URGENT: Advocacy Alert for Refugee Services

LSG provides a wide variety of direct services to both newly arrived and established refugee clients, supported by federal funding administered through Georgia's Department of Human Services (DHS). With this funding LSG specifically provides employment training and job placement as well as assistance in addressing medical concerns and home management support designed to help refugees achieve self-sufficiency as soon as possible.

The contract year for these services began on October 1. To our dismay, we have been informed by officials of Georgia's DHS that they are under no obligation to pay for any services related to these federally funded programs until the contracts are signed. This left us with no option but to suspend these services to our clients since we have no idea if or when the contracts will be signed.

Today, LSG laid off eight Refugee Services staff members and stopped employment training, job placement and social adjustment services to our refugee clients. The suspension, or possible loss, of this federal funding, already distributed and being held by the state, will be strongly felt not only by the refugee population but also by every Georgia resident.

The entire refugee services community hopes for prompt resolution of the barriers that stand between us and delivery of these critical services.  You can help relieve this situation by contacting DHS Commissioner Clyde Reese at 404-463-3390 or creese@dhr.state.ga.us and Governor Nathan Deal at 404-656-1776 or click here. Ask them to sign the refugee services contracts and release the funding held by the state to provide these vital services to the refugee population. For suggestions on how to communicate your concerns, please click here.  And please forward this information to your network so that we can demonstrate that this issue has broad support from our community: friends, family, coworkers, congregation members, etc. Thank you for your support during this critical time.

 

Once you have contacted Governor Deal or Commissioner Reese, please let us know what response you receive, or if you have additional questions, by contacting J.D. McCrary, director of Refugee Services, at jmccrary@lsga.org or 678-686-9643.

Adoption: Lutheran Teachings Guide Us to Serve

We in the LSG adoption program recognize the journey of adoption for both the family and the children who are adopted. We also recognize it is a privilege to find a permanent home for a waiting child. Adoption is one of the many missions of this agency serving and engaging the community by bringing hope, healing and strength to people in need. This past year, we successfully transitioned all the families and the children from two other agencies to our adoption program who unfortunately had to close their doors due to budget cuts and the economy. In some cases, we accomplished this awesome task with no financial support with this transition. We are proud to say over this past year, we found “forever families” for 35 children in foster care which included seven sibling groups of 2, one sibling group of 3 and one sibling group of 4 children. We found a “forever family” for 8 infants in our cooperative open infant domestic adoption program and has facilitated ongoing connections between the adoptive families and the birth families. In spite of these accomplishments, we know that the work continues on because the need is so great for the hope, healing and strength that we at LSG provide.