ALBANY, GA (WALB) - More than 100 people showed up to learn more about improvements the Georgia Division of Family and Children Services is making to protect kids.
According to City-data.com, almost 43 percent of children in Albany live in poverty. The chair of the Governor's Child Welfare Reform Council says that's the source of many problems.
"The outcomes for children in this area are a little worse than in other parts of the state," said Stephanie Blank.
But Blank says turnouts to meetings like these are the silver lining.
"What we have seen is that this community is very engaged and wants to change this outcome so we feel very optimistic about the work being done here."
DFCS director Bobby Cagle is working to improve how his agency interacts with families. He's also increasing staffing and community engagement. He says tonight's good crowd is a good start.
"It's all about talking to them about the concerns that they have," said Cagle. "And helping them understand the process that we're going through to improve."
Throughout the meeting there was also a call to action. Cagle said the process to take in a foster child only takes 3-6 months, and the effects can last a lifetime.
"If you could step forward and foster," said Cagle. "It would be a tremendous help not just to the department, but to the life of a child."
As a baby, Cagle was adopted through the child welfare system and is well-aware of the benefits of a stable family.
"I am very committed to making sure kids have the same kind of really good family to love and care for them and provide them with the discipline that I needed as I grew up."