Children who are in foster care spend many hours each week visiting with their biological families, as they work to become reunified as a family. Oftentimes, these visits take place at the local DFCS office where they have special visitation rooms set up! These rooms get lots of use, as there are nearly 15,000 children in foster care in the state of Georgia. Many of the toys and resources available for kids to play with in these rooms become broken or mismatched overtime.
Chosen for Life Ministries, along with other community organizations, came together to give the Clarke County DFCS Visitation Room a makeover! The hope was to fill this room with new things that encourage and support the time parents are spending with their children.
Our Foster Care Initiative Coordinator, Kelly Brooks, used her previous experience as a therapist to create a book that talks about the different developmental ages for children, including ideas of the best toys and ways to play based on ages. The hope is that parents can learn parenting skills through this resource to understand their children and have the tools available to play most appropriately together, to make the most of their time during supervised visits.
The Rotary Club of Athens purchased organization items for the room so that parents could easily find the items they need to play with their kiddos! These shelves and organization system will keep the new toys, purchased by people all throughout the community, in great shape and easily accessible!
The Women's Ministry at Redeemer Presbyterian Church helped purchase more items needed to make this room come together! New wall decals and a new rug helped make the room look fun and inviting for children and families who are experiencing foster care. Ashley Furniture HomeStore provided a brand new couch to replace the worn one that families were using each week. A small group from Faith Presbyterian Church spent a Saturday together to take out the old items and bring in all of the new toys and furniture to make this renovation complete!
It is a beautiful picture to see local churches and the community come together from so many different places to support our local DFCS staff as they work to reunify families together. We are so thankful to all of the individuals who played a role in creating this space for children to be loved and cared for, and for families to connect with each other during family visits. Here are some before and after pictures that truly show the impact that this project will have on families. We can't wait for kiddos to step inside this room and feel a little excitement at seeing beautiful pictures, fun toys, and areas set up for them to play and be kids!
BEFORE THE MAKEOVER:
VOLUNTEERS HELPING RENOVATION THE ROOM:
AFTER PICTURES: THE NEW SPACE
We can't say thank you enough to all of the people who made this project possible! If you are interested in being a part of makeovers like this one in DFCS Visitation Rooms from other counties, let us know! You can email firstname.lastname@example.org to let us know if you are connected to a local church group that would be interested in purchasing toys or other items for the organization space, a local business interested in donating couches or organization units, or a volunteer group that would spend their time doing the renovations! If we can get enough response from the community, we are happy to help any DFCS county in Region 5 that would need a visitation room makeover.