Through the LEADS program, the Multi-Agency Alliance for Children (MAAC) is the Education Lead Agency for the Division of Family and Children Services (DFCS) Region 14, which is comprised of Fulton and DeKalb counties. Youth served by LEADS receive an educational coordinator that ensures their iReady assessments for math and reading are completed as well as an Educational Stability Plan. Youth are able to receive individualized educational supports on an as-needed basis including school supplies, credit recovery, educational advocacy, and tutoring.
Youth in foster care face staggering statistics, especially in the area of education, a key factor in transitioning to employment and adulthood. Multiple moves, the impact of trauma, and misaligned public systems are just a few reasons grade promotion and graduation rates are so low. MAAC understands that more than educational factors impact students. In addition to coordinating education assessments, youth plans and collaborative supports to meet academic demands, MAAC will coordinate services and supports to address the whole student, including addressing trauma, to fully surround them with the resources and tools necessary for their educational success. Students are also able to be connected to other MAAC programs as applicable. This innovative pilot program will better support educational outcomes than single-focused or fragmented service models and also bolster overall successful transition to adulthood.
Based on the success of the 2016 Project Graduate pilot program, MAAC was approached by DFCS Director Bobby Cagle in Spring 2017 to carry that work forward into the development of an innovative new program to serve youth in Metro Atlanta. That program became MAAC LEADS, and in its first year served over 400 youth and graduated over 80% of eligible seniors.
MAAC’s proven history of working with these young people and long-established relationships with our network of public and private partners uniquely situates MAAC for successful leadership of this Initiative. MAAC will overlay the frameworks and practice models that support trauma responsive care and create resiliency, including the Youth Thrive Framework and the Sanctuary model, and develop programming guided by the evidence-based High Fidelity Wraparound model.
Youth are eligible for LEADS if in the custody of Fulton County DFCS or DeKalb County DFCS. The youth must be at least 14 years old, and not in possession of their high school diploma or GED.