South Georgia needs foster parents -, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

South Georgia needs foster parents

November 1, 2002

Statenville - For the past year, Kathy Hendley and her husband have been the only foster parents in Echols County.

"Being a foster parent is a wonderful feeling," said Hendley. "When our foster child wakes up in the morning and looks at us, it's a ray of sunshine in our day."

Foster parenting rates are at a crisis point all over South Georgia, and the number of children needing these safe havens is increasing.

"There's always going to be abusive and neglective parents in the world, so we're always going to need transitioning families to help the children," said Jody Allen, Echols County Department of Family and Children Services.

But things are looking a little brighter here in Statenville. Nick and Jennifer Long, along with four other families, just completed foster parent training and are eagerly awaiting the arrival of their foster children.

"We can't have children of our own, so this is our way of having children in our home and experiencing the joy they bring," said Long.

But there's still a big problem. DFACS caseworkers in Echols county say they have a particular need for families to house Spanish children.

"We have a lot of migrant workers here and their children have been neglected, so we need someone who can help with their language and transitioning," said Allen.

And this weekend, they hope to find those people capable of helping the Spanish children.

"We're going to have a Spanish recruitment activity to help educate the community on foster parenting and hopefully, get some more volunteers," said Allen.

Although DFAC's number one goal is to rectify a neglect or abuse situation and place the children back with their parents, providing them with a safe and stable transition in a foster home is a crucial part of the healing process.

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