Georgia Foster Parent Training

Georgia Foster Parent Training (GFPT) is offered through a state-wide project funded by the Georgia Division of Family and Children Services (DFCS) and presented by Bethany Christian Services. The purpose of the Foster Parent Training program is to increase the knowledge and skill set of caregivers throughout the State caring for children in foster care.

GFPT is free to all caregivers approved by the Georgia Division of Family and Children Services (DFCS). The trainings are offered across the State of Georgia. Caregivers can earn up to ten hours per training. Eight hours of training are offered in a live, instructor-based environment and two hours are earned through webinars. Topics are selected based on the needs and suggestions of caregivers. Workshop presenters are experts in addressing the needs of caregivers and the children in their homes.

Georgia Foster Parent Training  (GFPT) is a joint project between Bethany Christian Services (BCS) of Georgia, Inc. and the Georgia Division of Family and Children Services (DFCS).

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Debra Ross, MSW
Training Provider
Brittany Jean
Training Support

Workshop Comments

“Thank you for the wonderful opportunity to be a part of your training session... I found it to be not only very delightful, but most professional and impressive. You put together a training session that should be a model for others across the state, and across the nation. As one who has been a part of training sessions across the country, this one was top notch! For that, Bravo! It was an honor to be a part of it. I have already heard back from many of the foster parents who attended, either via email or through my foster parent resource Facebook page. Truly exciting.”

“I love that [the Summit] was realistic. It was great to have [trainers] who have walked the walk…[There] was so much information that was helpful. Thank you for putting this session in place. We needed this break. It felt so good to be among other parents and fellowship.”

“[The Summit] was very informative. Today’s training was probably the best I’ve received…”

“I enjoy[ed] my 8 hours. It was enjoyable and educational.”

“Summit was awesome…You guys are great and kept us involved by allowing us to ask questions and giving us information on different topics to help us.”

“Bethany made the day very festive. The presenter used humor and personal anecdotes that helped to lighten the subject. Thoroughly enjoyable.”



DFCS policy requires all approved caregivers to receive 15 hours of continuing education. Georgia Foster Parent Training Summits are held on Saturday mornings, typically from  9am – 5pm. All caregivers are eligible to receive up to eight (8) hours of training from the Summit. You do not have to attend the entire day. You will receive a certificate for the number of hours received to provide to your Resource Development worker. You may attend more than one Summit throughout the year. 

Each Summit includes a continental breakfast and lunch. Childcare is not provided. Caregivers who bring children to training site will not be allowed to attend the training.

2015 Foster Parent Training Calendar

Upcoming Summits:

LocationDateMore Information

Region 7 Summit
Hilton Garden Inn
1065 Stevens Creek Road
Augusta, GA 30907

April 25, 2015Registration Link

Region 13 Summit
Clayton State University, Student Activities Center
2000 Clayton State Blvd
Morrow, GA 30260

June 20, 2015Registration Link

*Dates/locations are subject to change and cancellation. Registrants must provide an email address to receive any updates or changes.  Registrations for all trainings closes 7 days prior to the scheduled training date.

Other Training

Upcoming Webinars

Webinar Title


Registration Link

Family Conflict ResolutionApril 14Register

The Calling Beyond Parenting:
Promoting Healing & Positive Development

April 21Register
The Heart of An AdvocateMay 5 Register
Introduction to AFPAGMay 12 Register
Grievance Procedure 101 May 19 Register
CPS Investigations 101 May 26 Register
Avoid Summer Learning Loss June 2 Register
Family CommunicationJune 30Register

Breakfast with Judge Hammond "Right to be Heard"
Juvenile Court Judge Britt Hammond of the Toombs Judicial Circuit in the state of GA was appointed to the bench on October 1, 2004. He currently holds positions of leadership within the Georgia Council of Juvenile Court Judges serving on the Permanency Planning Committee, and as Vice Chairman of the Education Certification Committee. He also serves as Lead Judge on several projects for the Supreme Court of Georgia’s Committee on Justice for Children.

This workshop will teach foster and adoptive parents about their right to be heard in juvenile court, the court system, the legal aspects of the child welfare system including a candid discussion on how to be effective witnesses, and more. This is a FREE training providing 1.5 hours of credit. Childcare is not provided. Caregivers who bring children to training site will not be allowed to attend the training.

2015 Right To Be Heard Training Calendar

Other Foster Parent Training Resources



What's New at DFCS / Understanding DFCS Policy
Recent & expected changes occurring at DHS & DFCS related to Foster Parents and their children. Also, explaining the rationale behind DFCS policies.

