Other Ways to Help
Not everyone can foster or adopt,
but everyone can do something to
be the solution.
There are many ways to be the solution for children, families, and workers in Virginia’s child welfare system.
The following are other important ways you can get involved:
Support Birth Families
Investing in Birth Families is one of the best ways to go “upstream” and ensure transformational changes in lives and in the system. It can ensure a strong identity for the child, healing for the family, and breaks long-term, generational challenges. Ensuring strong birth families is also a good way to keep future siblings of the at-risk child out of foster care.
Support Kinship Families
When children are removed from their home, social workers first try to find a reliable relative or close family friend who can take the child into custody instead of having to place the children in foster care. But just like foster families, these families also need support from friends, family and their community members in order for both them and the child newly in their care to thrive.
Wrap Around Support
Within a year, only 50% of foster families still have a child in their home. Within 5 years, that number drops to 7%. A lack of social support is often the number one reason why families quit fostering. Imagine every foster family with team of educated friends and family to "wrap around" them with meals, lawn care, babysitting, errands, and other needs.
Support Foster Care Workers
An estimated 75% of child welfare workers suffer from PTSD. 1 out of 4 social workers leave the foster care system due to burnout doing an often thankless, trauma-filled job. We know of local DSS offices here in Virginia who throw themselves a party each March for Social Worker Appreciation Month, because no outside organization has ever offered to. Showing appreciation for social workers is an easy way to improve the system!
Support Those "Aging Out"
Each year over 500 children “age out” of foster care in Virginia, meaning they turn 18 without a permanent family. These young adults are some of our most vulnerable citizens, with 89% becoming incarcerated, pregnant, addicted or homeless with 2 years. Many of these teens have relationships with their birth family, but many more deeply desire and need relationships with healthy stable adults.