On Thursday, October 30, 2014, Lutheran Services of Georgia hosted an orientation for individuals interested in opening their homes to unaccompanied migrant children. In response to outreach efforts in LaGrange, several families came out to LaGrange Memorial Library to learn more about becoming short-term, transitional foster homes for this vulnerable population.
The evening began with snacks and introductions. Gayle Cruz, LSG’s Specialized Foster Care Recruiter, and Anton Flores, co-founder of LaGrange’s Alterna, presented on short-term foster care. Attendees watched a video explaining the conditions that cause unaccompanied children to flee their countries of origin and the treacherous journeys they make to the United States. Afterwards, LSG gave out packets of information including applications to begin the foster care training process. Five families expressed interest in becoming short-term foster homes, and two families have already taken the first steps to begin training.
LSG is collaborating with other LaGrange area organizations and ministries to create safe, welcoming foster homes and a supportive community for unaccompanied children. A local recreational center has offered to provide space for the trainings and for family gatherings once the children have arrived. LSG is grateful to community partners, including the LaGrange Memorial Library, for their support.
LSG is currently determining the next location in metro Atlanta and the surrounding areas where foster homes for unaccompanied children will be developed. Prospective foster families must undergo a three-stage approval process involving orientation, training, and a thorough family assessment. The approval process takes three to four months to complete. LSG expects to begin receiving children from the Office of Refugee Resettlement in February 2015. Families with one bilingual adult are preferred, but those without will be considered on a case-by-case basis.
If you are interested in learning more about becoming a foster home, contact Gayle Cruz at firstname.lastname@example.org or 404-207-0131.