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Children's Law and Juvenile Justice

What are dependency cases?

Changes in legal terminology associated with Georgia’s Juvenile Code should be noted as researchers navigate recent and historical documents, books, practitioner’s materials and web resources related to Georgia’s laws governing children, juvenile courts and juvenile justice.

The current Juvenile Code replaces the term “deprivation” with “dependency” when referring to cases of abuse or neglect where the court has interceded to protect a child.  Other changes to the Juvenile Code include an expansion of the definition of abuse to include prenatal abuse, in addition to physical, emotional and sexual abuse, sexual exploitation, and the reduction of critical timelines in dependency cases to promote permanency for children in foster care.

Community Resources

A host of federal and state government agencies provide resources to support children and families.  These agencies address legal and policy issues, funding, provide free educational resources, and often render direct services.  The common goal of most federal and state agencies is to raise awareness, and ultimately, promote the safety and well-being of children. 

Many of the following organizations offer seminars, workshops, and continuing legal education in addition to direct services to improve the mental and physical health, safety and overall well-being of our nation’s youth.  Current awareness of children’s advocacy agencies is important as a holistic approach is often required to ensure the delivery of adequate services and resources to children. 

Below is a selected list of Georgia and National organizations.  For a more comprehensive list of service providers, visit the United Way 2-1-1 Information & Referral Service online or dial 2-1-1 anytime, 24 hours/7 days a week.



Barton Child Law and Policy Center: provides legal representation and advocacy for juvenile court-involved children.

Children's Restoration Network: provides services for homeless children and mothers.

Division of Family and Children Services: provides refugee assistance, emergency food and energy assistance, after-school services, child care assistance and subsidies, Medicaid, child protective and foster care services, adoption services, Prep, and general public assistance to families in need.

Families First: provides a Reunion Registry (for adopted persons, birth and adoptive parents), emergency food and energy assistance, after-school services, child care assistance and subsidies, Healthy Moms and Babies programs, adoption services, placement to permanency, and family and parenting education.

Fulton County Citizen Review Panel: program consists of court-appointed volunteers who review the cases of children in court-ordered foster care on a monthly basis.  This panel also monitors the progress DFCS case plans and the looks for the successful implementation of goals leading to reunification or permanency.

Georgia Campaign for Adolescent Power & Potential: promotes programming to support and improve adolescent health and teen pregnancy prevention.

GA CASA: Georgia Court-Appointed Special Advocates, Inc.; supports 47 local CASA programs in Georgia in their effort to recruit, train and supervise caring volunteers who advocate for “safe, loving, permanent homes” for children in foster care.

Georgia Department of Human Resources: provides, child care assistance, child protective and foster care services, adoption services and general public assistance to aid families in need.

United Way Education Focus: Resources and services to Georgia for youth of all ages.


Jim Casey Youth Opportunities Initiative:  Helps young people, ages 14 to 25 who are aging out of foster care, to make a successful transition to independence and adulthood.  “Initiative is working in the following sites: Atlanta, Georgia; Hartford/Bridgeport Connecticut; Des Moines, Iowa; Indianapolis, Indiana, Maine; Detroit/Wayne County and Northern Michigan; Hawaii, Omaha, Nebraska, Nashville, Tennessee; Rhode Island; San Diego, California; and Tampa, Florida.”

National CASA: National Court Appointed Special Advocates, Inc.; supports state and local CASA programs (see GA CASA for more information).