Chatham County

Child Advocate Office

Our Mission

To advance the goals of permanency, stability and substantial justice for children involved in child welfare cases utilizing trained, competent attorneys supported by a multidisciplinary team.

Our Community Partners

Clients to Date

Hard Workers

Our Vision

The Chatham County Child Advocate Office is a fully functioning children’s law office established as a joint project between Chatham County, Chatham County Juvenile Court and the state Office of Child Advocate. The project establishes a multi-disciplinary office of attorneys to represent children in Dependency cases. The Office assigns one attorney per judge, with caseload limitations, supported by a legal secretary, unit specialist and social worker. The Office utilizes specific legal strategies that have been proven to expedite permanency in dependency cases.

About Our Team

16,000 children

will experience foster care this year in Georgia. On any given day, there are more than 300 children in foster care in Chatham County

Help Stop Child Trafficking

Children’s Advocacy Centers of Georgia (CACGA) CSEC Response Team began operating a new 24/7 trafficking hotline number: 1-866-END-HTGA.

News and Resources

988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline

The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, now known as the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline, can be more easily reached by calling or texting 988, or chatting on 988lifeline.org

Connections Matter

From the GA OCA April 2020 Newletter : The Connections Matter Georgia® statewide initiative is focused on raising awareness and providing a community-based prevention response


A Back To School Bash

P.A.C.K. - - - -People of Action Caring for Kids

P.A.C.K. is a 501 c-3 non-profit committed to meeting the basic needs of children in our local community. P.A.C.K provides over 1,500 microwavable lunch bags each year and busy bags for CURE for Childhood Cancer and for pediatric hospital inpatients. Children receiving cancer treatments and other medical treatments at local hospitals are often unable to leave the hospital for meals. We provide bags containing microwavable meals and snacks to help make their stay a little easier. Bags are also provided for siblings. "Busy bags" contain crafts, toys, games, and letters of encouragement. 

For those children entering foster care, it can be a scary feeling. Thankfully, P.A.C.K. provides a personalized duffle bag for each child filled with under garments, outfits, shoes, personal toiletries, a blanket, and eveny a special note! 

For more information on sponsoring a child, donating or requesting reources, please visit tehir webpage PACK - Fight Child Hunger (packsavannah.com).

 

Blessings In A Bookbag, Inc.

​Founded by Weslyn “Mahogany” Bowers in 2011, Blessings in a Book Bag (BIBB) is a 501c3 non-profit organization based out of Savannah. BIBB feeds over 100 students and families at Otis Brock Elementary school and families throughout our city. It is designed to feed elementary school children whose families have little or no food to eat on the weekends. The organization serves by feeding over 130 at-need children every Friday. Blessings In A Book Bag also serves as a local pantry for those in the community that is in need of food services. Additionally, the organization provides school supplies, school uniforms, and other necessities for school. This allows kids to enjoy being kids and focus on schoolwork with a little less worry.

BIBB will have their annual Back To School Give-A-Way August 6, 2022. Please see the flyer below or visit their webpage for more information!

 

HOME | Blessings In A Bookbag, Inc

Shelter From The Rain

Shelter From the Rain, Inc. (SFTR) is a 501(c)(3) non-profit, based out of Savannah, Georgia, that provides assistance to single mothers. Established in 2010, SFTR is designed to show how God's love shelters us from the different rain showers that come into our lives. They strive to develop positive, lasting relationships with and between moms in order to help them reach their goals and provide for their children.

Some services SFTR offers are as follows: 

  1. "Pantry Pal" Program - Househole items and Goodwill clothing vouchers
  2. "Meals For Moms" Program (COVID-19 Relief Effort)- Partnership with local restaurants to provide meals to single parent families
  3. "Mental Health For Single Moms" Program - This program allows single mothers to access individual counseling as well as group counseling with other single mothers at no cost. 
  4. "Baby Bundles" Program & Community Diaper Bank - Helps provided needed baby supply items (diapers, baby wipes, baby powder, etc) for newborns/toddlers and educational information for mothers
  5. "Mothers with Mentors" Program - An extension of this support group and give mothers one-on-one guidance from a mentor in efforts to reach positive goals
  6. "Queen’s Corner" Program - This program is designed to support single mothers through recognition, notes of encouragement, holiday gifts and annual emergency Assistance for registered moms
  7. "Career Central" Program- This program equips mothers with the tools needed for job preparation and entrepreneurship.

