If you are considering becoming a foster parent or are interested in learning more about the process to begin fostering children in Georgia, you may be surprised to know there are several options you can pursue. While foster care is the best solution for a child who must be removed temporarily from an unsafe home, it is not a one-type-fits-all service.
As a result, foster parenting is not necessarily a one-type-fits-all solution. Parents have options and different pathways they can follow when becoming a foster family.
Take a look at the following types of foster care you can provide as a foster parent in Georgia:
Traditional Foster Care
Traditional foster care is the type you probably think of when you hear the phrase “foster care.” It’s the most common foster care type available and serves children whose current home environments are dangerous or unsafe. In traditional foster care, DFACS places these kids with foster families that they likely do not know.
Traditional foster parents, also known as partnership parents, must undergo training and meet all the requirements necessary to welcome foster children into their home and begin supporting them until reunification can occur.
Foster parents and birth parents stay connected (when appropriate) to maintain the child’s bond with their birth mother or father. Plus, foster parents receive ongoing training and remain in communication with their child welfare partners to ensure they provide the best care possible to the children placed in their homes.
Resource parents and foster parents are very similar in that they undergo the same training and must meet the same requirements to become viable caregivers with the state of Georgia. However, what separates resource parents from traditional foster parents is that they are also trained to be adoptive parents and are willing to pursue adoption if reunification is not possible.
This does not mean resource parents can expect to adopt a foster child that has been placed with them; it only means adoption is on the table should events veer in that direction.
If a child whose reunification status is up in the air is placed into foster care, or if a waiting child* is placed into foster care, the state will most likely place them with a resource family over a traditional foster family.
*Waiting children are those whose biological parents have either voluntarily terminated their parental rights or have had their parental rights taken from them by the court.
Relative, Kinship, and Non-Related Kin Care
Relative foster care, or kinship care, is where a child is placed with an approved family member, such as grandparents, aunts and uncles, cousins, or even adult siblings.
Family members interested in caring for their relative must undergo the same training and meet the same requirements as traditional foster parents before they can receive the child into their home.
Non-Related Kin Care
Non-related kin care is similar to relative care in that the child is placed with a non-relative, but it is someone they know. Non-relatives can include neighbors, family friends, teachers, or anyone else who is familiar with the child and who is a safe source of stability for the child.
Just like with all the other foster care types, non-related foster parents must first meet the proper requirements and complete the training necessary to take in the child.
Because related and non-related parents must meet approval, they are also qualified to become traditional foster parents and welcome children they do not know into their homes.
Emergency Foster Care
Emergency foster care is precisely what it sounds like – foster care for emergency situations. Many times, children require placement suddenly and without much forewarning. In instances of emergency placement, foster parents tend to receive notice a few hours before the child arrives.
While traditional foster parents do not have to expect emergency placement often, almost all foster parents experience an emergency placement at some point in their foster care journey.
Specialized Foster Care
Specialized foster care is similar to traditional foster care, except the foster parent undergoes additional training so they may provide for foster children with special needs. Specialized foster care caters to children with physical or mental limitations and requires parents to learn how to give the extra care these children need. Not all foster parents undergo this specialized training, but such training is open and available to all parents interested in becoming a specialized foster parent.
Becoming a foster parent is one of the most impactful things you can do for Georgia’s foster children.
If you’re interested in learning more about the various types of foster care available to pursue as a foster parent, contact the team at Generational Child Care. Our agency will become your fostering partner, guiding you through the process of becoming a parent and remaining a reliable resource throughout your parenting journey. Discover more about becoming a foster parent in Georgia by contacting 478-477-1289 .