COVINGTON -- The Newton County Department of Family and Children's Services is holding a photo shoot to show off some of their most valuable assets -- the 20 children in their region who are available for adoption.
In order to do this, they are sponsoring an outing for the youngsters on Sept. 24 at Barlyn Horse Farm in Walnut Grove. The youngsters will get acquainted with the horses, play games and enjoy a picnic lunch, while professional and amateur photographers snap away.
"The photos and video tapes of these children will be used by our recruiters at different community presentations, for publicity and for placement purposes," said Jan Ballard, resource development manager with DFCS. "These are the children that we have in Region 5 that are legally free to be adopted."
Ballard said these youngsters are 8 and older and there are several sibling groups.
For those couples who dream of adopting a newborn baby, Ballard said DFCS adoptions aren't for them.
"We're not an adoption agency. We're looking for a home for our children and not children for homes," she said, adding that these children have been traumatized by permanent removal from their homes.
"Our No. 1 goal is to reunite children with their birth families. Should that not happen, the next step would be to find an adoptive home for the child. We're a child placing agency and the reason we have children available for adoption is because they are unable to return to their birth family," she said.
Counties included in DFCS Region 5 are Newton, Jasper, Green, Walton, Morgan, Oconee, Clark, Barrow, Oglethorpe, Jackson, Madison and Elbert and the children available for adoption come from these counties.
"All of our children are special needs," Ballard said. "What constitutes special needs is if they have been in care 24 consecutive months; children who need to be placed with a sibling group of two or more; and any child who has been diagnosed with a physical or mental disability.
Ballard said anyone who is interested in adoption or in fostering children should call her at 770-784-2424 or 1-877-210-KIDS, and also they should be on the lookout for the photos and videos that will be shot on Sept. 24.
Also, Ballard suggested going to the Department of Human Resources, "It's my Turn Now" web page.
"That has a photo and description of most of the children who are free in the state of Georgia ... read a little bit about their wants and needs and they'll get a better idea if this program is for them," she said.