Southwest Georgia social worker recognized for reuniting foster children with parents

Marlisha Lumpkin, a social worker with the Georgia Division of Family and Children Services who serves Lee and Terrell counties, was recently recognized for her reunification efforts.

ATLANTA — A social worker for Lee and Terrell counties recently earned recognition for her efforts to reunite foster children with their parents.

Marlisha Lumpkin, a social services case manager with the Georgia Department of Family and Children Services, along with a select number of colleagues from the state’s 14 regions, received a certificate and recognition at a luncheon in their honor.

“Marlisha Lumpkin is truly a hero in her community for her professionalism, compassion and effectiveness in enabling families to solve their personal crises and return to caring for their children,” State Reunification Manager Samantha Walker said. “She proves our approach works when we partner with parents on a reunification plan and work together to equip parents for the toughest job there is – being a mother or father.”

June was Reunification Month, and this is the first year DFCS used it to recognize employees, foster parents and service providers for their success in getting families back together. Each month, an average of 313 families are reunited in Georgia.

“Our goal is to strengthen families so they can provide safe, stable, loving homes for their children,” Division Director Tom Rawlings said. “We help them through whatever struggles may be interrupting stability, and if things were serious enough to require the child to be temporarily removed from the home for safety reasons, then we rush to get the family back on their feet and reunite them as quickly as possible.”

The division works each year with the families of tens of thousands of children across Georgia. Less than 5% of the reports of alleged maltreatment result in the need to remove the child from home over risk of imminent danger.

Of those placed in foster care, the majority are eventually reunited with their families.

Lumpkin said she understands the importance of partnering with parents to work through issues that need addressing before reunification can take place. In serving families in Lee and Terrell counties, she has helped parents overcome such issues as domestic violence, substance abuse, inadequate supervision and more.

When a juvenile court judge decides a child must be removed from home and placed into foster care, the division finds foster parents to provide a temporary home. Foster parents are always in short supply.

Anyone interested in learning about becoming a foster parent can visit www.fostergeorgia.com or call 800-210-KIDS.

In a few cases, parents are not able to prove to the judge they are fit to provide a stable home and the court orders the child up for adoption. To find out about adopting, visit www.itsmyturnnow.dhs.ga.gov.

Staff Writer

I'm a 2007 graduate of Georgia Southern University, and I've been a reporter for The Albany Herald since 2008. I cover news related to health care, Marine Corps Logistics Base-Albany, SOWEGA Council on Aging and other areas as assigned.

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