Amerigroup Georgia Launches Network Design Team to Improve Treatment Services, Placement, and Caregiver Support for Youth in Foster Care

Staff Report

Monday, May 15th, 2023

Amerigroup Georgia today announced the formulation of its Network Design Team, a strategic initiative that brings together industry leaders to formulate actionable strategies that fill critical gaps in treatment services, placement and caregiver support for the 32,000 youth served by Georgia Families 360°. The committee seeks to develop solutions that will improve child welfare placement stability, reduce the number of youth in inappropriate settings, and ensure that both the physical and mental health needs of these children and teens are being met.

Since coming together in December, the team has worked to identify inconsistent services and systemic issues across the state and across multiple stakeholders that lead to poor outcomes for individuals. The team is also identifying various innovative family and community-based approaches to address placement coordination, treatment and support. The team seeks to ensure that Amerigroup’s Georgia Families 360° staff continues to proactively increase and improve its network and provider incentives and will monitor these approaches to ensure improved quality and cost of care.

“In my nearly three decades of experience leading child welfare and social services policy and system improvement initiatives, I know firsthand the importance of a safe and stable of home for all children. To make that a reality, it is our collective responsibility to ensure that the foster care system in Georgia provides the critical supports and resources necessary,” said Ginger Pryor, former DFCS director and Network Design Team member. “I am proud to be a part of a committee that’s on the front lines with Amerigroup, working to develop effective, innovative solutions for children, their families and the communities from which they come.”

The team seeks to address, improve and mitigate the following key focus areas:

Child welfare and frontline mental health clinicians workforce support
Consistently available evidence-supported interventions with corresponding reimbursement for enhanced value and outcomes
Access to culturally sensitive, trauma-informed services to support parents while strengthening families
Ensuring appropriate placements for youth in crisis, with complex behavioral and medical conditions and to reduce placements in hotels and DFCS offices
Enhanced caregiver support to improve stability and increase recruitment
“Children in foster care face multifaceted issues that require a comprehensive approach beyond just one sector, so it is critical that we bring together industry experts and leverage their collective knowledge and experience,” said Mel Lindsey, President, Amerigroup Georgia. “Through the creation of this team, Amerigroup continues to invest in innovative solutions that improve the lives of children and create a brighter future for communities across our state.”

Select members of the network design committee include:

Dr. Tommy Black, CEO, Darsey Black and Associates
Milton Brown, CEO, Eastchester Family Services
Sally Buchanan, CEO, Creative Community Services, Inc.
Dr. Anne Cornell, Chief Clinical Officer, Chris 180
Melanie Dallas, CEO, Highland Rivers Health
Deena Davis, Certified Addiction and Recovery Empowerment Specialist, Douglas County
Justin Glaeser, CEO, The Glaser Group
Patricia Mowry-Cavanaugh, Senior Vice President, Health Connect America
Ginger Pryor, Former Georgia DFCS State Director
Dr. Alie Redd, Executive Director, Covenant House Georgia
Sara Riley, President, Choices for Life Foster Care
Cindy A. Simpson, Executive Director, Hope Springs Housing
Peggy H. Walker, Senior Judge, Juvenile Court of the State of Georgia
Each of these team members bring a unique perspective and skill set that is essential to address child welfare systemic challenges.

By cultivating partnerships and investing in efforts that address critical priorities across the entire state, Amerigroup is committed to improving the health of people and communities across Georgia. This includes efforts around mental health, maternal and children’s health, disease management, secondary education, workforce development, rural health equity and more.