In 2008, Georgia combined two state offices serving troubled youth in the name of effectiveness and efficiency. Now, an audit says the newly created office has resulted in little savings on overhead while managing to serve only about one-third as many children. The analysis found “no evidence” that the Governor’s Office for Children and Families (GOCF) is more efficient, state Auditor Russell Hinton said. Administrative costs remain about the same as before the merger, he reported, and a new grant-making philosophy built in another layer of bureaucracy that may well cost taxpayers more. Hinton also found that the office was carrying over unspent money from one year to another, rather than returning it to the state treasury as required by law.
In the season of warm fuzzy sweaters and family get-togethers, many young people in Georgia have but one New Year’s resolution – a safe place to sleep at night. An unknown number of teenagers and young adults are alone and homeless in Georgia. Who they are and where they are – no one knows much about them. For the first time Georgia is undertaking an ambitious project to count a representative sample of these homeless youth statewide, and develop a uniform reporting system. Funded by the Governor’s Office for Families and Children, the project takes place during the last week of January. The Homeless Youth Count Project is part of a bi-annual census of homeless people of all ages, mandated by HUD. As part of this initiative The State Department of Community Affairs is sending out a questionnaire to service providers in 152 counties, which for the first time, will ask for specific information about homeless young people, 24 and younger.