Embrace - Foster Family Foundation

As a private non-profit organization, EMBRACE seeks to work in collaboration with the state's Division of Family and Children's Services (DFCS) to accelerate the pipeline of new foster families and enhance the retention of veteran foster families.  The initial focus of EMBRACE has been to delineate a core set of support services, as well as standards of quality for each service, that are needed by DFCS foster families in order to retain quality homes for foster children.  In addition to a focus on retaining foster families, there is an overarching intention to maximize the systematic engagement of local communities in partnering with local DFCS to secure the safety and nurture of Georgia's children.

In order to better support and retain foster families in Georgia, the Department of Human Resources (DHR) and the Foster Family Foundation of Georgia (FFGA) partnered together to implement Phase I of EMBRACE in January 2008.  Phase I saw the development of core strategies and EMBRACE support services in the Division of Family and Children's Services (DFCS) Region 17 (Cherokee, Cobb, and Douglas counties).  The essential core strategies are the use of Foster Parent Liaisons and the development of community engagement to help support foster families.  EMBRACE support services offered to foster families included mentoring and peer-to-peer support, natural helpers, training, special events and activities for foster families, newsletters and other communication mechanisms.  The success of Phase I, meeting and exceeding six month and twelve month goals for foster home retention rates, justified the expansion of EMBRACE in FY 2009.  Phase II began in January 2009 with the goals of strengthening the EMBRACE program in Region 17, as well as expansion into DFCS Region 15 (Gwinnett and Rockdale Counties).

EMBRACE was organized in 2006 to increase the number of foster families in Georgia who are prepared to address the specific needs of those foster children who have been placed into state custody.  EMBRACE originally grew out of a Task Force that was started in 2005 in response to a recommendation of the Georgia Children's Cabinet