 

You may visit their webpage, Shelter From the Rain Inc. - Home, for more information!

The Front Porch

The Front Porch, a Juvenile Court led collaborative that has been designed to reduce both recidivism and court involvement among youth who pose little to no risk to community safety. The Front Porch is home of the Katrina S. Woodley Clothing Closet. The clothing closet is available for families to stop by and select items of their liking anytime Monday, Tuesday and Friday from 8am until 5pm and on Wednesday and Thursdays from 8am until 7pm.

What services can your youth and family receive at TFP?
- Assessment & Referrals📋
- Clothing👕
- Meals & Snacks (P.A.C.K.)🍎
- Hygiene Packs (P.A.C.K.)
- Diapers & Household Supplies (Shelter from the Rain)🏠
- After Hours Table Talks for Parents and Teens (SCCPSS)🤱
- Tech. Incentives like tablets 📲
- Step Lessons👩‍🏫
- Educational & Prosocial Activities (DEEP)🎨
- Documentary Film Nights🎥
- Cuddles from Guinea Pigs🐹

The Front Porch will also be hosting their Back to School Block Rock. Please see the flyer below for details!

 

 

Rock Fest 2022 Back to School Event .......Presented by Overcoming By Faith

Join Overcoming By Faith Ministries for their 2022 Rockfest Back to School event!!!


RockFest is Overcoming by Faith's FREE annual Back-to-School Celebration designed for the entire family. Come enjoy free rides, Inflatable games, Kid's Play area, and FOOD TRUCKS!
Plus there will be FREE School Uniforms for children in need of one!
Visit overcomingbyfaith.org for details or scan the QR Code for uniform sign-up. You may also fill out this form (https://overcomingbyfaith.ccbchurch.com/goto/forms/578/responses/new ) prior to the event to claim your free school uniforms.
See you July 30th at 9700 Middleground Road, Savannah, GA 31406!

 

America's Second Harvest of Coastal Georgia

Hunger is a real issue in our nation, our state and in Coastal Georgia. There are more than 40 million people in the United States that struggle with food insecurity, 1.5 million in the state of Georgia and 175,540 right here in Coastal Georgia.

Established in 1981 in Savannah Georgia, America’s Second Harvest of Coastal Georgia is a locally inspired, volunteer-driven nonprofit food bank and community partnering organization. Second Harvest serves as the food safety net for tens of thousands of children, senior citizens, low-income families, and people with disabilities who are at risk for hunger throughout Coastal Georgia.

The organization works diligently to feed the hungry by distributing nutritious food to non-profit agencies and at-risk elderly and youth. Their programs include Brown Bag for the Elderly, Grace’s Kitchen, Kids Cafe, Mobile Food Pantry, and Partner Distribution. These programs are designed to provide hunger relief to those most vulnerable. Second Harvest partners with 298 faith-based and non-profit agencies to provide emergency food assistance across Coastal Georgia.

Last year, Second Harvest food bank provided more than 19.8 million meals (more than 25.5 million pounds of food) to hungry people in our area. Support from the community and collaboration with partners make it possible for us to reach many in need right here in our own community.

America’s Second Harvest of Coastal Georgia urges you to join the fight against local hunger. Hunger Hurts. You can help.

https://www.helpendhunger.org/

Training and Education

CCCAO makes every attempt to keep the information on this calendar up to date and accurate, however, events and details provided below are subject to change including cancellation and postponement. Information provided during registration assists with coordinating logistical requirements and provides contact information in order to notify registrants of any changes to the event.   Many of these classes or session are provided by outside intities.

Ethics

WHEN: 09/16/2022 -- 12:00 Noon

WHERE: Chatham County Juvenile Court (197 Carl Griffin Drive, Savannah, GA 31405)

The State Bar of Georgia’s Office of the General Counsel investigates and prosecutes alleged rules of ethics violations. The rules are contained in Part IV, Chapter 1 of the Bar Rules, which is part of the Georgia State Bar Handbook. In this course we will brief ethical concerns, how to avoid them and how they are prosecuted. Our guest presenter will be Paula Frederick, General Counsel at The State Bar of Georgia.

