2024 Policy Priorities

Creating Opportunity for Georgia's Youth at School and at Home

In 2024 Georgia Appleseed Center for Law & Justice continues its mission to foster school and housing justice, grounding its efforts in comprehensive Georgia-focused research and inclusive dialogue with a diverse array of voices, including children, parents, experts, and community leaders. The organization’s policy priorities are shaped by a commitment to pragmatic, evidence-based solutions aimed at supporting all of Georgia’s children, with a particular focus on those often left at the margins: Black and Brown children, those experiencing poverty, LGBTQ+ youth, children with disabilities, and children in foster care. For a comprehensive look at our 2024 policy initiatives, read the full document here.

Creating Opportunity for Georgia’s Youth at School and at Home

Georgia Appleseed believes in the transformative power of stable, healthy housing and quality education within a supportive environment. The organization advocates for collaborative efforts among schools, courts, state agencies, and communities to implement best practices that keep children in school, in their homes, and out of the criminal justice system. Their policy recommendations for 2024 are ambitious and multi-faceted, focusing on reducing school removals, enhancing behavioral supports, increasing foster care stability, and ensuring access to stable housing for low-income families.

School Justice Initiatives: A Path to Inclusion and Success

A cornerstone of Georgia Appleseed’s agenda is the promotion of School Justice Partnerships (SJPs) and Court-led Student Attendance and School Climate Committees (SASCCs) to mitigate juvenile justice involvement and bolster educational outcomes. The organization advocates for the adoption of fair school discipline procedures, as outlined in the proposed Senate Bill 169, aiming to ensure timely and equitable disciplinary hearings, alongside measures to prevent academic decline during suspensions.

Recognizing the vital role of a positive school climate, Georgia Appleseed calls for the reinstatement of the School Climate Star rating and the expansion of School-Based Behavioral Health (SBBH) services. Additionally, the organization strongly opposes corporal punishment, urging amendments to school codes of conduct to eliminate physical discipline, which disproportionately affects students of color and those with disabilities.

Fostering Stability for Children in Care

Children in foster care face unique challenges, including adverse academic outcomes and a heightened risk of entanglement with the criminal justice system. Georgia Appleseed’s recommendations include increasing funding for the Division of Family and Children Services (DFCS) to improve case management and foster home placements. The organization also emphasizes the importance of granting comprehensive legal rights to foster children to support their development, success, and transition to independence.

Advancing Housing Justice for Families

Safe and healthy housing is fundamental to the well-being and success of children. Georgia Appleseed supports legislative actions that protect tenants, including the enactment of a Tenant’s Bill of Enforceable Rights and the “Safe at Home Act” (House Bill 404), which would establish a warranty of habitability for rental properties. The organization also advocates for expanded local housing safety enforcement to ensure that rental properties meet health and safety standards, thereby reducing housing instability and its negative impact on child development and academic achievement.

A Call to Action

Georgia Appleseed’s 2024 policy priorities represent a comprehensive approach to addressing the intertwined challenges of school and housing justice. By advocating for systemic changes that support the most vulnerable among Georgia’s children, the organization aims to foster environments where all children can thrive. Community members, policymakers, and stakeholders are encouraged to join in these efforts, contributing to a brighter future for Georgia’s youth.

Join us in making a difference for Georgia’s children. For more detailed information on our policy priorities and how you can help, read our full 2024 Policy Priorities here.