SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) – Every child deserves a fighting chance: the mission behind a local agency working to find more homes for kids in foster care.
The Savannah nonprofit ALF Family Services is asking community members to step up and help with the growing number of kids needing families.
With decades of service in foster care, Pamela Gordon said there’s no way to describe the feeling of helping a child in need.
“It’s warming, it’s rewarding,” said Gordon, the nonprofit’s executive director. “It really makes me feel like I made a difference in someone else’s life.”
Fueled by her compassion and desire to see kids succeed, Gordon said there is a growing need for families to foster kids from infancy up to 21-years-old who are getting placed in the system every day.
“There is a great need for foster parents,” Gordon said. “At this time, we are definitely recruiting for foster parents to provide a home; a stable place for these children to live. We receive referrals from all over the state of Georgia.”
Even after Gov. Brian Kemp released new legislation in 2021 to encourage foster recruitment and adoption by lowering foster parent age limits, offering free college tuition and ramping up legal protections — agencies like ALR Family Services say they are getting a significant number of calls a day.
“The services we provide are working with them on their case plan, trying to assist the children with education, but also their basic needs,” said Gordon, “making sure they have a nice place to live, making sure they get their education, making sure their medical, as well as counselor needs, are met.”
“I receive an abundance of referrals on a daily basis and I would say that’s my reason for saying we need foster parents,” the child services expert described.
Gordon said teens are the toughest to place, adding their growing need for families willing to foster this specific age group.
“Most of them, they’re looking for love, they’re looking for stability. Open their hearts and their home is my motto, and help these children to have a stable place to live as well as normalcy for these children so that they may live normal life,” Gordon said, adding that teens who don’t get placed with foster families often experience detrimental impacts to their life choices:
“It impacts them greatly because they have no direction, they have no support. At times they may have no family, no one to assist them, to instruct them or to give them the right direction to go. As an agency, we look at it as having a family to help them to be productive citizens. We’re thinking in terms there would not be problems that we do have at this time that impact our community. Basically, they just need stability, they need help, they need love, they need support; just to know that people care.”
Gordon said many kids don’t get the chance they deserve.
“We treasure our foster parents,” she added. “Even if they want to foster one child, we’re saving one child.”
The agency is partnering with local organizations, including St. James AME Church, to host a school supply drive for foster kids.
“The price of the supplies has gone up for back to school, and also we are recovering from the pandemic, and we just thought we would have our drive to help the foster children start the year off right and to help them have a successful year,” Gordon said.
All school supplies, uniforms and monetary donations are needed. Donations can be dropped off at the agency’s office on 8400 Abercorn Street until July 30.