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.

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Georgia Hope, Inc. Foster Care Goals

  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.

Requirements to Become a Foster Parent or Respite Care Provider

Foster 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
  • 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

Foster Parent applicantS can:

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

BENEFITS

  • Financial Assistance
  • Medicaid for children
  • Ongoing training and support
  • Opportunity to give back
  • Respite care
  • Therapeutic, support and wrap-around services
  • Adoption opportunities


Steps to Become a Foster Parent 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 Foster Parents. The following is what to expect should you pursue foster care with our agency:

Step 1: Orientation

The first step to becoming a foster 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 foster parent applicants certification sessions called IMPACT. During IMPACT, prospective foster 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 foster or respite parent, all applicants are required to maintain 25 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.