On Saturday, Nov. 10, 2018 the Liberty/Long County Foster & Adoptive Parent Association held its Annual Foster Parent Conference.
The purpose of the conference is to provide foster and adoptive parents with the mandatory 15 hours of training required in order to maintain their status as active foster parents. The conference also provides training for current and prospective foster and adoptive parents to be successful parents to our most vulnerable children. In addition, these conferences offer foster/adoptive parents the training needed to anticipate the negative, critical or distrustful attitudes that foster children often exhibit. Facilitator information can assist in identifying elements of the child’s behavior that can be attributed to the experience of being in foster care. And most importantly, build positive relationships with birth families and DCS staff.
This year we were honored to have as our key note speaker the Honorable Judge Linnie L. Darden, III. Judge Darden has presided over the juvenile cases in Liberty and Long counties for more than 20 years. He explained his role as preserving and strengthening family relationships, countenancing the removal of a child from his or her home only when state intervention is essential to protect such child and enable him or her to live in security and stability.
Judge Darden spoke about the Juvenile dependency cases which involve allegations of juvenile abuse or neglect. In these cases, a parent or legal guardian has been charged with mistreating a child through various forms of neglect. Judge Darden shared with the foster parents the critical role they play in a child’s life during this dependency stage. He encouraged each foster parent who has a child’s case that comes before his court to attend the hearing and advocate for the child or children. He spoke about the Case Panel Review process, the roles of the CASA, and the Guardian Ad Litem and how their participation can impact the possible reunification of a child with his or her parents. His most resounding message was one of community involvement, the “village raising the child.” Judge Darden committed himself to being available to any and all foster parents as they attempt to raise a foster child in today’s ever changing world. He emphasized the importance of a working partnership between a foster parent caring for a child in care, the child’s assigned case manager, birth parents, community agencies and partners when appropriate, working together to help the child achieve permanency for a lifetime of happiness and continued growth.