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Teen finds team to score touchdown in life: How new DFCS program could prevent child abandonment

Trey bounced around from family to foster care and even a group home. Now, one program has turned his life around. Here's why it's not widely available.

Rebecca Lindstrom, Lindsey Basye

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The joys of football include the rush of the run and the roar of the crowd when a touchdown is made. While we all celebrate the one holding the ball, it takes a team to walk away with the win. So it is, in the game of life.

Trey Smith knows what it’s like to have a team setting up the supporting plays to help achieve the victory. Of course, for Trey, football is simply a metaphor, a way to think about therapeutic foster care (TFC).

“It was a whole different, total ballgame,” Trey’s foster mom, Annmarie Small said.

Trey came into the custody of Georgia’s Division of Family and Children Services (DFCS) when he was five.

“My teacher called DFCS and told them that my arm was burnt,” Trey recalled.

Since then, he’s lived with relatives, a foster family, and in a group home. Between the abuse, bouncing around and a mild intellectual disability, Trey didn’t just need housing and love, he needed behavioral therapy. 

Credit: WXIA

To get it, DFCS connected with Creative Community Services. CCS starts with a pretty basic question that all too often gets lost: What does this child need?

“Everyone’s coming to the home, at least four or five workers come in and we sit around the table and we talk. Trey talks,” Small explained.