 


Register For This Event At: Ethics

Drug Testing in Child Welfare Cases: Labs, Laws, and Litigation

WHEN: 08/10/2022 -- 1-4:00PM

WHERE: Chatham County Juvenile Court (197 Carl Griffin Drive, Savannah, Ga 31405)

 

Drug tests inform important decisions in dependency courts from removal to termination of rights, but for test results to be truly useful, they must be understood, admitted into evidence and weighed appropriately. This session will educate participants in the science of drug testing, evidentiary rules that affect the admissibility of results, and the trial skills necessary for effective presentation and argument to the court.

Guest presenters will be Mrs. Diana Rugh Johnson , Director of Court Improvement Program and Office of the Child Advocate Director, Mr. Jerry Bruce.


Register For This Event At: Drug Testing in Child Welfare Cases: Labs, Laws, and Litigation

Cultural Competency (Presented by Deborah Burrus, State Adoption Director for the State of Georgia)

WHEN: 07/15/2022 -- 12:00 Noon

WHERE: Chatham County Juvenile Court (197 Carl Griffin Drive, Savannah, GA 31405)

Insight on the disparities of black children in foster care & how outcomes can be changed to better serve the underserved & over surveilled.

 

 

To view a recording of the presentation please click the link below: 

https://us02web.zoom.us/rec/share/6XfagkCLcFxL3VJBZsgJ9Bv3IUGZulR4knBZm06lJ_2NwlTp-Y_c580K4rhLVMDS.hdHE3IISWMeBTDtC

Passcode: W5!$JhFT


Register For This Event At: Cultural Competency (Presented by Deborah Burrus, State Adoption Director for the State of Georgia)

Recovery Place Programs

WHEN: 07/08/2022 -- 2:00 PM

WHERE: Chatham County Juvenile Court, 197 Carl Griffin Drive, Savannah, GA 31405

For over three decades, Recovery Place has been providing Savannah, Georgia area residents with the treatemnt they need to overcome their substance and behavioral health disorders. Their commitment to helping their clients change their lives and gain the confidence they need to succeed through a strengths based approach led by a fully licensed and compassionate staff. 

 

 


Register For This Event At: Recovery Place Programs

The Community Resiliency Model (CRM)® presented by Vira Salzburn

WHEN: 06/17/2022 -- 12 PM

WHERE: Chatham Count Juvenile Court (197 Carl Griffin Drive Sav, GA 31405)

CRM workshops introduce participants to six wellness skills. CRM Workshops help create “trauma-informed” and “resiliency-informed” individuals and communities that share a common understanding of the impact of trauma and chronic stress on the nervous system and how resiliency can be restored or increased using this skills-based approach.

To view a recording of the presentation please click the link below: 

https://us02web.zoom.us/rec/share/lSk2CoU9ahjwIrO9MUXBKQeR-PKvjSbOEHrR0WZJXX01oWC2K-u9FXNEP_08EWE8.yOPvGy4o6l5zQZYM

Passcode: V13=xu=T


Register For This Event At: The Community Resiliency Model (CRM)® presented by Vira Salzburn

Frequently Asked Questions

Team

Our multi-disciplinary team includes three attorneys, as well as our legal secretary, unit specialist and social worker.

Kathleen Davis, JD, CWLS

Chief Assistant and Child Advocate Attorney

Our team is led by attorney Kathleen Davis. Mrs. Davis is Certified as a Child Welfare Law Specialist by the National Association of Counsel for Children. She has spent more than 7 years working in Child Welfare, and more than 20 years practicing law. She is a 2001 graduate of Indiana University School of Law - Indianapolis.

Wendellyn S. Wright, JD, MA, NCC

Child Advocate Attorney

Wendellyn Wright has over 20 years of experience working in defense litigation and prosecution for both the military and civilian sectors. She is a Major in the United States Army Reserve in the Judge Advocate Corps. Mrs. Wright holds a Master's Degree in Clinical Mental Health, in addition to her Juris Doctor.

B. Michelle LaFontaine, JD, LMSW

Child Advocate Attorney

Michelle LaFontaine is a 2021 graduate of Mercer School of Law. Prior to entering law school, Ms. LaFontaine worked as a licensed social worker in varied communities throughout the southeast. Her work supported trafficking victims, foster families and more. Ms. LaFontaine holds her MSW from University of Georgia (2012).

Contact

Please do not use this for emergency or time critical communications.



Our Address

197 Carl Griffin Dr. Office 246
Savannah, GA 31405

Call Us

tel: (912) 652-3030
fax: (912) 652-6927


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