The impact of a community-based and privatized approach to the provision of social services: Findings from the emerging south

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Robert M. Sanders
David J. Boldt


Amid solid advancements in personal income and employment throughout the state, Georgia's former popular Governor, Zell Miller, initiated the politically advantageous policies of privatizing state services and downsizing agencies. With elevated frequencies of infant infirmity, child poverty, teen pregnancy and juvenile crime persisting, however, state social services were targeted for an innovative approach. Agencies would play a partial role as community-based organizations, the private sector.and citizens would all collaborate in administering welfare programs.
Under this format, Georgia's novel "Family Connection" was created to
improve the quality of life of the state's needy children and families. Findings indicate that, despite the political appeal, decentralized social programs such as the Family Connection failed to improve the health of impoverished children and families. Reorganizing social services by increasing reliance on the private sector and philanthropic organizations led to no significant improvements in infant health, teen birth rates, juvenile crime, family poverty and high school dropout rates in the state.

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