Monday, April 20, 2009

Workshop seeks mentors, foster parents and adoptive parents for teens

On Saturday, April 25, the Georgia Department of Human Resources (DHR) Division of Family and Children Services (DFCS), in conjunction with private adoption agencies, will sponsor a workshop called “Building Connections: Enhancing the Lives of Teens.” Participants will be able to take part in discussions and activities to learn more about becoming a mentor or a foster or adoptive parent to a teenager under the care of DFCS. This event, which is free and open to the public, will be at the Jim Huie Recreation & Aquatics Center at 9045 Tara Boulevard in Jonesboro, from 8:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.

“This workshop will arm individuals who want to get involved with the information needed to determine what role they can best play in the life of a teenager,” said Mark A. Washington, assistant commissioner of DHR. “Adults have the power to alter the way a teenager views himself by simply investing their time and their talent.”

Some studies suggest that youth who “age out” of the foster care system without families or a support system often struggle to complete their education, are at risk of developing health problems, have a hard time becoming financially self-sufficient and, in some cases, come into contact with the criminal justice system.

“I think most of us know how challenging the teenage years can be,” Washington said. “These kids are trying to do well in school, fit in with their peers and on top of that figure out which direction their life is headed. The burden of not having a stable home environment adds to that complexity and mirrors the situation many teens in our care are facing.”

Currently in Georgia, there are more than 15,000 children in foster care. More than 34 percent of them are between the ages of 14 and 18. Approximately 50 of these teens will attend the “Building Connections” event where they will participate in workshops designed especially for them.

For more information or to register for the “Building Connections: Enhancing the Lives of Teens” workshop, please call (877) 234-4728.

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