Twin Cedars’ Therapeutic Foster Care in need of foster parents

Published 8:45 am Thursday, January 12, 2023

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According to the official website of Twin Cedars’ Therapeutic Foster Care (TFC), there are over 15,000 children in the state of Georgia in foster care, a number that increases each year. Unfortunately, there aren’t enough foster homes to care for every child, and some end up being placed in foster homes far from their hometowns or even separated from their siblings.

TFC seeks to change that statistic by connecting children to loving foster homes and training foster parents to better care for each child’s needs. The program serves children from birth to 21 years old who are in foster care due to child abuse or neglect.

Wynter Bonner, therapeutic foster care recruiter for West Georgia, said some of the children in the program are considered medically fragile or have severe medical conditions, while others may have behavioral and mental health issues.

Bonner said the program is in need of foster homes in Troup County that are willing to take in teenagers or sibling groups.

“We are looking for … families who are willing to foster teenagers, which is one of our harder-to-place groups of children because a lot of times they do have more behavior issues than younger children and typically people want to have younger children in the home,” Bonner said. “We are also looking for families who would be willing to foster sibling groups because even when they are smaller children, they are times harder to place if we have two or three children who need to be placed together. Sometimes those sibling groups end up having to be split up.”

Bonner said there is only one foster home in Troup County with others being in Heard County and Meriwether County.

She also said currently there are approximately 40 children in therapeutic foster care.

For those interested in becoming a foster parent, Bonner said the first step is to get in touch with her. She leads an information session via Zoom that potential foster parents must take before heading to TFC’s impact training.

“If a person has never fostered before, they go through what’s called our impact training, and where I teach them all the different things about fostering,” Bonner said. “We go through placement, trauma, grief, discussing your children’s behavior, so they have a good expectation of what it takes to have a child in your home.”

Bonner said once the potential foster parent goes through the training, the organization completes a background check, a CPS history check through DFCS, and drug screens, to ensure the parent is fit to foster.

Once the screening is completed, Bonner said she conducts the home study portion, which is where she interviews the potential foster parent’s references and everyone that currently lives with them.

“After we complete the home study and get back all the necessary background checks, I submit it to our state approval agency for approval,” Bonner said.

As a former foster parent, Bonner said the experience is rewarding hard work but is worth it.

“Knowing that I was able to not only help a child but give them a home was fulfilling,” Bonner said. “I tried to give them something to look forward to because a lot of times these children have had a lot of late downs. It was my joy trying to be a person who can come through for them.”

For more information about Therapeutic Foster Care and how to become a foster parent, call Bonner at 706-366-7656 or call 1-800-BELIEVE.