About Foster Care Support
Foster Care Support Foundation staff and volunteers are truly
'Our Angels At Work'
What started in the founders’ garage in 1996 to help foster children in crisis resulted in a unique statewide resource for our most at risk children. The Foster Care Support Foundation, a non-profit, volunteer driven organization has implemented a program in 12 components, including the distribution of free clothes, education and play toys, safe infant-care equipment and book distribution to thousands of Georgia’s foster children that live in foster homes throughout the state. The organization grew from serving 864 children in its first year of incorporation in 2000 to serving over 33,000 children since.
Over half of Georgia’s foster children are being cared for in private foster homes that receive between $15.04 and $19.36 per day. Some of these are in relative homes receiving much less or nothing to care for their relatives' child/ren. This small clothing reimbursement is expected to cover the cost but does not begin to touch the many things a normal and healthy child has a need for, let alone one that has been in crisis and comes to the foster home with nothing but the clothing on his or her back. The basic care and regular foster home per diem that is paid to a foster home, $15 to $19 per day, where we believe a child can flourish and heal from his ordeal, barely covers food, but is meant to supply clothes, bedding, toiletries, and any infant equipment such as cribs, hi chairs, strollers, bottles and other things that are needed to safely and lovingly care for and raise the foster child. Developmental toys, first aid supplies, books, plus any extracurricular activities that a child may and should want to do is not covered and will come from the foster parents own finances. Approximately 30% of the cost of raising each foster child will undoubtedly come from the foster parents’ our finances.
Finally, foster children have a resource where they can receive help so that they may not be identified in a crowd by their shabby appearance as “foster children”. Our goal is to reach all invisible foster children in foster homes and relative care homes throughout our Georgia communities.
Because of the high cost of raising a child, there has been a decrease in foster parents or the inability to sustain quality homes in the foster care system. Children then have to be placed in private institutions, private child placing agencies, group homes and shelters which costs 3 to 9 times more per day, per child from our tax dollars. Truly, most would benefit greatly by living in a home with a stable and loving, nurturing family to help them through their crisis rather than be institutionalized. A loving family with an average income may be reluctant to become a foster home because of the financial strain that is involved in raising children and in meeting the needs of multiple children entering and exiting a home.
Since 2005, families eligible to take in their relative’s children that were placed in State custody are also able to receive our services. This enabled more families to stay together and lessen the need for foster families that were unrelated to the child. Unfortunately, this stipend is even less than the foster parent per-diem and can financially crush well meaning relatives hoping to keep their families in tack. FCSF opened its doors to these families and they can come to receive clothing and supplies for up to 2 years. This will enable the families to have time to stabilize and make decisions on how they will maintain the family unit once the serve time has ended. It will also help many family members step up to help their relatives.
The Foster Care Support facility is set up in a store-like manner, for the foster child and foster parent. A referral and verification system is in place to maintain confidentiality and security of the clients and program. All items are free to the foster child. Children also receive toys, bikes and books to help them catch up to their more fortunate peers both developmentally and academically. Our foster parents caring for infants may borrow a crib with mattress, single or double stroller, car seat, highchair and an array of items needed to raise a child safely, effectively and comfortably, depending on age, eligibility and requirements. These items would have to be purchased by the foster parent, with the possibility of making it very expensive to obtain and impossible for some to foster and stay stable themselves.
Each year, we serve an average of 3,000 foster children from all over the State of Georgia. The ages range from preemie babies to age 18. Older foster children that have signed themselves back into care after high school for a college education are also eligible. Children served are about 45% African American and 45% Caucasian, 10% Hispanic and other. All have the option to come to the center but those that are 70 minutes drive away or more can choose to have their clothing mailed to them free of shipping charges to their DFCS offices for pick up. Some still elect to make the trip for all of the extras such as toys, bikes and infant equipment due to the high costs of these items if purchased. This proves a pent up need for help for this underserved population.
FCSF holds free training meetings 8 out of 12 months during the year to support the education of foster parents on how to better care for the neglected and abused child in their home. This gives a foster parent a venue to voice concerns about situations without breach of confidentiality and receive positive solutions, answers and suggestions about how to problem solve in their particular situation. Each training earns two credit hours that are accepted by the State Department of Family and Children Services. Orientations and IMPACT trainings are help for Fulton county and bordering families to enter into fostering or adopting through their County foster system.
FCSF is not government nor federally funded or operated but partners with the Department of Family and Children’s services (DFCS) and the State to get the information to the foster families and the children. We receive our financial and volunteering support from businesses, grants, private citizens, civic and faith-based organizations. These funds enable us to have all needed items stocked in order to make sure no child has to be denied what they need for everyday care. For less than $100 per child, each receives from $500 to $1,000 worth of needed items, sometimes more, showing our great return on your donations. We do this with $10 million worth of in-kind donated items plus a low operating budget. We are in need of additional financial supporters.
An average of 5000 volunteers help work the distribution resource center.
Our annual Promapalooza is held in February when foster teen girls, relative care teens and grands raised by grands that are in Sophomore through Senior High School from all over the state attend to select a prom dress, shoes, accessories, jewelry and make up consultation so that they can be a part of their own high school proms. This allows girls to enjoy the luxury that would otherwise not be possible of a dream evening of a magical prom night like other more fortunate peers. We plan to extend an invitation to boys once we can secure the measures needed to supply what is needed for them such as gift dinner certificates so that they are able to financially ask a girl to their prom.
We are in a Capital Campaign to raise $2 million dollars to retire the mortgage on our existing facility. If you would like to donate, please contact our office at 770-641-9591 or click on the donate.
We seek partnerships that are interested in helping to grow and improve this fine and unique mission to help our most needy children of our State foster care. Naming ability with appropriate funding is available.
FCSF is the vessel, thank you for being the ocean.