Moultrie-- You don't have to pass a test to become a parent, but if you want to be a foster parent, you're put under the magnifying glass. Those screening procedures are getting more attention now after an Atlanta man was accused of fondling three foster teens.
Bobbie Jackson has her hands full. Six boys, one girl-- none of her own. Jackson became a foster mom, two years ago. "My oldest one is 11, I have a seven year old, set of twins five years old, two years old, one and a half and a five months old," she said.
And, get this, she's single and has two other grown children of her own. And, "I'm a sibling of ten, and my mother raised us all ten of us by herself."
Before she could become a foster mom, Colquitt County case workers visited her home, the law got her fingerprints and doctors poked her with needles to check for diseases.
"It's a little bit step up from what we are already doing," said DFCS Case Manager Loral Bates. And soon, foster parents may have to step up to psychological and HIV tests.
Jackson said, "I am terrified of needles, but you have to do all that. But whatever it takes to take care of these kids, that's what I'll do."
Whatever it takes to give something back.
And it will be a sad day when she has to give these kids back to other parents. It's not easy being a single foster mom of seven, but Jackson must be doing something right. She was named 2003-2004 Foster Parent of the Year.
Foster parents have to get STD and tuberculosis tests and go through home inspections and criminal background checks. DFCS has decided to start HIV testing but has not made a decision on psychological screenings.