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What's New at KidsPeace

News and Notes from KidsPeace

KidsPeace Executive Director Helping Georgia Draft Performance-Based Goals

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KidsPeace is pleased to announce that Executive Director of KidsPeace Georgia, Scott Merritt, has been selected by the Georgia Department of Human Services to contribute to the development of performance based goals to improve the outcomes of children placed in foster care throughout the state. Scott will join 7 other Child Caring Institutions (CCI) leaders and executives who will meet throughout the first part of this year to develop the State's goals. The establishment of this committee is in response to The Federal Government's emphasis on achieving permanence for children who are in the State's Foster Care System.

The performance-based model will reward organizations that successfully place children in permanent homes with family members or in adoptive homes or Independent Living Programs. These organizations will be expected to meet specific outcomes while the children are in their residential program and when they step down from their facilities. If the outcomes are not achieved, the responsible organization may face penalties, while successful outcomes will result in additional revenues.

According to Merritt, "The State is also implementing a Permanency Based Initiative that will provide opportunities for organizations such as KidsPeace to continue working with children we have treated after their discharge. The purpose of this initiative is to ensure a smoother continuum of care under our supervision with the goal of achieving permanency. Organizations that decide to be a part of this initiative will be compensated according to how well they met the Performance Based Goals, which are currently being developed."

Merritt, who has directed the KidsPeace facility since it opened in 2004 feels honored to have been selected to participate on this committee. "It is very exciting to be involved in this new focus from the beginning," he said. "Georgia is totally committed to this project."

KidsPeace Urges Teens to Resolve to Join TeenCentral.Net

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A new year offers opportunities for new beginnings and resolutions to do things for ourselves that will make us happier, healthier, stronger and better able to deal with everyday issues. The experts at KidsPeace urge teens to log onto TeenCentral.Net and join this active community in writing about their concerns, learning how to stop some bad habits, receiving advice from trained counselors and offering support to other teens who have posted about the difficulties they are facing. TeenCentral.Net is free and totally anonymous, so teens can be open and honest and know that they cannot be identified.

With more than 490,000 members, TeenCentral.Net is very popular with teens from around the world. "No matter where a teen lives -- in cities, small towns, busy suburbs or other countries -- the problems are pretty much universal," says Dr. Julius Licata,  director of TeenCentral.Net. Teens have questions or issues they feel they cannot discuss with their parents or friends, and TeenCentral.Net offers a safe environment to express themselves and receive advice from Master's level counselors." Licata helped create the site in 1998 and has been shepherding its growth ever since. He is extremely grateful to the volunteers who screen and answer the posts and ensure that no one can be identified by anyone who visits the site.

TeenCentral.Net is always adding new resources and interesting content to the site, including a news section that is relevant to teens, videos and stories about celebrities who experienced the same things members are experiencing, books of interest to teens and helpful information about weight awareness and how to stop smoking. "Right before Christmas, Amanda Seyfried, the popular actress from 'Mean Girls,' 'Mama Mia,' and 'Big Love,' visited TeenCentral.Net in Pennsylvania and filmed a short video that tells teens why she is a fan of TeenCentral.Net and has been since she was a young teen," Licata adds. "There are sports stars, musical groups and other celebrities who support us and take the time to tell their stories on our site."

There is also now a FaceBook page about TeenCentral.Net that keeps teens up to date on what is happening on the site, and new teens join every week. Although there is not a separate site for adults, parents can write for advice and receive private emails with the information they need or recommendations about where to go to find answers. 

Teens post about family issues, boyfriend or girlfriend troubles, problems with friends, school difficulties, sexuality and concerns about friends who are need help. No subject is taboo, and counselors provide factual, non-judgmental answers to each post within 24 hours. Many teens have posted that the advice they received from TeenCentral.Net changed their lives, helped them out of bad situations and directed them to service providers in their areas that could help them with serious problems.

Licata encourages educators, parents, mental health services providers and counselors to guide teens to TeenCentral.Net so that they can "Log on and work it out," whatever their problem may be. For more information about the site or to order cards to distribute to teens, email teencentral@kidspeace.org or call 610-799-7912. "Make this a safe, less troubled year for the teens you know," Licata says.

 

 
   
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