A local nonprofit that aims to help children in foster care has been designated as an “Emerging site” through the Georgia Division of Family and Children Services’ State of Hope application.
Hope 1312 Collective received “Emerging site” approval in September. The nonprofit works to help churches leverage resources for children in foster care.
The organization shares the stories of children in foster care, hosts a therapeutic summer camp and helps support CarePortal, a tool that makes churches aware of the needs of children and families in the area.
The nonprofit plans to create a CarePortal in Glynn County and applied for State of Hope site support for the project.
“With us being a new organization in Glynn County, we were just really excited to have the state’s support in what we do,” said Ally Christianson, founding director of Hope 1312 Collective. “We’re looking forward to future involvement with the State of Hope initiative.”
The state DFCS received more than 60 applications for State of Hope proposed projects, which aim to address statewide needs such as awareness of trauma-informed practices, improved quality of caregiving and opportunities to help individuals and families become economically self-sufficient and live in safe homes.
“Five sites were selected across the state to be fully-funded sites, and then there were about 10 additional sites across the state that were selected as emerging, new projects,” Christianson said.
Coastal Georgia Community Action Authority received State of Hope site approval this year to open a community resource center in Brunswick and will receive $125,000 to help fund the project.
As an emerging site, Hope 1312 Collective could someday receive State of Hope site approval, Christianson said. And in the meantime, the nonprofit will be able to collaborate with the state DFCS and will become a member of the State of Hope Ecosystem, a platform that serves as a means to connect State of Hope sites and match organizations to resources and opportunities.
“We believe your participation in the Hope Ecosystem will be critical to the success of your project and others around the state,” wrote Tom Rawlings, interim director of Georgia DFCS, in a letter to Hope 1312 Collective.
The nonprofit came to Glynn County in 2014, when Christianson helped launch the Heart Gallery of Georgia.
“Our mission is to enable the church and the community to be engaged in child welfare, to foster tangible hope,” Christianson said.
The nonprofit works to unify the community around this goal.
In May, the number of children in foster care hit a record 15,000, Christianson said, and Glynn County DFCS received 96 calls for investigations.
“I’m a licensed clinical social worker, and my passion is really to save children from what I call ‘hard places,’” she said.
The nonprofit is in the process now of bringing more churches on board.
A CarePortal in Glynn County will allow agencies who work with families and children to access broad support from the county, said Dana Gellermann, director of Glynn County DFCS, in a letter of support to the State of Hope officials.
Support from the state DFCS will help Hope 1312 Collective ensure that it’s meeting the real needs of children and families in Glynn County, Christianson said.
“Then we know that our time and resources are truly being utilized in a way that creates change,” she said.