When preparing to take on the responsibilities associated with being a foster parent, it is important to be fully prepared. This might include speaking to others who have served in a similar capacity, reading a book or article about the topic, or discussing the subject with your family about how this new experience might change or alter your daily life. I encourage everyone to take these steps, especially the last one.
Still, in my opinion, nothing is more important in preparing you for the rigors of being a foster parent than IMPACT Training.
IMPACT Training is a mandatory preparation program for all foster parents. It consists of 20 hours of training for prospective parents to learn about the foster care system, child development, the role of working in partnership with biological parents, to develop skills to help meet the needs of children in care, and to understand the overall effect foster care will have on their lives and family.
Brittany Jean, a former foster child who now acts as a child welfare advocate and IMPACT Trainer, recently said, “I believe that IMPACT pre-service training is vital for incoming foster parents, because it lays the foundation for their continued learning while inspiring them to take the plunge into the unknown of foster parenting. Our goal is that, at the conclusion of pre-service training, our foster parents will be equipped with the knowledge and tools necessary to be a bridge between vulnerable families and the community support systems available to them. During IMPACT pre-service training, foster parents gain an introductory overview of the myriad of topics crucial to understanding how the foster care system works, the societal factors that place families in vulnerable scenarios, and the practical tools necessary for providing supporting and healing to these families.”
Before beginning an IMPACT class, one must attend an information session. The information session acts as the first phase of IMPACT pre-service training/preparation, and is mandatory for all potential foster and adoptive families. Each of the agencies (DFCS, FaithBridge, Goshen Homes) that serve the Cherokee County community schedules these meetings on a regular basis. You can learn more, or begin the journey to fostering, by visiting their websites.
– Zach Blend, CEO of the Goshen Valley Foundation and a Georgia Trend 40 Under 40 recipient.