Reversal of Roe V. Wade possible impact on Georgia’s Foster Care System

“I was adopted myself and I know from personal experience there’s so many families out there that really desire that opportunity.”
Published: Jun. 29, 2022 at 11:35 AM EDT
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COLUMBUS, Ga. (WTVM) - As Georgia ponders it’s next move to coincide with the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to outlaw abortions, News Leader 9 is taking a look at how anti-abortion laws will impact the state’s foster care system.

The court’s decision to overturn Roe V. Wade is causing a ripple effect across the nation and in Georgia. The news of abortion law is also prompting concerns about its impact on the state’s foster care system.

“Approximately 400,000 children are in foster care. Here locally in the Chattahoochee Valley, it’s around 500,” said Carmen Overton, Executive Director of Clement Arts, an adoption and foster care support program in Columbus. “Our foster care system has been in a crisis for years because there are more children in care than there are homes to take care of them. But that does not have to be the reality - we feel it’s very possible for us to change that. And awareness is a big part of that.”

Overton also says this has been a huge step in bringing awareness and there have been people advocating on both sides for years - pro-life and pro-choice and the reality is this is our current situation, and it’s time to put our words to action.

“Whether that means bringing your child into your home temporarily, so birth parents can get the support they need and be reunified with that child, even if that means forever,” said Overton. “It’s going to be both and we need those types of people to be able to step in and be willing to do that. But we also need people who are going to advocate on behalf of the vulnerable, whether that’s mothers, whether that’s babies - we need people who can serve in that role, and then we need people who will serve who will be willing to take meals to families when they need it, who would be willing to provide transportation, mentoring all different types of things. So there’s really a role everybody can play in this and and this is just a great opportunity for us, no matter what side we stand on to put our words into action.”

Columbus couple Larry and Christy Young said they’ve been foster parents since 2017. Right now, abortion is not illegal in Georgia, but experts expect that to change any day now. The decision would align the Peach State with others like Alabama. It also takes away an option mothers once had if they got pregnant and weren’t ready or willing to raise a child.

However the Youngs look at it as an opportunity.

“I praise God for the overturning of this case,” said Christy Young. “Now it’s a call to action to people who can look after foster kids or adopt children. There are resources. Seneca and Sound Choices, Clement Arts, and then man, find anybody maybe who has children and is into fostering and adoption through this ministry because they can get them plugged in if they’re feeling despairing so that they would not feel alone. So that they can build community. My encouragement would be to find a way to build community.”

The couple adopted six of their foster children and are currently working to add on a 10-month-old baby girl who they’ve fostered since she was two days old. They affectionately call her ‘Baby J’. They’re encouraging others to answer the call.

“I was adopted myself and I know from personal experience there’s so many families out there that really desire that opportunity,” said Larry Young.

For more information on foster and adoption services in our area, click here.

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