Are you looking to foster a child in the state of Georgia? If so, you are preparing to beautifully provide for one of God’s most precious gifts: our children. Foster care in GA and all around the world gives a true meaning to the phrase, “it takes a village.” This article written by Caroline Bailey, “7 Reasons You Should Become a Foster Parent,” provides awesome reasons to become a foster parent. Below are the reasons she writes about.

- Foster care really is a mission field.

- It takes a lot of active players to help children who have experienced abuse or neglect.

- Foster parenting changes generations.

- The lessons learned through foster parenting translate to different situations throughout life.

- There are not enough homes for older children and sibling groups.

- Far too many children grow up in a setting that does not resemble a family.

- The children need you.

Those are very powerful reasons to become a foster parent. In the beginning of her article, she talks about the high need for foster families. According to the data collected on the Adoption and Foster Care Analysis and Reporting System Report (AFCARS), she is proven correct. In 2017, the number of children in the foster care system in the United States reached 442,995. That number has risen every year since 2013. This means that the need for foster families for all these children will also continue to rise. Take a further look at these AFCARS reports.

Specifically for foster care in GA, there are 14,400 children in foster care as of June 2018. More than 2,000 of these children desire a permanent home and a forever family to call their own. These children desire love and stability. Some of these children’s parents voluntarily gave their children to the foster system, and some of these children have been removed from their homes and families due to neglect or abuse. These children need our help. Here is some more demographic information for Georgia foster children. For foster care in GA, the Division of Family and Children Services provides a great resource for information you will need to know.

This Georgia DFCS resource provides the minimum criteria for someone who wants to provide for children in foster care in GA. These basic standards include (but are not limited to) the following criteria:

1. Must be at least ten years older than the child to be placed, and if single, you must be at least 25 years of age.

2. Must complete a two-hour orientation in the local county office or via the Internet.

3. Must successfully complete preservice IMPACT Family Centered Practice training.

4. Must complete a medical exam, fingerprint checks, as well as undergo both child welfare and criminal records checks/screenings. If you or any other adult household members (over age 18) have not been a resident of Georgia for a minimum of five years, you must be screened in the Child Abuse and Neglect registry of each state of prior residence.

5. Must provide proof of current residence and financial stability.

Most importantly, and before the basic requirements for foster care in GA, the first thing you need to do in order to become a foster parent is the heart made for fostering. The DFCS specifically states in their requirements that “The desire and open heart to support children and families are among the most important criteria for becoming a Foster or Adoptive Resource Parents.” You must really want to become a foster parent. You must really want to help children. You must really want to help families. You must have an open heart for such an important role in society.  You must be prepared and informed.

One requirement needed in order to foster in the state of Georgia is an assessment. In addition to an assessment, a prospective foster parent needs to meet certain requirements. The requirements they have listed I’ve also listed below:

- If single, at least 25 years of age and at least ten years older than the child

- If married, you must be at least ten years older than the child

- Criminal records check

- Home safety checks

- Medical examination

- References

- Drug screen

- Georgia driver’s license if in GA (a requirement for foster parents only)

- Completion of a two-hour information session

- Completion of 24-hour preservice training

- Completion of a home evaluation

The state of Georgia also requires prospective foster families to go through training called IMPACT. IMPACT is an acronym for Initial Interest, Mutual Selection, PreService Training, Assessment, Continuing Development, and Teamwork. This training will provide loads of information that will highly enhance your skills and development as a foster parent. More information on this IMPACT training can be found on their website.

I’d like to share with you a couple of articles that will provide a deeper insight into fostering children. The importance of educating yourself and joining a supportive community is huge. It will change everything about your journey to foster care in GA. No matter what decisions you make in life, it’s best to have support and resources for guidance. For example, take a look at the articles listed below. These articles offer loads of information regarding fostering children. The authors give you inside detail into what a foster parent can actually expect and may experience while providing a stable and loving environment for foster children. These articles also provide great emotional detail into fostering that will help you on your journey.

The Realities of Foster Care and Foster Adoption

In this article, Rachel Skousen gives an honest account on several strong points and hardships to consider while fostering. She also provides heartfelt insight into all of its benefits. The eight points she writes about are listed below:

  1. The kids won’t always be grateful

  2. You’ll need preparation

  3. It’s harder than you realize

  4. It can be heartbreaking

  5. It will impact your family

  6. It’s a big time commitment, and there will be social workers in and out of your home

  7. You’ll need a good support network

  8. You won’t be stuck in a bad situation

  9. It’s worth it

Newbie Foster Care Questions: How Often do Kids Have Visits With Their Birth Families?

In this article, Shannon Hicks goes into detail about birth family interaction while fostering children. She talks about the highs and the lows regarding biological family visits and what can be expected. This is a great resource if you are wondering what family interaction will be like while being a foster parent.

Adopting from Foster Care Guide

This slideshow written by Rachel Skousen gives a heartfelt account of fostering children and the basic steps to walk through on your journey to adopting through foster care. If you are looking to adopt from foster care in GA, read the steps she lists and writes about which I’ve listed below. She also provides additional links and resources in each subject she writes about. Overall, this resource provides a hopeful outlook on the overall picture and possibilities of fostering.

  1. Decide on foster adoption

  2. Finances

  3. Adopting a child with special needs

  4. Be prepared. Get educated

  5. Attend an orientation meeting

  6. Submit your application

  7. Complete pre-adoption classes

  8. Complete a home study

  9. Private or public agency

  10. Review your home study

  11. Consider hiring an attorney

  12. Wait

  13. Photolistings

  14. Read

  15. Talk with other foster and adoptive parents

  16. Scrapbooks

  17. Prepare your home

  18. It’s a match!

  19. Review the child’s profile

  20. Legal risk placements

  21. It’s okay to say “no”

  22. A word about the ICPC

  23. Placement

  24. Your first year together

  25. Make a lifebook

  26. File a petition to adopt

  27. Finalization

  28. Finalization paperwork

A writer named Tonia Christle once wrote, “You might be temporary in their lives. They might be temporary in yours. But there is nothing temporary about the love or the lesson.” I believe this quote provides an amazing perspective into fostering children and the impact it has on everyone involved. If you are looking to become a foster parent for children who are in foster care in GA, I wish you the best of luck on this amazing decision that you’ve made. You have a special heart to make such an incredible difference in the lives of our children. You will drastically change the world, one child at a time!

For even further information, visit Adoption.com’s “Becoming a Foster Parent Guide.” Here, you will find the basic steps that you can take to get started.

Visit Adoption.com’s photolisting page for children who are ready and waiting to find their forever families. For adoptive parents, please visit our Parent Profiles page where you can create an incredible adoption profile and connect directly with potential birth parents.