Editorial Roundup: Georgia

Dalton Daily Citizen. May 6, 2024.

Editorial: Consider foster care

In a perfect world, every child would have a home.

It is not a perfect world.

May is National Foster Care Month.

Foster Care Month exists to raise awareness about foster care needs and show appreciation to all foster families.

There are thousands of children in foster care in Georgia, according to the state’s Division of Family & Children Services.

The children come from many backgrounds and situations. They are children of all ages and races.

A great many of them have special needs, including teenagers, siblings and children with physical, emotional and/or behavioral disabilities.

The Division of Family & Children Services operates under the Georgia Department of Human Services and is tasked with assuring that children are safe from abuse and neglect.

Dedicated caregivers are a critical part of fulfilling that mission.

DFCS says once a determination is made that it is not safe for a child to remain in the home of a parent or guardian, the child may be placed in foster care.

The foster care program is designed to be a temporary home away from home while qualified professionals work with the family to address child-safety concerns.

DFCS said its goal is to return children safely to their families but adds that the child’s safety comes before any other consideration.

DFCS has said the agency is always looking for what it calls “loving, safe and stable homes for the children who are brought into care.” The approval process can take up to 10 months and may require certifications, evaluations and a good bit of documentation.

Foster parents do not receive a per diem for caring for the children in their home, according to DFCS. Rather, they can be reimbursed for some of the expenses they incur while caring for children.

The state may provide an initial clothing allowance when children enter foster care as well as an annual clothing allowance.

Foster children may also benefit from certain therapeutic services as well as health and safety items that may include things such as car seats, booster seats and safety helmets.

Foster children between the ages 14-25 are provided with services through the Independent Living Program that provides funding and support to help youth successfully transition from foster care, according to DFCS.

In a perfect world, foster care would not be needed. In a perfect world, children would never be abused or neglected.

It is not a perfect world.

In our world, children are orphaned, sadly others are abandoned, abused and neglected, making foster care so important and foster families so needed and appreciated.

People interested in serving as a foster parent can call (877) 210-KIDS.


Valdosta Daily Times. May 4, 2024.

Editorial: Don’t let ride turn to tragedy

We encourage motorcycle riders to ride safely and urge all other motorists to be watchful of two- and three-wheeled vehicles on our roadways.

May is National Motorcycle Awareness Month.

Spring is a favorite time of year for motorcyclists and it can be an extremely hazardous time, according to state officials.

Motorcycles operate on the roadways with the same rights and privileges as any motor vehicle.

State highway officials consistently encourage motorists and motorcyclists to “share the road.”

Motorcycle awareness and safety has been a priority in Georgia for the past few years and for good reason. Motorcycle accidents are often fatal.

Here are some tips from the Georgia Motorcycle Safety Program:

— Focus on driving/riding. Put away cell phones and other devices.

— Signal intentions and look before changing lanes.

— Use caution at intersections looking both ways before crossing or turning.

— Wear a state Department of Transportation-approved helmet, reflective gear and bright colors when riding.

— Evaluate your surroundings.

— Drive/ride aware and alert.

— Allow plenty of room between vehicles and avoid blind spots.

It should also be noted that motorcycle rallies and meet-ups often involve alcohol. As dangerous as it is to drink and drive a car, it is even more dangerous to operate a motorcycle while drunk or buzzed. Just don’t do it.

Motorcycle riders are encouraged to take a safety course at one of the Georgia Motorcycle Safety Program-approved sites and to refresh skills and knowledge regularly. More information is available at www.dds.georgia.gov.

Ride safely.


Brunswick News. May 2, 2024.

Editorial: Recent bills should be encouraging for parents

Parents will applaud two measures passed by the Georgia General Assembly this year and signed into law recently by Gov. Brian Kemp. One substantially increases fines for reckless motorists who pass stopped school buses and the other targets the fiends who peddle fentanyl-laced drugs on the street.

Under House Bill 409, also known as Addy’s Law, passing a stopped school bus when the stop arm is out while it’s loading or unloading children is now classified as a high and aggravated misdemeanor. The penalty for violators is no less than $1,000, 12 months in jail or both.

The law is named after 8-year-old Adalynn Pierce of Henry County. A motorist who failed to comply with the stop signal struck the girl while she was in the process of boarding the bus. Adalynn never recovered. She died in the hospital from her injuries two days later.

The law also asks school systems to establish routes that do not require students to cross roadways where the speed limit is 40 mph or higher. Given the reckless tendencies of some motorists, this should have been a rule a long time ago.

Traffic is not getting any lighter on Georgia’s highways. That certainly is the case here in Brunswick and the Golden Isles. Growing populations create more traffic and more hazards for children. Hopefully the school system will eliminate any potentially dangerous zones and our traffic courts will hand out the maximum penalty to motorists who play Russian roulette with the lives of the community’s sons and daughters.

The other law signed by Gov. Kemp, Senate Bill 465, also known as Austin’s Law, would charge those who cause an individual’s death by manufacturing or selling a substance containing fentanyl with aggravated involuntary manslaughter. Fentanyl, a synthetic opioid that is said to be 50 times more powerful than heroin, continues to claim lives across the nation.

According to the Georgia Department of Public Health, drug overdose deaths increased by 61% and fentanyl-involved overdose deaths increased by 230% from 2019 to 2021. It’s not getting any better, either. Even a small amount of fentanyl in street drugs can trigger an overdose.

The law is named for Austin Waters of Lowndes County. He died in September 2021 after ingesting a Xanax he had purchased on the street that had been spiked with fentanyl. His father said his son was unaware of the presence of fentanyl.

Given fentanyl’s grim statistics and its use as an additive in street drugs, people who manufacture and peddle this deadly combination are getting off lightly. Austin’s Law provides a penalty of one to 10 years in prison.

Ten years is not enough, but it is a start.