April, 2017 Newsletter
AFPAG Selected to Receive
NACAC Parent Group of the Year
We are honored to have received this award. This just shows what hard work and dedication can do!
A Letter from the President
President of Adoptive and Foster Parent Association of Georgia
We are the Adoptive and Foster Parent Association of Georgia. We are made up of foster and adoptive parents, DFCS Staff and other concerned citizens who want to make a difference in the lives of children.
In 1973 we joined forces and formed a non-profit association. The association is governed by a Board of Directors. The Board consists of the executive officials, representatives in each region according to how the state is divided, a state office consultant, and standing committee chair persons. The regional vice presidents are vital connections between the local and state associations. Each year we hold four board meetings, many committee meetings, and one statewide business meeting/training conference. Goals are clearly defined and pursued.
WHY do we work so hard to make out association effective?
Because we are! We know that by working together, we will have a better foster care system. We are proud of what we have already accomplished to help improve the foster care system. We have some wants that we would like to make known:
- We need more respite days (more breaks)
- We want to improve the morale of the caseworkers. We want them to have more manageable caseloads and better pay.
- We want to be able to provide training to our foster parents.
- We want to make recommendations for procedure changes. We want to share ways that we have found most helpful.
- We want to encourage each other during the good and the bad times.
- We want to be team members. We want to be viewed by the DFCS and the community as valuable team members. We have joined together to make our wants a reality. Together we can and will accomplish this.
WHAT have we accomplished since our formation in 1973?
We are still a vital association. We have remained alive and growing. Progress has been slow but steady. We put together a very successful statewide annual conference, numerous regional conferences, and have earned respect for the Department of Family and Children Services. We have indicated many changes. We have improved the grievance procedure, and the training requirements. We have got state reimbursement for funeral expenses for foster children. We asked for all foster homes to have working smoke detectors. We have received more clothing allowance. We now have a clear policy regarding the removal of a child from a foster home, including notification. We initialed efforts to develop a support system for foster parents during CPS investigations and helped the policy. We have assisted in planning and recruitment efforts, and in helping foster parents understand the Foster Parent Bill of Rights. Form 439, which is the information sheet you receive when a child comes to you, was designed by us and required to be given to you. We have made sure foster parents are considered as adoptive parents for children who are bonded to them. We have an annual scholarship fund for children in foster care known as the Winnie Livingston Scholarship. We manage the selection of the Foster Parents of the Year, Association of the Year, and Caseworker of the Year. We solicit support from community groups and individuals and recognize their contribution. We have worked with our legislation to promote positive change in the foster care system. We have made a difference.
We operate based on the terms of our Constitution and Articles of Incorporation. When issues come to our attention, actions both formally and informally are taken. Our state is divided into 14 regions. Each region has a regional vice president. The AFPAG Board subsequently conceders all issues that are brought to our attention. We support one another.
WHERE are we going?
We will continue to work towards achieving our goals. Our goals are: funding for additional case managers, improving the usage of foster and adoptive parents, uniform and simplified expense verification, reasonable clothing allowance, and a board to commensurate foster parent skill and training. We want to form a real partnership with local and state DFCS staff. We want a more active role in preserving the birth family such as helping them learn to provide the best care for their children. We want to encourage earlier and stronger efforts to determine the ability and inability of birth families to care for their children. If the potential is low, then to expedite the process of terminating parental rights. We want earlier permanency for children. We want substandard foster homes closed. We want abuse in foster homes eliminated. We want the information and tools needed to help these children and birth parents succeed. We want the opportunity for advanced education for our foster children. We want to provide the therapeutic and nurturing homes needed to help foster children feel better about themselves and keep and develop coping skills to succeed.