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Highlighting the need for foster parents during Foster Care Month

In the state of Georgia, there are 14,000 children in the foster care system.
In the state of Georgia, there are 14,000 children in the foster care system.(WTOC)
Updated: May. 10, 2021 at 8:08 AM CDT
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AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WTOC) - May is a month we associate with celebrating our moms but it is also a month to recognize a special kind of mom - those who foster children.

In the state of Georgia, there are 14,000 children in the foster care system. In South Carolina, there are over 4,000 children in foster care. 119 of those children are in Aiken.

To become a foster parent, you have to be 21 years old with no criminal history and you must be able to financially support a child in your home.

The National Youth Advocate Program is one non-profit that helps foster parents through the process. The licensing coordinator says there are about 24 hours of training, a medical exam, a safety walk-through of your home, and an interview with you and your family before you can get approved to be a foster parent. The process can take about three to four months to complete before a person can start accepting children into their home.

“The foster child just becomes a child of your own, they become a part of your heart, they become part of your life. We still have a relationship with the child that was in our home and it’s great to watch her grow,” said Jolie Jenkins, a foster mother.

“It is a labor of love. Not everyone can be a foster parent. You must truly, truly have a love for children and a love for wanting to help children in need,” said Melissa Blackshear, Licensing Coordinator for the National Youth Advocate Program.

If there is not a foster home available for a child in need, they might need to go to a home in a new community or have to spend time in a hotel before they get placed.

Blackshear says there is always a need for more foster parents as the number of children in foster care can increase or decrease at any point in time.

For more information on the National Youth Advocate Program in Georgia, click here. You can visit the local office at 360 Furys Ferry Road or call 706-724-4387.

For more information on the National Youth Advocate Program in South Carolina, click here.

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