Public hearing held for special use permit needed for group home in Hogansville

Published 6:35 pm Tuesday, February 5, 2019

On Monday, Jimmy McCamey Jr. spoke during a public hearing before the Hogansville City Council meeting, asking for a special use permit for a group home on 301 Pine Street. McCamey said he is hoping to use the building, which used to be West End School of Hogansville, as a group home for 25 to 30 foster care children.

McCamey, a local licensed clinical social worker and professional counselor, said the center would be open to children in the foster care system between the ages of 12 and 17 years old and would include a school with specialized curriculum for each child’s needs.

“The particular kids at Pine Street will be foster care kids, and I think most people in this room know someone who’s dealt with having a drug or alcohol-related problem, even if it wasn’t a relative,” McCamey said. “I think anybody who’s watching media right now — they know opiates, crack cocaine, methamphetamine, you name it, has taken over a large portion of our community. And guess what happens to these vulnerable kids, who these parents are supposed to be taking care of? They end up in the system because they don’t have responsible parents who can actually care for them. So, they need a program.”

McCamey said the school would be a private program, and the school would get the students caught up academically to their respective grade levels.

“These particular kids in the foster care system, they are far behind largely because they move from parent to parent, family member to family member, foster home to foster home,” McCamey said. “They’re falling behind academically.”

McCamey said he has already run other programs similar to the one proposed for Hogansville. McCamey said all 52 of the children who entered that program, Hogansville Dream House, have graduated and either attended college, joined the military or entered the workforce.

“They would never have graduated from high school if they had not had a place to call home that was in our facility,” McCamey said.

The staff to child ratio proposed is 1 to 5 during the day and 1 to 9 at night. McCamey said along with certified teachers, they will also have therapists at the center.

McCamey said the group would also like to host other programs, such as free lunches for senior citizens.

“They can come during lunch and actually have a free lunch at no charge,” McCamey said.

McCamey also said the group is already rehabbing the building, and he estimated that renovations would take between three to five years. 

In a document available on the City of Hogansville’s website, McCamey wrote that the proposed center will be separated from the existing day care, The West End Center, which is also at 301 Pine Street.

According to the written response, the estimated number of staff members needed would be between 40 to 50 people.

City Council Member Reginald Jackson asked McCamey about the school curriculum. McCamey said there was an online component in addition to credit recovery for students.

Jackson also asked McCamey about the building being code compliant, to which McCamey said the group is cleaning it up, since it was previously a dumping ground.