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For free trainings & workshops for Foster Parents, visit the Georgia Center for Resources and Support Page to access the schedule.

MAY is NATIONAL FOSTER CARE MONTH!

Foster Care

Families First is committed to providing safe and temporary homes for children in Georgia's foster care system. Our staff provides foster families with the additional resources they need to be successful including: free training, support services and 24-hour access to our Case Specialists.

Click here to download and application to become a foster parent today!

Download our brochure today!

Services and programs

Permanency Cooperatives (Group Homes)

Placement to Permanency

Youth Independent Living Program

Transitional Living Program

About Foster Care

What is Foster Care?

Mission of the Families First Foster Care Program

Foster Care Goals

Greatest Need

Why Foster a Teen or Sibling Group?

What are the Requirements to Become a Partnership, Resource, or Respite Care Provider?

What are the Steps to Become a Partnership, Resource, or Respite Care Provider?

Benefits of Becoming a Partnership, Resource, or Respite Care Provider through Families First


What is Foster Care?

Foster care is a partnership that provides safe and nurturing homes to children whose families are experiencing difficulties so severe that the children are removed from their homes. Foster care ensures the physical and emotional safety of the child. The primary goal of foster care is to reunify families.

There are more than 400,000 children in foster care in the United States. In Georgia, there are more than 7,000 children in foster care at any given time. Unfortunately, there are not enough homes to place these children.


Mission of the Families First Foster Care Program

The mission of the Families First Foster Care program is to strengthen families, protect children from further abuse and neglect, and to ensure that every child has a permanent family.


Foster Care Goals

The ultimate goal of the Families First Foster Care program is to:

  1.  Provide a safe, stable and nurturing home environment to a youth until they can safely achieve a positive permanency outcome through:
    • Reunification with birth family
    • Guardianship
    • Relative placement/fictive kin
    • Adoption
  2. To decrease the number of disruptions in a youth's life by:
    • Providing temporary stable homes
    • Continuum of quality services
    • Developing long-lasting and meaningful relationships with a caring adult
  3. Protect youth from further abuse and neglect.

Greatest Need

As of March 31, 2011, in Georgia there are approximately 7,125 children in foster care. Because of Georgia's focus on reunification and relative placements for younger children, the greatest need is for foster parents to become open to foster:

  • older youth/teens (ages 10-17)
  • sibling groups of two (2) or more

Different ways to support youth in foster care

Become a Partnership Parent - Traditionally known as foster parents, partnership parents provide care, shelter and guidance to children placed in the state's custody. They work in partnership with the state and the child's parents as their family works toward reunification.

Become a Resource Parent - Resource Parents are a special category of Partnership Parents. They make a dual commitment to support the biological parents' effort to reunite their family and agree to adopt if the reunification efforts fail.

Become a Respite Parent - Respite Care Providers play a significant role in supporting our families and children. Respite providers administer a temporary, short term break, and support to families and children in our foster care program. Respite Care can be a for a few hours, a few days, or a weekend.

See Requirements


Why Foster a Sibling Group?

Benefits of siblings living together

  1. Shared Support - Having a sibling in the same home helps children transition more smoothly into the foster family.
  2. Shared Understanding - Siblings are a natural support system. They understand first hand each others losses.
  3. Familiarity - Living with their sibling means that children do not have to experience the loss of the entire family.

 


Requirements to Become a Partnership, Resource or Respire Care Provider

Partnership Parents must:

 

  • Be 25 years or older
  • Be a U.S. Citizen or have a declared citizenship status (i.e. green card)
  • Have reliable transportation and a valid driver's license
  • Be able to verify annual income
  • Have appropriate living environment for children
  • Are able to accept teenagers and/or sibling groups of tow (2) or more or maybe a teen mother and child
  • Have satisfactory criminal record checks
  • Have no criminal charges against children
  • Complete medical and drug screening 
  • Have commitment to make a difference in the life of a child

Partnership Parent applicant can:

  • Be single, male or female, married, divorced or widowed
  • Rent or own an apartment or home

Steps to Become a Partnership, Resource, or Respite Care Provider

In compliance with Georgia’s state regulations, all prospective partnership parents must complete our foster care parent application and IMPACT training, a 20-hour certification process to become certified Partnership Parents. The following is what to expect should you pursue foster care with our agency:

Step 1: Orientation

The first step to becoming a partnership parent, resource parent, or respite care provider is to attend a mandatory group orientation session where prospective applicants can learn about the foster care program and how to become a foster parent. The foster care staff will be available to answer any questions and to help you understand the foster care process and assist you with completing the application.  

Step 2: IMPACT Training

Families First offers prospective partnership parent applicants certification sessions called IMPACT. During IMPACT, prospective partnership parents will participate in a 20-hour mandatory preparation program. IMPACT helps prepare applicants to learn about the foster care system, resources to help meet the need of children in care, child development, working in partnership with biological parents and the impact foster care will have on their lives and the lives of their family. During the third session, a foster care worker will schedule a meeting with the applicants. Once approved as a partnership, resource, or respite parent, all applicants are required to maintain 15 training hours per year.

Step 3: Home Study

After completion of IMPACT training and satisfactory criminal background checks, a written home study of the prospective applicant's strengths and needs is prepared. The home study is utilized to match families with children in the foster care system.


Benefits of Becoming a Partnership, Resource or Respite Care Provider with Families First

  • Highly qualified social workers
  • Free CPR and first aid training
  • Free training hours to meet annual requirements
  • Free annual SAM's membership card
  • 24/7 support services/crisis intervention
  • Five (5) day paid respite care
  • Access to the foster parent resource library
  • Monthly reimbursement

Permanency Cooperatives

We've traded the concept of "group homes", laden with negative imagery, for the more positive philosophy of a cooperative, where agency, community, family and state come together to ensure that community involvement is an integral part of the cooperative experience for our youth, and that those supports will continue after they leave our care.  Families First has four Permanency Cooperatives located in Metro Atlanta that offer supportive care for male and female youth between the ages of 13-20. Each cooperative can serve 6-7 teens.

Placement to Permanency

The Placement to Permanency initiative seeks to empower youth in foster care to take an active role in developing lifelong familial connections that will provide them with an emotional and/or legal commitment. To accomplish this goal, Families First, in partnership with DFCS, utilizes two specific program components: Family-Finding and Kinship Navigator. Family-Finding and Kinship Navigator services assists youth in locating and connecting with family members and/or kinship relations who are able to give long-term emotional, economic and housing support. These intensive services also help permanency caregivers secure the benefits, services and supports they need to care for the youth.

Youth Independent Living Program & Transitional Living Services

The Independent Living program provides supportive services to clients transitioning out of the foster care system. Youth ages 18 to 21 years of age, live in supervised apartments while learning a variety of life skills to assist in their transition to adulthood.

 

 

 

 
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