Think about this: 97 percent of those 700 kids will be in chronic poverty; 71 percent of the girls will be pregnant in the first year; and only 11 percent are graduating from high school or getting a GED equivalent. Those are disastrous statistics that none of us should accept.Lt. Gov. Geoff Duncan
ATLANTA — After serving as a fountain of positive economic news during Effingham Day at the Capitol, Lt. Gov. Geoff Duncan splashed the audience with some sobering statistics on another subject.
“It’s a big deal for me,” Duncan said during the Feb. 11 event at the James H. “Sloppy” Floyd Building. “I was not a foster child and my wife and I don’t foster kids currently, although God continues to seem to tap on our shoulders, but I’ve had a number of people in my life, including my policy director, Mike Dudgeon, who has fostered several kids, and I think we can do better as a state. I think we should do better as a state and we will do better as a state.”
Georgia currently has approximately 12,837 children in foster care. Duncan has special concerns about a small sliver of them.
“There is this whole group of kids who are aging out of foster care at 18 years old,” he said. “There are only 700 of them a year but they might be the 700 most vulnerable kids this state has seen every single year.
“Think about this: 97 percent of those 700 kids will be in chronic poverty; 71 percent of the girls will be pregnant in the first year; and only 11 percent are graduating from high school or getting a GED equivalent. Those are disastrous statistics that none of us should accept.”
Duncan said it is his goal to considerable time in the Senate to rectifying the deplorable situation for the oldest foster children.
“We’re going to remove all the partisan politics — all the politics — and try to get something accomplished for these kids that deserve for us to fight for them each and every day. It doesn’t put a single dime in any of our pockets but it’s the right thing to do.”
The current requirements to become a foster parent include:
— Must be at least 21 years of age
— Must complete a two-hour orientation in the local county office or via the internet
— Must successfully complete pre-service IMPACT Family-Centered Practice training
— Must complete a medical exam, finger print checks, as well as undergo both child welfare and criminal records checks/screenings.
—Prospective foster parents and any other adult household members (over age 18) who have not been a resident of Georgia for a minimum of five years must be screened in the Child Abuse and Neglect registry of each state of prior residence
— Must provide proof of current residence and financial stability
To learn more about foster care in Effingham County, call the the Division of Family and Children’s Services (DFACS) office, located at 204 Franklin St. in Springfield, at (912) 754-6471.
The lieutenant goveror’s office can be reached at (404) 656-5030.