Devereux foster parents honored by the Adoptive & Foster Parent Association of Georgia
The Adoptive & Foster Parent Association of Georgia (AFPAG) recently named Devereux Georgia foster parents Stacey and Shatee Cooks as its “Foster Parents of the Year.”
The award, presented during AFPAG’s 45th annual conference in late February, commended the Cooks for providing exceptional foster care services in the state of Georgia. This is not the first time the Cooks have been honored. Last December, they were selected as Devereux Georgia’s “2017 Specialty Foster Care Foster Parents of the Year” for their commitment to youth, and for their partnerships with internal and external stakeholders.
“We are delighted that Stacey and Shatee Cooks were named AFPAG’s ‘Foster Parents of the Year,’” said Devereux Operating Vice President Gwen Skinner. “They are an outstanding example for all foster parents and they are making a significant difference in the lives of so many children. On behalf of everyone at Devereux Georgia, we honor and celebrate this deserving couple.”
The Adoptive and Foster Parent Association of Georgia (AFPAG) works to unify all foster parents, agency representatives and communities to benefit children who have been abused, neglected or abandoned, and come into the foster care system for a safe, loving environment. Click here to learn more about AFPAG.
Hands-on Devereux experience
What makes the Cooks so successful? Passion, dedication and commitment, along with experience and training that began in 2012, when Shatee Cooks joined the Devereux Georgia team. During his five years with the organization, Shatee Cooks held various roles, including: direct support professional, case coordinator and Project P.L.U.S. (Positive Living with Supports) staff member. Project P.L.U.S. is an independent living group home at Devereux Georgia for young men between the ages of 16 and 21.
Coupled with these experiences, the Cooks became foster care parents in Devereux Georgia’s Specialty Foster Care program. Specialty Foster Care parents provide nurturing homes and help children live safely in the community while they receive treatment for serious emotional and behavioral challenges. Learn more here.
Foster youth express their thanks
Awards aside, the most gratifying reward is from the couple’s current and previous foster children. Here’s what several youth wrote about their experience with the Cooks.
“The Cooks have helped me in ways I never thought of – they have impacted my life by trying to push me to express my feelings more, and being able to trust people. The most important thing they have done is to stay consistent and reliable. They have never lied to me; if they said they were going to do something, they did it.”
“The Cooks have been able to shape my life in a way that I feel no other foster home did, and that is by providing a family. They treat me as if I am their own son, as they congratulate me whenever I do well and pick me up when I fall. They even got me to be more confident in myself. The time I have spent here has made it feel as if a weight has been lifted off my back.”
“The Cooks taught me how to be respectful and how to act right. I know everything they taught me will help me in the future because they taught me how to be a civilized person.”
“I know many things now that I didn’t know before, like how to tie my shoes, how to cook certain foods, and how to be a kid and not try to be a parent.”
“Mr. Cooks teaches me how to treat women by showing me how he treats his wife. Mrs. Cooks is the backbone of the house and she is always there when I need her and the first one to correct me when I mess up. Together, they have made my life so much better and I am grateful to have parents, a role model and support system like them.”
To learn more about Devereux’s foster care programs and services, click here.