G.A. Family Services looks to community to foster children
by JULIE HALM
The process of becoming a foster parent, or looking to adopt through the foster care system, can seem intimidating at the outset, and there is misinformation and myths which float around, but G.A. Family Services brings potential parents together with the resources, training and information they need to change the life of a child.
“We focus a lot on the word partnership, dispelling myths and fears, and giving facts,” said Anne-Marie Orlowski, director of community based services with G.A. Family Services.
A primary point in the array of offerings at G.A. Family Services are Model Approach to Partnership and Parenting (M.A.P.P.) classes for potential parents, which take place over 11 sessions. The classes cover important topics from understanding necessary paperwork to giving potential parents insight into the worlds from which their children are coming.
The classes also provide participants with connections to other individuals looking to step up and become parents to children in need of care, as groups of roughly 10 individuals or couples will take the classes at the same time.
Contrary to what some might believe, no white picket fence is needed to become a foster parent. According to Orlowski, people of all walks of life are not only welcome, but needed to become foster parents.
According to Rebecca Wedgewood, family resource coordinator, potential parents can be married, single, widowed or dating and some of the requirements simply include that a parent must be over 21 and be willing to provide a loving home.
Wedgewood and fellow family resource coordinator, Katie Miller, noted that some of the requirements, such as providing transportation, are things which can be flexed to fit the family. For example, a foster parent is not required to have a car, but must simply have a plan for getting the children to where they need to be such as doctor’s appointments and school.
The M.A.P.P. classes are only one facet of the support provided by G.A. Family Services which continues throughout the foster care process.
During the course of the next several weeks, staff at The Bee will attend several of the classes offered by G.A. Family Services in order to allow readers a better understanding different aspects of becoming a foster parent.
The Youth & Staff of the Accountability & Responsibility Program
Explore the Alstar/Starflight Headquarters
by Debbie Hasson
Lead Group Facilitator
Youth had the opportunity to tour MedCom (Medical Communications) where they were shown how ambulances and helicopters are dispatched. It was explained to them that trauma victims have a "Golden Hour" in which to increase their chance of survival after an accident/traumatic event. Afterwards they were shown the headquarters where staff remain while waiting to be dispatched. Their facility includes: a full kitchen, a living room, a washer and dryer, sleeping areas, and showers. Finally, the group toured the hangar where the helicopters are kept.
One youth responded, "These people need as much recognition as our service men and women do."
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