Foster Parent Bill of Rights
Reviewing your rights and valid expectations when dealing with DFCS. Included is the process to realize those rights when those rights are violated.

Understanding Childhood Trauma
An overview of the typical types of trauma our children have experienced along with some techniques for healing.

Grief & Loss
Dealing with grief & loss from both the child's & parents' perspectives. Covers resulting child behaviors and how to appropriately deal with them.

Diagnoses & Prescriptions
Mental & behavioral diagnoses, medical prescriptions for these problems, and the resulting side-effects and considerations in parenting these children.

Mental Health Issues
A survey of mental health issues common to foster children and their treatments.

Advocating for Your Child's Educational Needs
A survey of educational issues common to foster children, available programs to deal with these problems, and how to navigate the educational hierarchy to receive these interventions.

Let's Play Ball
Getting the family prepared to receive your first foster child.

Hidden Trauma - The Impact of Domestic Violence on Children & the Community
The impact of trauma on the child recipient, how that plays out in their behavior, and the cumulative societal consequences.

Trauma -- I Understand it Better, Now What Do I Do?
Coping techniques to help heal the effects of trauma on children.

Fathers & Foster Care
The unique and critical role of the father in the foster family, including "dos" and "don'ts".


Dr. Jeffrey Lawrence, Vice President for Programs and Services/Chief Program Officer
Serving at The Methodist Home since 1985, Jeff Lawrence (D. Min, L.S.W.) has been involved with every aspect of our services. He received his B.A. in Finance from Morehouse College in Atlanta, GA in 1979. In 1984 he received his Master of Divinity in Christian Education/Church Administration and his Doctor of Ministry degree in 2004 from the ITC-Morehouse School of Religion in Atlanta, GA. In 1988 he received his Master of Social Work from the University of Georgia in Athens, GA. Jeff Lawrence became a Licensed Social Worker for the State of Georgia in 1991. Dr. Lawrence is a member of The National Association of Social Workers and the Georgia Association of Homes and Services for Children. He is a certified instructor for CALM Crisis Management Program, a trainer for the Foundations for Helping Professions Course and a sought after trainer throughout the state of Georgia.

Suzanne M. Clark, LPC
Suzanne M. Clark, LPC, is an expert in the field of adoption. She maintains a passion for educating and empowering triad members and other professionals about the lifelong impact of adoption. For 20 years, Suzanne has worked exclusively as a professional in the field of adoption. Currently, Suzanne maintains a private practice in Roswell, GA, where she offers specialized therapy for birth parents, adopted persons, and adoptive families. She also provides consultative services for professional s eager to learn more about the trauma and grief experienced by so many triad members. Suzanne is a Licensed Professional Counselor and an adult adopted person.

Cindy Kruger
Cindy currently serves as the lead supervisor of private adoptions within the Atlanta office of Bethany Christian Services.  She brings with her today over 15 years of experience as a trained counselor, having served in schools, psychiatric hospitals, and various counseling centers. During that time she focused on the mental health needs of children and adolescents, especially children in the foster care system.  Cindy and her husband, David, are adoptive parents to two children, one from the foster care system and the other a transracial domestic adoption.  Cindy and David have also served as foster parents in Washington and Minnesota.

Andre’ H. Marria, M.S., LPC
Ms. Marria spent thirty – four years of public service with Georgia Dept. of Human Resources, retiring as Director of Thomas County DFCS November 2008.  Prior to her retirement Ms. Marria lent her leadership skills to Southwestern State Hospital as a Unit Director and assisted in the initial licensure of Rose Haven ICF/MR/SNF, a 110 bed facility.  Ms. Marria went on to work as the Assistant Director for Southwest Georgia Mental Health, Developmental Disabilities and Addictive Diseases regional board and was instrumental in establishing the first substance abuse prevention programs in fourteen rural counties and revitalized community based mental health services in those same counties.

Currently she is the President and CEO of 3D Whole Brain Productions INC, a grass roots organization dedicated to using the arts as a medium for treatment.  As a licensed professional counselor, past president (2004) of the Licensed Professional Counselor Association of Georgia, INC, Ms. Marria Currently, is an independent contractor and works as a Child and Adolescent Therapist.

A dedicated member of the Thomasville Community, Ms. Marria serves as a Volunteer at the Boys and Girls Clubs of South West Georgia, Thomas County Unit, she also serves as a Trustee for the Vashti Center, Inc., and is a member of Rotary International.  Ms. Marria is a Will Watt and Paul Harris Fellow.