Garrett & Amber Holcombe

Our primary foster parents become full-time caretakers to the foster youth placed in their care. As a licensed sibling reunification agency, we focus on foster homes able to take in 2 or more youth. The increased work of caring for multiple foster youth is balanced with higher daily payment rates, low case management turnover, applicable and relevant trainings, foster parent support groups, and partnerships with respite foster parents to provide an occasional break.

Garrett and Amber Holcombe were two of our first foster parents. In June 2018 the siblings that they had fostered for 908 days became part of their family. Their story shows clearly that fostering is not always easy, but it is rewarding beyond belief. Garrett was willing to share their Goshen Story.

“In late December 2015, Amber received a call from Cherokee County DFCS asking us if we would be willing to foster the children of one of Amber’s friends should the children be removed from their home that night. We immediately said we would be happy to do so, and the next day we had an 8 year old boy and 10 year old girl in our two-bedroom townhome with us. Having never been parents before we got a crash course in parenthood.”

“After a rough first few months of fostering, I caught up with Zach Blend and he described the new foster home branch that Goshen Valley had started. He invited Amber and me to sit down with him and the director of Goshen Homes. Zach was a lifesaver. He and Goshen Homes surrounded us with love, support, and resources like a big, warm hug! We became licensed foster parents through their tutelage and were able to receive training so we could provide for our precious foster children’s physical needs as well as their emotional needs. The case managers, support staff, and directors with Goshen Homes were so knowledgeable and supportive of us as much as they were with the kids.”

“The process and journey of fostering a child can be turbulent. I liken our sojourn through 2.5 years of fostering as being a boat on the ocean with no engine – you are at the mercy of the wind, weather, and waves. In our case, we had moments of calm in between being tossed about by storms – biological parent visitations and hectic communications, court dates with little or no progress, and the children’s negative reactions to both. Goshen Valley was always there for us, checking in and making sure Amber and I were prepared for whatever might come our way.”

“On June 25th, 2018 after fostering them for 908 days, we welcomed Matthew and Samantha as forever part of our family. What started as nothing more than wanting information turned into finding our forever family. Without Zach Blend, along with the marvelous folks at Goshen Valley and Goshen Homes, we wouldn’t be where we are today. We owe so much to Goshen Valley and cannot thank them enough for all they have done for us. While our fulltime foster campaign may have come to an end, we will soon be providing respite care for other Goshen Homes families.”


Greg and Virginia Elder

Our respite foster parents become the “cool aunt and uncle” to our foster youth. As a respite foster parent, you are able to have an incredible impact on a foster child without the full time commitment of having them live in your home. In addition to the impact on the child, respite care allows our foster parents to take a breather and recharge.

Greg and Virgina Elder have been respite foster parents with Goshen Valley for over two years, and they have shared some of their Goshen Story. 

“We became interested in foster care after attending the Cherokee Homecoming panel discussion in early 2016. At this event we learned that there were over 100 children from Cherokee County in foster care who were having to be housed outside of Cherokee County due to a lack of foster parents within the County, and that siblings were being spilt up in the process.”

“After some discussion, prayer, and discernment, we determined that our schedules would not permit us to be full time foster parents.  Then we learned about Respite Foster Care.”

“We learned that full time foster parents need a “break” from time to time, and we learned of the obstacles to traveling out of state with foster children. Respite Foster Care was a solution that also helped full time foster parents from “burning out”.  Knowing that there was already a shortage of full time foster parents in Cherokee County, Virginia and I decided that Respite Foster Care was a way we could help.  With grown children and 2 empty bedrooms we felt God calling us to move in this way.”

“Our first placement was a teenage boy who we kept for around a week. Since we both still work full time we were grateful that Goshen Homes had an agreement with the YMCA where we could take him during the day.  The evenings were filled with several adventures including a Braves game, fishing at a nearby pond and watching fireworks from a boat on the 4th of July.  We enjoyed our time with him and were sad to see him go as he returned to his full time foster family. Our time since then has included older boys and more recently, two sisters. We’ve kept them twice now, and they have captured our hearts.”

