Foster care families desperately needed in Georgia

Foster care families desperately needed in Georgia
Published: May. 9, 2023 at 7:52 AM EDT|Updated: May. 9, 2023 at 8:02 AM EDT
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ATLANTA, Ga. (Atlanta News First) - There is a critical need for foster families in Georgia. Currently, the state has more than 11,000 children in foster care, according to the Georgia Department of Human Services.

To mark National Foster Care Month, an Alpharetta-based foster care and adoption agency is calling on churches and others to step up and open their homes to children in need.

“If you can love a child. If you can create some safety, stability, and belonging for that child while they’re in a situation when they’re away from their family, you can have a huge impact,” said Bob Bruder-Mattson, President and CEO of Faith Bridge.

Kids with special needs and siblings are especially vulnerable. Bruder-Mattson says they’re the hardest to place, but the Suiter family of Henry County felt compelled to step up and grow their family.

“There’s heartbreak in it. You have to be willing to put yourself out there. But it’s not about you if you’re doing it, it’s about the kids,” said Josh Suiter.

Josh and his wife started off as fosters, but they eventually adopted two kids, siblings. One of them has special needs. The Suiters, who have two biological children, say being a foster parent isn’t for everyone. At first, even they questioned whether they’d be good foster parents.

“My wife and I both work, we have kids, we’re busy, everybody can come up with those. You never know the reasons to say yes, until you do. The impact you have goes so much farther than just a kid you’re bringing into your home and their families, and stuff like that. So, there’s a lot of reasons to say yes that you have no idea, and they far outweigh those reasons you say no,” said Suiter.

You can also get a sense of the need for foster families in your neighborhood by visiting the See the Need website and app by clicking here. Bruder-Mattson with Faith Bridge says the state is forced to find alternative housing for children when they can’t find foster families.

“We have calls for special needs children and we get these calls, and we look for families. But if we don’t have a place for that child, there’s a good likelihood that they are going to go to a hotel,” said Bob Bruder-Mattson of Faith Bridge.

It is not difficult to become a foster parent, but you must complete some training courses and pass a background check. To learn more about foster care services in Georgia, you can visit the Georgia Department of Human Services Foster Care website here.

And Faith Bridge provides useful information about foster care services and adoption on its website here.