Group seeks better future for local children

Published 11:04 pm Monday, October 2, 2017

Next week, Safe Families will host a conference and dinner that aims to connect municipal and charitable organizations and locals with resources already available in the community.

The Our Children, Our Future conference will connect groups like Circles, Safe Families and Harmony House and municipal organizations like the courts and the LaGrange Police Department, in order to increase awareness of resources available in the community.

This year the conference will aim to give participants a deeper understanding of trauma and systems of care with speakers like Judge Michael Key who is one of Troup County’s most outspoken advocates for foster children.

“The day conference is really a gift to the community,” said Candi Gibson, the Safe Families coordinator. “We wanted something where we could collaborate together, network together, get to know each other, let the government systems meet the community and church systems and partner the church with programs with government programs.”

Safe Families focuses heavily on what Gibson calls the “Biblical hospitality” which involves sharing God’s gifts with strangers, with an emphasis on children. “There are churches that are doing things that maybe DFACS (the Department of Family and Children’s Services) and juvenile court or the police department don’t know about,” said Sheri Cody, the executive director for Twin Cedars. “The gift of the day is to provide an opportunity for those two groups to share lunch, network and talk about how they might all be able to work together to create that system for the kids.”

The conference will feature a series of lectures as well as two panels for attendees to choose from. A complimentary lunch will be provided to attendees.

That evening, Safe Families will host a dinner featuring Dr. David Anderson, the founder of Safe Families. Safe Families trains and equips churches to recruit volunteers that serve in various roles to strengthen families and keep children safe.

“We don’t want to be the best kept secret in LaGrange anymore,” Gibson said. “We want people to know that there is an alternative voice for families in crisis — that there is a safe family for families when their children need care temporarily when it is not abuse or neglect situations.”

In Troup County, Safe Families has partnered with ten churches and hosted over 58 child placements through 22 host families. Twin Cedars, which launched the program in 2014, has made the dinner free to the public in order to encourage more community members to attend.

The Our Children, Our Future conference will take place at the Callaway Conference Center, 220 Fort Drive on Oct. 12 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.

The Our Children, Our Future dinner will take place at the Callaway Conference Center at 6 p.m.

The event is free to the public, but reservations need to be made by Oct. 4 at