Foster Care Information
First Steps Toward Fostering
Are you considering becoming a foster parent? You may wonder where to begin. The content below provides some first steps and introductory information.
Understanding Adoption & Foster Care
- Part 1: Understanding Adoption and Foster Care
- Part 2: How Does a Child in Foster Care Become Eligible for Adoption?
- Part 3: How Do You Become A Foster Parent?
- Part 4: Should I Adopt Through Foster Care or a Private Agency?
Partnership Parenting & Caregivers
Foster Parents are often referred to as Partnership Parents. Partnership Parenting is a shared parenting model between caregivers and birth parents. The goal of partnership parenting is to keep birth parents connected and involved with parenting their children, while their children are in out-of-home placements. "Caregiver” is used to collectively refer to all Resource Parent types, including those who serve through Child Placing Agencies (CPA’s). You and your family should collectively decide which caregiving role is the most suitable for you.
Caregiver Types (Defined by GA DFCS)
Partnership Parents (PPs) are Resource Parents who provide temporary homes for children in foster care. They are expected to work in partnership with birth families and act as parenting mentors whenever possible. PPs share parenting responsibilities with birth parents through “parenting opportunities.” Parenting opportunities are any favorable times, occasions, situations, or conditions that allow a parent to safely teach, support, nurture, discipline, care for, or guide children.
Relative Partnership Parents
Relative Partnership Parents (RPPs) are Resource Parents related by blood, marriage, or adoption to children placed in their home. They provide temporary homes for their relative’s children who are in foster care. They may also serve non-relative children. RPPs follow the same approval process as regular PPs and have all the benefits and responsibilities associated with being a PP, including full foster care per diem reimbursement. RPPs have the same expectations as PPs.
Adoptive Parents are “forever families” who make a lifelong commitment to a child. They serve children whose birth parents’ parental rights have been voluntarily surrendered or terminated by a court, thus making the children legally free for adoption. Adoptive Parents may also be relatives in which case they are called Relative Adoptive Parents.
Adoptive Parent-Legal Risk Parents
Adoptive Parent-Legal Risk Parents are adoptive parents who accept for placement children who are not completely legally free for adoption and thus, legal risk exists in accepting the placement.
Resource Parents (RPs) are a hybrid of a Resource Parent and an adoptive parent. They act as both a PP (temporary foster care placement) and are willing to become the adoptive parent (permanent family) for the child. Children placed with RPs have a concurrent permanency plan, meaning that two permanency goals are being pursued simultaneously. At least one of the permanency goals is adoption with the RP named as the permanency resource. RPs must be able to concurrently fulfill the roles of being a PP and an adoptive parent. A RP may also be a relative in which case they are called Relative Resource Parents.
Caregivers serving children through the Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children (ICPC) are known as ICPC-Partnership Parents, ICPC- Adoptive Parents, ICPC-Relative Partnership Parents and ICPC-Relative Adoptive Parents.
Muscogee & Harris Counties, GA
The process of becoming a licensed foster parent in the state of Georgia begins with IMPACT training — 30 hours of training led by local DFCS offices. However, before you can begin IMPACT, you will need to attend a mandatory Foster Parent Orientation session. Attending Orientation does not commit you to fostering, but it may answer many of the questions you may have. At Orientation, you will also learn when the next IMPACT training will be held.
Foster Care Orientation (Muscogee & Harris)
Information Session Webinars are held virtually the 2nd and 4th Wednesdays. Please complete the Inquiry Form and you will be contacted within 1-3 business days with a registration link. GA DFCS Inquiry Form Or, you can contact Ms. Mary Norwood at Mary.Norwood2@dhs.ga.gov
GA State Requirements*
- Must be at least 21 years of age
- Must complete a 2 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, as well as undergo both 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 5 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
**Private Agencies may require additional steps
Russell County, GA
The process of becoming a licensed foster parent in the state of Alabama begins with TIPS classes (Trauma Informed Partnering For Safety and Permanence) — TIPS classes are held for 10 consecutive weeks led by local DHS offices. However, before you can begin TIPS, you will need to attend a mandatory Foster Parent Orientation session. Attending Orientation does not commit you to fostering, but it may answer many of the questions you may have. At Orientation, you will also learn when the next TIPS classes will be held. Russell County usually schedules 3 TIPS classes a year.
Foster Care Orientation (Russell)
Information Session Webinars are held two weeks before the scheduled TIPS training. If a person resides in Russell County they can contact Ms. Tensie Lockhart at firstname.lastname@example.org. For residents in any other county in Alabama you may contact email@example.com.
AL state requirements*
- Age 19 and older
- Criminal background checks for all household members 19 or older
- Clearance of State Central Registry on Child Abuse/Neglect for all household members 14 or older
- Family Stability
- Statement from physician stating physically able to care for children
- Character references
- Regular source of income that meets family financial needs
- Successful completion of a home safety inspection
- Preparation training with home study/family assessment
- CPR for adults; infant/children First Aid
- If married, must be married at least one (1) year
**Private Agencies may require additional steps
Local Placement and Adoption Agencies
QUESTIONS? Email Christal Gavin at firstname.lastname@example.org.