Assessing the Context of Permanency and Reunification in the Foster Care System: Mothers Making a Change Program . 1. Introduction and Background


Mothers Making a Change (MMAC) is a public program serving mothers with a substance abuse problem in Cobb and Douglas counties in Georgia. MMAC came to our attention during a discussion with the Foster Care Unit Manager in the Social Services Section of the Division of Family and Children Services (DFCS) in Atlanta. The program was recommended for review due to the special and innovative nature of reunification services it provides.(1) For contextual information, an overview of state and county information is presented.

MMAC is a comprehensive substance abuse and reunification program in Cobb and Douglas counties that includes community outreach, early intervention, family preservation and support services, comprehensive outpatient treatment services, and residential services for women with substance abuse problems. The goal of the program is to provide comprehensive treatment for pregnant and postpartum substance abusing or chemically dependent women with young children, with a main focus to promote a drug-free environment and family stability. Services include residential substance abuse treatment, day treatment services for substance abuse, outpatient treatment, outreach services, and early intervention services.

Background information on state and county policy and service structure is helpful in understanding how MMAC fits into the continuum of reunification services in Cobb and Douglas counties. This report first outlines information on the child welfare system in the state and counties and key policies affecting child welfare and specifically reunification. Following this information, a detailed description of MMAC is presented to provide specifics on implementation, staffing, services, the relationship MMAC has with coordinating agencies, barriers encountered in delivering services, program success, and funding. The report ends with conclusions on why MMAC is unique in the continuum of reunification services provided in Cobb and Douglas counties in Georgia.