I was raised in a foster home. Although I was not a foster child myself, I witnessed the love and care my mother and step-father gave to foster children. These children needed a home, not the group homes that were often overflowing and rife with subpar conditions. My family would take
in up to eight children at a time in our three bedroom home, to prevent them from having to live in said group homes. This has inspired the following platform on Adoption and Foster Care.
1) Having been witness to case after case after case of children being in the wrong private homes, and in many cases having been neglected by state workers, I have an insight into what we could do to remedy the situation.
If elected, I want to ensure all private facilities adhere to a strict set of guidelines when dealing with childcare and their environmental conditions. These are the children that need our time and care the most, yet they are often the most overlooked. We have to give the time and legislation that ensures these children are able to live safely.
2) A huge part of the budget for the Department of Family and Children Services has experienced cuts since 2009. This has led to several case managers being cut from their jobs and the workload increasing for those still working for the DHS. These cutbacks mean less time to recruit foster parents, which leaves more children in the system. This also means an overload of cases to follow up on for workers. A shortage of safety visits could literally cost a child’s life.
My goal, if elected, will be to provide proper funding for departments like the Department of Family and Children Services to ensure that our foster children and the workers that are responsible for them are taken care of by the system built to support them.
3) Within the last decade we’ve seen an increase of children in need of permanent homes, but a decrease in homes that can be provided for foster children. Too many children have aged out of the foster homes without finding a permanent home. This, at times, leads to a myriad of personal problems due to the lack of resources and emotional connection for these foster children.
If elected, I will use my voice and platform to promote the adoption of the over 12,000 children currently in the Georgia foster care system. My family was one of the rare ones who decided to make the choice to adopt. I understand the selflessness and dedication it takes to make that choice. But with so many people adopting out of state and even out of country, we need to take a long hard look at the process of adoption in our state to bring more children into safe and loving home.