Volunteers needed to help children in foster care

The Judicial Citizen Panel Review Program is seeking volunteers to help improve the lives of children in foster care. Interested volunteers may live or work in DeKalb. As sworn officers of the Court, the panel members are responsible for determining what progress has been made in working toward a permanency placement plan for children in foster care.

Olivia Rudder-Wilson, who serves as administrator for the Judicial Citizen Panel Review Program, said the trained community volunteers submit their findings and recommendations to the judge regarding the court-ordered goals that must be accomplished before children return home. If reunification is not possible, other permanency options are explored.

“Our Judicial Citizen Review Program has received awards for outstanding community service from United Way and the DeKalb County Community Relations Commission,” said Rudder-Wilson. “Participation in the panel program benefits not only children and families, but volunteers also gain useful experience and take pride in knowing that they have helped improve the life of a child.”

There are approximately 869 children in DeKalb County in foster care and 135 panel volunteers. Each panel is made up of three to five volunteers, which meets monthly to review cases at the Juvenile Court building on Memorial Drive in Decatur for morning and afternoon sessions that may involve one to three cases.

The next training class is May 25 and May 26, 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. All new volunteers must be available to attend both days. Potential volunteers will be required to complete an application, background and reference check prior to attending the upcoming training.

For more information on the program, contact Olivia Rudder-Wilson at 404-294-2738 or oawilson@dekalbcountyga.gov.

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