Amerigroup Georgia is taking a bold step to confront pressing foster care gaps in the state through its latest strategic partnership with Dr. John DeGarmo, a globally recognized expert in parenting and foster care. The urgency of this collaboration comes as Georgia faces formidable challenges in its foster care system that requires comprehensive, immediate action.
Just some of these obstacles include the pressing need for more available foster homes to accommodate the 12,000 children in foster care, the demand for caregivers trained to address high acuity needs of youth in foster care, and the vital need to provide foster parents with better access to essential resources and specialized training to address issues like trauma, stress, and caregiver burnout effectively.
Foster parents often struggle to access essential resources and specialized training to address the distinctive needs of foster children. The shortage of support and training can result in various issues like trauma, stress, and burnout for both the caregivers and the children in their care.
To address these challenges, Dr. DeGarmo and Amerigroup are embarking on an ambitious initiative, offering comprehensive virtual and in person training and support to foster parents throughout the state. This program provides over 75 hours of free training, equipping foster parents with essential tools and knowledge to establish nurturing and stable homes for children in need.
Through this collaborative effort, Amerigroup and Dr. DeGarmo are working to ensure that every foster parent receives the support and resources they need to care for these young individuals with the compassion and expertise they deserve. Additionally, these training sessions fulfill foster parents’ annual training requirements, bringing about a more skilled and prepared foster care community.
The planned series of in-person events, featuring free training sessions on trauma-informed care and other essential topics, will be held across the state with current and prospective foster parents in various communities. These face-to-face trainings will provide caregivers the resources and supports that they need, allowing support groups to naturally develop and help build a stronger bond of trust and support. The initiative also seeks to build and create foster parent association chapters in each region and county across Georgia.
Dr. DeGarmo, founder and director of The Foster Care Institute, a TEDx Talk presenter, and experienced foster parent to over 60 children alongside his wife, brings extensive expertise and insights to address the challenges facing vulnerable children in the foster care system.
“The statistics show that the foster care crisis is not just a challenge but a pressing emergency that requires immediate action,” Dr. DeGarmo asserted. “By providing foster parents with the necessary support services, we aim to address the mental health and well-being of both caregivers and children alike.”
The schedule of planned events and training sessions will be released in August and will be available to foster parents everywhere in Georgia, creating a stronger and more compassionate foster care community across the state.
Since 2014, Amerigroup has served as the sole CMO in charge of coordinating care for children, youth, and young adults receiving adoption assistance, and select youth involved in the juvenile justice system through Georgia Families 360° (GF360). Covering approximately 32,000 children, Amerigroup is committed to working with foster families, community organizations, healthcare and social service providers and partners in state government to ensure these individuals have access to the right services in the right setting.