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Citizens review foster care
Judge Linnie Darden swears in volunteers, left to right, Steve Stokes (Long County), Althenia Hairston, William Miller (Long County), Georgiann Christianson and Carlos Wright. - photo by Photo provided.
Since foster care caseloads were buying many of Georgia’s juvenile court judges, citizen review panels have been created to speed the process, allowing judges to make more informed decisions about foster care cases.
The panels, part of the Permanent Homes for Children in Georgia Program, confer with the Department of Family and Children’s Services, parents, children, foster parents and other interested parties within the first three months of a child’s stay in foster care, and every six months afterward until a permanent home is found, coordinator Vickie Cook said.
“The case plan must be developed within 30 days of the removal of a child from home and at each subsequent review of the disposition order,” Cook said. “...Case plans are to include steps to correct the problem or problems that caused the child to be removed from his or her home.”
The panel’s main task is to review the cases brought to it, and to bring their recommendations and findings to the presiding judge, Cook said.
The judge can either accept or reject the findings, and DFCS, the parents, foster parents, etc. can file a disagreement with the findings, she added.
These panels have been working in Liberty County for more than six months, and these volunteer-based panels also handle the Long County foster care case load as well, Cook said.
If anyone is interested in volunteering to serve on Liberty or Long’s Judicial Citizens Review panel, call Cook at 876-0082.
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