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Foster care training process frustrates some
Lengthy orientation, classes delays some from taking on children
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Classes and orientation

Orientation: Wednesday, 7-8 p.m.; Dec. 17, 7-8 p.m.

IMPACT Classes: Jan. 9-11, time to be determined

Where: The Little House, 603 Washington St., Gainesville, 30501

For more information: Homes for Georgia’s Kids inquiry line, 1-877-210-5437

With hundreds of children needing foster care homes in North Georgia, Sara Griffith of Murrayville decided she wanted to be part of the solution.

“We wanted to open our home to a child or children, sibling group, and we were excited about that, and then we hit this system and this process with all this red tape,” she said.

The Griffiths are attempting to finish what they’ve worked on for more than a year: Division of Family and Children Services IMPACT training.

IMPACT stands for Initial Interest, Mutual Selection, Pre-Service Training, Assessment, Continuing Development and Teamwork, and involves 20 hours of training before becoming a foster care parent. Prospective foster care parents must first attend a two-hour orientation before being considered for the classes.

Griffith has been trying to finish the final hours of the course after taking her first two Saturday classes in Lumpkin County. She said after about nine months into the process to become a foster care parent, she was able to take her first classes.

“It’s just been ridiculous the process how it takes so long,” Griffith said. “Over a year and we’re still at square one trying to take this class that we’re mandated to take. And there are other families involved in trying to take this class.”

Griffith has looked at taking classes in either Lumpkin or Hall County to try and meet the requirement for final approval as a foster parent. She has passed the other medical testing and drug testing, she said.

This year, 578 homes received their first approval to be foster care parents, said Georgia Department of Human Services Legislative Affairs and Communications deputy director Ravae Graham.

Holly Campolong, Hall and Dawson County DFCS Director, announced that an orientation for prospective foster care parents will be held this month, with classes to begin in January.

The two orientation sessions are both from 7-8 p.m. Wednesday and Dec. 17 at The Little House at 603 Washington St. in Gainesville.

The classes will take place from Jan. 9-11 at The Little House. Exact times were not yet available.

Attempts to reach Campolong for further comment were unsuccessful.

The Times obtained IMPACT class information for 10 of the 15 DFCS regions. Four of the 10 were not currently offering IMPACT classes, but classes are slated for January.

Information for Region 2, which includes Hall County, was not available.

For those having trouble navigating through the system, Graham suggested parents call the Homes for Georgia’s Kids inquiry line, as well as the brochures that can be found on the DFCS web site.

“Our most important resource to help people navigate are our resource development staff which aid in the recruitment of foster parents,” Graham wrote in an email.

To contact Homes for Georgia’s Kids, the number is 1-877-210-5437. More information on IMPACT classes are available here.

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