What It’s Like Fostering a Teen in Georgia
You couldn’t ask for a better spouse and a better house. Married life in your new home is good.
Then, you decide to have a child, and you feel even more complete. But there’s just one problem: There’s still something missing.
You feel a tug at your heart, and suddenly, you realize why you’ve felt a sense of emptiness all along: You have an opening in your heart—and in your home—that only a teen who is in foster care can fill.
The question is, what exactly does fostering a teen involve? Here’s a rundown on what it’s like to foster a teen in Georgia.
Let’s get started!
The Situation of Children Who are in Foster Care in Georgia
Georgia has about 14,000 children in foster care, which is double the number back in 2012. With the number of children entering foster care ballooning in the Peach State, now couldn’t be a better time to foster a teen.
What Requirements Must You Meet to Foster a Teen in Georgia?
Before you can foster a teen, you’ll first need to be both willing and able to open your home to a teen who needs one. The truth is, foster parents in Georgia don’t necessarily need to be rich, but they should be capable of meeting their own daily needs.
Here are some other basic requirements you must meet before deciding to foster a teen:
- Driver’s license in the state of Georgia
- Drug screening
- Medical exam
- Criminal record check
Also, a common misconception is that you have to be a married homeowner to be a foster parent. In actuality, you can foster a child whether you are married or single. Along the same lines, you can rent a home and still be a foster parent.
Note, though, that if you are married, you must be at least a decade older than your child who is in foster care. In addition, if you are single, you must be 25 years old in addition to being a decade older than your teen who is in foster care.
Information Session and Training
Attending an information session is a smart move if you’ve never gone through the foster care process. During the 2-hour session, you’ll learn about the requirements and approval process for foster parents.
After the information session, if you still want to move forward with fostering, you’ll be required to complete a pre-service training known as IMPACT, which lasts 24 hours.
During IMPACT training, you’ll learn about how the children’s and family services division in Georgia works with the birth families of teens who are in foster care. You’ll also discover your responsibilities as a foster parent. Finally, you’ll learn about how neglect and abuse affect teens.
The goal of IMPACT training is to prepare you as much as possible to move forward with fostering children and teens in your home and how such a decision may impact you long-term.
In addition to attending IMPACT Training, you’ll also have to undergo home evaluations before you can become a foster parent.
Specifically, your home study writer should make two or more home visits. During these visits, they’ll gather extra information to determine whether your home meets Georgia’s safety requirements for fostering children.
The Challenges You May Face with Teens
All children need love and acceptance from their families, but this is especially the case for teens.
The teen years are filled with confusing feelings, changes, and peer pressure. On top of this, teens are usually experiencing their first taste of responsibility and independence.
The more stable a teen’s home environment is, the more confidently they can navigate their teenage years. As a foster parent, you can be the shoulder that a teen needs to lean on emotionally during their toughest life moments.
How We Can Help with Fostering a Teen in Georgia
If you are interested in fostering a teen this year, we can help.
Unfortunately, we turn away 40 children each week due to a lack of available foster families. For this reason, we readily embrace those who are interested in stepping up to become loving foster parents.
Because we operate a faith-centered program, we strive to show the love of God to both teens who are in foster care and their families.
Get in touch with us to learn more about the process of fostering a teen in Georgia. We’ll help you to get started today to create a more fulfilling tomorrow for both you and a teenager in need.