Silvey said there are approximately 120 to 130 families in the county. Each family can take in one to eight children - not including their own biological children. Family preferences also vary, as some prefer infants while others prefer teens.
The association partners with organizations such as EMBRACE, which also assists foster families, as well as the Department for Family and Children Services. Silvey said EMBRACE is a "huge resource" for the organization.
Silvey said CCFAPA works with these organizations for various services. It also fills in when these organizations cannot, such as paying for haircuts for children before the start of school.
The group meets monthly except during summer. At meetings, foster parents can undergo two hours of training for certification. He said DFCS has required a minimum of 10 hours per person for each foster home.
Silvey said speakers have trained members on issues such as social networking and what to look for as far as children are concerned; fetal alcohol syndrome; mental diseases; and behavioral disorders. Adoptive parents are not required to complete hours unless they still foster.
As a child growing up in North Carolina, Silvey said his parents took in foster children. As an adult, Silvey has carried this giving spirit with him, as he and his wife, Beth, completed an adoption on March 21.
Silvey said when he first moved to Atlanta, he and his wife were not able to have children. Although he has two stepchildren, the couple began to look at their options. He said fostering to adopt was the easiest and most convenient option for them financially.
Their preference was a school-aged boy, but those plans changed with 16-day-old twin girls, Hannah and Haley. The placement, their fifth, was not supposed to be permanent. However, Silvey said, "As soon as I picked them up in my hands, I was like 'This is it. These are our girls.'"
The CCFAPA is working to find more homes for children and will host Foster Parent Recruitment Day on June 11 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Turner Chapel AME, located at 492 N. Marietta Parkway. Silvey said the event will provide an opportunity for people to learn about classes on foster parenting, the process and what to do post-certification. Organizations such as DFCS, EMBRACE and Babies Can't Wait will also be on hand to answer questions and provide information.
"We will have people come in, enjoy themselves, meet everybody and try to inform people on fostering," he said. "Hopefully (we will) get some more families out there. There's a lot of kids in Cobb County that come in and out of foster care."
He says foster parenting is a hard but rewarding job. "As far as fostering or adoption, you have to love in order to give. It's not about the money," he said. "We certainly don't get rich off of doing anything like this. It's about giving back to children who don't have the stability in their families."
For more information on CCFAPA, visit www.cobbcountyfapa.org, search for the group on Facebook and Twitter (@CobbCnty_FAPA).