Too Young to Suspend,” a bill co-sponsored by State Reps. Henry “Wayne” Howard (D-Augusta), Mable Thomas (D-Atlanta), and “Coach” Williams (D-Avondale Estates), would prohibit suspensions and expulsions of students  in pre-kindergarten through the third grade.

During the 2013-2014 Georgia school year, 14,292 children in those grades were given an out-of-school suspension.

See full article here:

Stop Child Sexual Exploitation

All of our sacred texts call for the care and protection of children.

CHILD WATCH PROGRAM (NORTH AMERICA) - This national program serves parents and children in the prevention of child abductions and in the investigation of abducted children. 

"Fishing with Dynamite" Georgia band releases song/video to help identify missing children.  Video

Digital Stories from the Field  http://www.nrcpfc.org/digital_stories/
The National Resource Center for Permanency and Family Connections (NRCPFC) at the Hunter College School of Social Work, A Service of the Children's Bureau, has developed this new web site. This site represents NRCPFC’s on-going work to create digital stories with key stakeholders in the child welfare field.

 

ICM Hour of Unity

On September 11th, we are reminded of a terrible tragedy and the hope that spawned from the birth of a Movement that called for the thousands of faith communities to put their faith in action and bring their compassion and commitment into advocacy on behalf of Georgia’s children.

Join us for our annual “Hour of Unity” as we share in conversation with Rena Marroquin of Compassionate Atlanta and others through discussion, song and spoken word about the importance of creating a healthier, more peaceful society for Georgia’s children.

Date/Time:  Friday, September 11, 2015, 12:30 p.m.

Location:  The Episcopal Church of the Epiphany, 2089 Ponce de Leon Avenue, NE, Atlanta, GA

“There can be no keener revelation of a society’s soul than the way in which it treats its children.”  Nelson Mandela, Former President of South Africa