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Each year, thousands of children enter Virginia's foster care system. Most often, abuse and neglect due to struggles with addiction are the cause. Foster care provides a temporary place for a child or siblings to stay while the birth family is getting healthy and stable.

WHAT IS FOSTER CARE?

Fostering a child is one of the most rewarding, challenging, meaningful things anyone can do to solve the foster care crisis and be a positive influence in the life of a child.

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Virginia, along with most other states, is in dire need of foster families who:

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  • Understand that reunification to a stable, healthy birth family is often in the child's best interests.

  • Understand that the placement is temporary and short-term.

  • Are willing to work in conjunction with the birth family to ensure the long-term wellbeing of the child.

  • Are willing to take sibling sets, older kids and kids with special needs.

  • Are willing to create a trauma-informed home environment.

  • Are patient at the right times with a system that is overwhelmed and persistent at other times to ensure the best services for their child in foster care.
     

WHO CAN FOSTER?

FOSTER PARENTS CAN BE

  • Single

  • Married

  • Renters

  • Home-Owners

  • Working

  • Stay-At-Home

  • Military

  • 21+ years old

  • ​Pet-Owners

  • Retired

  • Part of small family

  • Part of a big family

...JUST TO NAME A FEW

THE FOSTER FAMILY ROLE

BEING A FOSTER FAMILY MEANS BEING...

An
ADVOCATE
for the needs of children in their care
A
PROVIDER 
of a safe, loving environment
A
PROVIDER 
of a safe, loving environment
A
PROVIDER 
of a safe, loving environment
A
PROVIDER 
of a safe, loving environment
An
ADVOCATE
for the needs of children in their care
A
PROVIDER 
of a safe, loving environment
A
BUILDER
of a special, reliable adult bond
for the children during a difficult time
A
PARTNER
with case managers, court staff, and in some cases, the birth parents in working toward providing the child with a safe, permanent home.

TYPES OF FOSTER FAMILIES

 

Permanence and a sense of belonging are crucial to the development of a child. A loving, safe, and supportive family provides both of these things. When a child is without a family, the results can be tragic. 

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That’s why flexible foster families are so important. 
 

Traditional Foster Parents

Traditional fostering is when a "family" (can be an individual, couple, family with children, etc) opens their home to a child with the intent of providing a safe, loving environment until they can be returned to their biological family. These types of families are most often recruited by each city or county’s local Department of Social Services.

Kinship Foster Care

Kinship Care is the full-time care, nurturing and protection of a child by a relative or someone who has a significant emotional relationship with a child not born to them. It is often considered when children must be separated from their parents as part of an informal or formal arrangement.

There is both Informal (an arrangement made without involvement from the court or child welfare system) and Formal (the child being placed with “kin” through the legal custody of the child welfare agency) Kinship Care Care 

Treatment Foster Parents

"Treatment" Foster Care parents go through a higher level of training to care for children with "specialized" needs (such as having medical or mental health diagnosis). These children all have a "treatment plan" and a therapeutic counselor who works with the foster parents to help the child reach his treatment goals. These types of foster families are most often recruited by private, licensed child placing agencies.

Respite Foster Care

In recent years, Respite Care families have had similar training as foster parents, and would offer short-term care of children. Typically this looks like weekend or week-long care to allow the foster family a brief “respite.” Serving as a respite family is a great way to enter the foster care system slowly to see what it’s like to foster.