“These children deserve and need a loving environment.  Their full time foster parents need a breather from time to time.  As a Respite Foster Care parent you control your schedule, and the Goshen Team supports you in every way possible.  Your commitment is whatever you make it, whenever you can make it.”

“Respite Foster Care is well suited for busy, working couples who have a little extra room in their homes, their schedules, and in their hearts for children who need to know that others care. If you have any questions about Respite Foster Care, we would love to talk with you.”


2017 Year End Review


An Interview with Claire Parker

Claire Parker has been in the role of Therapeutic Case Manager with Goshen Homes for six months. Her responsibilities include establishing a relationship with the children when they come into care, helping ensure a smooth transition into Goshen Homes and helping foster families get the support they need. Some of the support she provides are supervised visits, transportation help with kids, along with communication and emotional support through the journey of fostering.

When asked what she loves about working for Goshen Valley she said, “It is the passion for the work we do. It always goes back to the children that we serve and it is evident everyone’s heart is in the right place.”

Claire is very hands on in her role and always shows great care to the families and children she serves. One of the most fulfilling parts of her job is visiting with our Goshen Homes families and watching the children interact in their new environment. She said, “you can see the good fit and connection between the two and it makes me love my job!” It is a unique process for the children and foster families when they begin to integrate into foster care. Claire is able to be there with the child from day one and beyond. She is a first-hand witness to the amazing transformation that takes place.

Being a case manager comes with its trials but the “wins” make up for the difficulties. From Claire’s experience she said that the most amazing thing is seeing God’s hand at work in placing the kids where they need to be. Our team works hard to make the right decisions in placement but Claire said time and time again we see that “the kids always land where they are supposed to land.”
We are incredibly thankful for the way Claire serves and loves the youth in our care!


Goshen Homes: Informational Meetings

Join us for an informational meeting to learn more about becoming a Goshen Homes foster family and our unique Professional Foster Parent employment opportunities.

Informational Meetings Scheduled the Third Tuesday of every month from 6-7:30 pm at:

G. Cecil Pruett YMCA

151 Waleska St

Canton, GA 30114

RSVP to [email protected] or 770-345-9535

*childcare is provided with RSVP

Goshen Homes FAQ:

Q. Who is Goshen Homes?

Goshen Homes is the new foster care program of the Goshen Valley Foundation. Goshen Homes is a licensed Child Placing Agency that partners with DFCS to recruit, train and equip foster families to provide stable and loving homes to children in foster care.

Q. How is Goshen Homes different from other Child Placing Agencies?

The Goshen Valley Foundation is piloting a specialized foster care program specific to Sibling Reunification in Cherokee and Bartow counties. We are looking for foster families that are willing to take more than one child in an effort to keep siblings together when they enter foster care. Unlike other agencies, Goshen provides an enhanced financial model and therapeutic programming that includes support and training to ensure our families have what they need to take in sibling groups.

Q. Are there costs involved to become a Goshen Homes foster parent?

As a foster parent you must prove financial stability as part of the home study process. However, Goshen recognizes the financial burden that comes with adding multiple children to your household. Goshen does not want your financial status to be a barrier to ministry and therefore is prepared to assess your financial needs and offer an enhanced financial model that may include assistance with housing costs, food, transportation and potential salary for stay at home parents. Financial assistance varies depending on how many children you are fostering.

Q. Does a Goshen Homes foster family have a say in choosing children?

Yes. Goshen Homes serves children between the ages of 0-18. During the home study process you will discuss the type of children you are interested in fostering. Through the home study process we will determine how many children and what types of children are the best match for your household.

Q. How long do foster children stay in care?

The length of time varies according to the needs of the children and their families. Some children are placed briefly (a few days) while some remain for months to years.

Q. Are the children available for adoption?

Yes. When reunification with their biological family is not an option, an adoptive family for the children is sought.

Q. What responsibilities does the foster parent have?

Foster parents are responsible for the 24/7 care of the children in their home. Children in foster care have unique needs and may require counseling, visitation with birth parents and other needed appointments while in the foster home. With the help of Goshen Homes staff, foster parents ensure that the children's physical, emotional, spiritual, medical and educational need s are met. This includes coordination, transportation, and advocacy for the children placed in their home.