The Cobb County Department of Family and Children Services (DFCS) is looking for foster families to care for the almost 300 children currently in the department's care.
Cindy Teate, a resource development supervisor with the department, says that there is a "critical need" for families who can support teenagers. Most teenagers under DFCS care stay in group homes, unlike younger children.
According to Teate, there are around 280 children in foster care in Cobb County, with 120 foster families to support them. The department is looking for more families to take in foster children, including Spanish-speaking families and families who can accommodate two or more children to prevent the breakup of siblings.
Families interested in becoming foster families must attend an orientation session held on the second Thursday of the month at 5:30 p.m. at the department's office at 325 S. Fairground St. in Marietta.
Following orientation, families take a 20-hour training course to prepare them for their foster responsibilities. Families must also submit to tuberculosis and drug screens.
Following the completion of all required paperwork and class time, Cobb DFCS can usually complete a foster home study within 60 days.
Foster families receive a $14-$18 per diem based on the age of the child they are fostering, and most foster children qualify for Medicaid. Additionally, a small clothing allowance is provided and many community members help out for Christmas presents, summer camp fees, and other expenses.
Despite these financial aids, Teate denies that foster families are simply raking in money.
"That's the most common misconception we have to dispel," she said.
Teate encourages interested families to attend the next orientation session to meet with department staff and talk about their concerns or ask questions. Cobb DFACS is committed to preparing families for the challenges and rewards of becoming foster families.