National Foster Parent Month

One local county is taking time to thank those performing a very important job.

The Thomas County Department of Family and Children reports that there are 16 foster families in the county, families that department officials say on average are caring for about 85 to 90 children at any given time.

Foster parent Joann Smith's hands are often full, but her work is appreciated.

Andre' Marria, the director of Thomas County Family and Children, says, "We're excited about that, just to let them know how much we appreciate what they do for us and their time and energy spent in caring for those that we love."

Officials at the department say unfortunately there is a rising need for more foster families, but they say there are positives too. In Thomas County, more than
85 percent of the children that go into foster care end up being adopted by their foster families.

Joann Smith, a foster parent, says, "I brought this little boy home from the hospital and um, you fall in love with him, and my children fell in love with him, and once he became available for adoption, it was like, 'oh, we got to have him.'"

Along with her adopted son, three biological children and three grandchildren, Joann also cares for four foster children.

Smith says, "It's for the children, for the children. It can be a struggle, but I enjoy it."

It’s an unselfish sentiment echoed by the many foster parents who give children a chance and some love.

Anyone interested in more information on foster care in Thomas County is encouraged to call 229-225-4005. Elsewhere in Georgia, the number is 1-877-210-KIDS. In Florida, call 1-800-981-KIDS.