The Department of Human Services (DHS), Division of Family and Children Services (DFCS) is responsible for overseeing foster care in Georgia. The goal of the foster care system is to assure that children are safe from abuse and neglect. Children are placed in Georgia foster care when DFCS determines it is not safe for them to remain in the home of their caregivers. Foster care is intended to provide a child with a temporary home while the agency works with the child’s family to eliminate or minimize the safety issues that caused the child to be placed in foster care.
The goal of foster care, then, is to reunite children with their biological families, and that is the outcome for most children in the foster system. However, foster care adoption in Georgia is possible in some cases.
There are times when foster children will not be able to be placed back with their birth families. In this case, potential adoptive parents can choose a foster care adoption in Georgia. A foster care adoption can be facilitated by certain agencies like the Division of Family and Children Services in Georgia. You can receive further information through an information session. Find a time and location convenient for you in Georgia here.
Also, you can contact one of the private adoption agencies that the Georgia Department of Human Services has contracted with for the purpose of providing adoption services for children in foster care.
A Georgia adoption from foster care is different from a private adoption. In a private adoption, potential adoptive families can connect with potential birth parents to find the best fit for them. However, in a foster care adoption, potential adoptive parents may choose to adopt a waiting child or foster to adopt. Foster care vs adoption means that potential adoptive parents will be taking on a child who was removed from their home involuntary instead of raising a child who was voluntarily placed.
To become a foster parent in Georgia, the following requirements must be met to begin the process of fostering to adopt through the Division of Family and Children Services:
Must be at least 10 years older than the child to be placed and if single, be at least 25 years of age
Must complete a two-hour orientation in the local county office or via the internet
Must successfully complete pre-service IMPACT Family Centered Practice training
Must complete a medical exam, finger print checks, and 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
Must provide proof of current residence and financial stability
There are many resources in Georgia in the form of an adoption subsidy to provide financial and other forms of support to families who choose to complete a foster adoption. You can find a comprehensive list of the services available through the Division of Family and Children Services here.
Adoption Assistance is available for children in foster care who have special needs. This assistance is offered for children who meet the following criteria:
A child who has been in the care of a public or private agency or individual other than the legal or biological parent for more than 24 consecutive months
A child with physical, mental or emotional disability, as validated by a licensed physician or psychologist
A child who is a member of a sibling group of two or more placed in the same home for adoption
This assistance must be applied for and is in place to ensure that children in foster care do not remain in care for long durations of time.
There are different types of adoption assistance available to families who adopt foster children. Some monthly adoption assistance benefits are:
Ongoing monthly payments: Monthly payments to the adoptive parent(s), not to exceed the amount the child received in a family foster home placement; or not to exceed the amount the child would have received if he/she were in a family foster home placement.
Medicaid/Amerigroup coverage: Medical coverage, which continues to be provided if the child is placed for adoption in another state or moves with the adoptive family to another state.
Non-recurring funds: One-time payment of fees related to adoption, not to exceed $1,500 per child. Such payments may assist in covering legal fees, court costs, and other one-time adoption-related expenses which are not in conflict with state or federal law. Non-recurring funds are approved automatically when Monthly Adoption Assistance has been approved.
The adoption photolisting is a great way to learn about the foster children for adoption in Georgia. The Georgia Department of Human Services has a photolisting website that allows for potential adoptive families to browse through the children in foster care who are looking for forever homes.
If you are interested in adopting a child featured on the photolisting site, please call 1-800-603-1322. For general information about becoming a foster and/or adoptive parent with the state of Georgia, please call 1-877-210-KIDS.
Do you have further questions about becoming a foster parent in Georgia? Are you ready to start the process for adoption through foster care? Is it time to look at foster care vs adoption? If so, please contact Georgia’s Division of Family and Children Services at 1-877-210-KIDS today.
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