Murphy-Harpst Children’s Centers presents foster care awareness event

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To help meet the needs of Bartow’s children in state custody, Murphy-Harpst Children’s Centers will present a foster care awareness event in Cartersville Tuesday. Starting at 6:30 p.m., the complimentary program will be held at CrossPoint City Church, 245 S. Tennessee St.“This event is open to individuals, church leaders and other community organizations interested in knowing more about the needs and benefits of a vital foster care ministry and the work of Murphy-Harpst, and who are interested in discovering the various opportunities available in Bartow County for serving children in the foster care system through volunteer support as well as becoming a fully vetted foster parent,” said Scott Fuller, recruitment coordinator for Murphy-Harpst Foster Care. “... Nelson Mandela once said, ‘There is no keener revelation of the condition of a society than in the way it treats its children.’ He is, of course, right, and we are in a crisis.“But this crisis constitutes an opportunity and call for the people of Bartow County, its churches and families to come together and respond. The enormous need is for individuals and families to open their hearts and open their homes to provide the warmth and life-changing care that only a loving family can provide. There are children in our communities who need a loving home, a family able and willing to foster; there are also foster parents in our communities who need the supporting cast of a caring community to assist them in this calling.”Along with Bartow, Murphy-Harpst Children’s Centers is assisting foster children throughout northwest Georgia.“The foster care program at Murphy-Harpst Children’s Centers is leading the way in northwest Georgia by mobilizing, training and equipping families and churches to meet the needs of foster children in the local community,” Fuller said. “We are a private child-placing agency that provides regular round-the-clock support and in-home consultation to assist foster parents and the child to successfully fulfill this call.“In Psalm 68, there is this bold description of God that says of him, ‘Father of the fatherless and protector of widows is God in his holy habitation. God settles the lonely in a home’ (Psalm 68:5-6). At Murphy-Harpst Children’s Centers, we celebrate this hope of God and are devoted daily to seeing it realized for hundreds of children throughout this region.”With more than 300 Bartow children in state custody, Shawna Lewis — social services case manager for Bartow County Department of Family and Children Services — emphasized the need for additional local foster families.“How can you help better your community? Over 300 kids of all ages, sex and race from right here in Bartow County could help you with that answer by saying, ‘become a foster parent,’” Lewis said. “Bartow County DFCS needs more foster homes in our community to help with this crisis. Because Bartow County only has around 24 foster homes, most kids have to be placed in counties all across the state of Georgia. Having more foster homes in our community would help reduce the trauma that kids endure when having to be moved to other counties hours away. These kids are already traumatized from being removed from their parents.“When committing to be a foster parent, you are opening your home as well as your heart for kids in need. Foster homes provide safety, stability and, most of all, love. DFCS wants families that will work in partnership to help prevent further abuse, strengthen and, when possible, help reunify children with their families. Foster families are needed to be a temporary family to care for the child until they can return home safely or be adopted.”For more information about Murphy-Harpst Children’s Centers’ upcoming foster care awareness event, call 770-825-6992 or email fostercareinquiry@murphyharpst.org.Along with attending Murphy-Harpst Children’s Centers’ gathering, those interested in becoming a foster parent are encouraged to inquire about Bartow County DFCS’ training process.“If someone wants to become a foster parent, they can attend a regularly scheduled information session,” Lewis said. “The information sessions are on a set schedule and held every second and fourth Monday of each month at 6 p.m. at the Bartow County DFCS office.“If you are interested in attending one of these sessions, you can call ahead or just show up. Following that session, if you make the choice to become a foster parent, a home developer works closely with them through the training process. Some of the requirements to become a foster family are a 23-hour training class to prepare you to become a foster parent called IMPACT — broken up into several sessions, criminal history checks, drug screens and medicals. If you want to help make a difference and become a foster parent, contact 877-210-KIDS or for a direct contact call [me] at 770-369-0190.”