Amerigroup Georgia holds foster care support meeting with Dr. John DeGarmo

Published 10:02 am Thursday, October 19, 2023

A group of local foster parents gathered at Bainbridge Church earlier this month, coming together for a special meeting. Hosted by Amerigroup Georgia, the event was led by Dr. John DeGarmo, being the fifth in a series of meetings around the state.

“We are traveling the state of Georgia, providing support services for foster parents to help with retention,” DeGarmo told the Post-Searchlight. DeGarmo is an expert on foster care, having several books on the topic published, and the founder/director of The Foster Care Institute.

“Really, foster care is at a bit of a crisis here in Georgia, and nationwide.” According to DeGarmo, there is a shortage of foster parents, but an excess of children in crisis. This problem is compounded by a rise in mental health problems with today’s youth. “A lot of these kids are coming into foster care, and the foster parents aren’t equipped, they’re not trained for it, so they quit,” he explained.

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To better help with retention, DeGarmo and Amerigroup have adopted three methods to help foster parents in need: “We are giving training… we are going to those parts of the state that don’t have foster parent associations, and setting them up… and the third thing we’re doing is we’re giving every foster parent in the State of Georgia access to over 75 hours of online training webinars, so they can get the training and resources at home as well,” he explained.

DeGarmo recounted how he initially got involved as a foster parent to the crowd of attendees, and his various experiences over the years, fostering over 60 children since he began, as well as dispelling rumors about fostering.

“There’s a need for more foster parents, so if you want make a difference in Bainbridge, Georgia, and the surrounding area, this is one way you can do it,” he stated.