12:25 PM

Community Impact: Bethany Christian Services of Georgia

Foster parent Alecia King credits Bethany Christian Services with expanding her family in Hoschton. With assistance from the foster care and adoption service, King has fostered several children and adopted two.

“Bethany has always been there to help,” says King. “Bethany does events for foster families, and even after you’ve become a foster, they provide you with training.”

As a Jackson County Schools bus driver for students with special needs for 18 years, King became aware of the area’s need for loving, stable families to serve children in difficult situations. Over the years, she has fostered numerous children, including those with special needs and, in February, she adopted 7-year-old Jasmine, a special needs student who rode her bus.

“My love for these kids is my inspiration to foster and adopt,” says King.

While her love for kids provided the inspiration, Bethany provided the ways and means.

Headquartered in Atlanta with a regional office in Bogart, Bethany’s services include adoption, foster care, pregnancy counseling and post adoption support to families who have adopted children. The organization’s recent $5,000 grant from the Jackson EMC Foundation is being used to recruit and train new foster and fosterto-adopt families in Northeast Georgia.

“Our goal is to develop 40 additional approved foster families, so that all children coming into foster care in this area will be placed and cared for within their home community,” says Director of Donor Engagement Andi Swan, noting that the additional foster families will make it possible to host 200 to 225 more foster children at any given time.

Bindi Avrett is regional manager at Bethany’s office in Bogart, which works with the Division of Family and Children Services to serve about 80 foster children in the Athens area.

King, Swan and Avrett appreciate assistance from the Jackson EMC Foundation which, in the long run, makes it easier for families to foster.

“All the grant money goes toward costs incurred with recruitment and training, so we don’t have to charge a fee to parents who are already opening their homes to children,” says Swan. “This enables us to say, ‘Hey, we just need your availability and your love.’”

For more information visit bethany.org/atlanta.