How To Help Foster Children or Adoptive Kids In Virginia
Ways You Can Help Foster Children in Virginia
Three options to help foster children in Virginia
One recurring question I am asked is this: "How can I help our foster kids in Virginia?" Well, here are a few suggestions to help you do your part.
Become a foster parent- There will be over 5,000 children in foster care in Virginia in 2022. Of these children, 1,800 have the goal of adoption, and more than 600 are waiting for adoptive families.
These children come from all cultural and socio-economic backgrounds. They are frequently school-age, 5 to 14 years old, and part of a sibling group.
These numbers are pretty staggering, and the Virginia department of social services and other child welfare agencies are always focused on improving the foster care and adoption process. We are always focused on the foster youth, the children, and the families that support them.
We understand that our goal in the foster care system is for the local department of social services to return the foster child to the birth parents a child in foster care is meant to be temporary, not a permanent solution. We always help foster families to work with social workers and trainers to be supportive and trauma-informed when supporting a child, if this is respite care, traditional foster care, or adoption.
These children need you! Consider this: for each child, we can help provide a home and another child's life saved. The best way to help foster kids in Virginia is to become foster parents, take them in, and help them thrive in your care.
During our foster parent training, I often do the Trash Bag Exercise. The point is to illustrate to the foster parents how it feels (even if for a moment) to place your worldly possessions in a trash bag, then be removed from your home, not once, but perhaps multiple times. Some of the stated feelings elicited by the participants were trauma, fear of the unknown, sadness, shame, anger, and hopelessness.
We do this exercise because it is typical for many foster kids to carry their belongings in a trash bag as their removal is sudden and without notice. It is regrettable, but it is a reality for many kids. We ensure our youth have suitcase toiletries and a blanket.
We're incredibly thankful to the many big-hearted folks who take the time to donate these items, as it provides the necessary assistance to help cushion such a traumatic experience. You, too, can help by giving donations such as these to help benefit a foster child in need.
Share your foster parenting experience/Encourage others to foster
If you've ever fostered a child, now is your time to encourage others to do the same. We can host all the training we'd like and provide all the critical facts and statistics we want, yet the reality is nothing is more encouraging than hearing from someone that has experienced it directly. Share your foster care experience, and use it to encourage others to foster.
TESTIMONIAL to help OTHER POTENTIAL foster parents join the team
Remind them why you chose to foster or adopt and how it impacted the lives of the children you've taken in. Your testimony alone can very possibly be the encouragement or motivation needed for another potential foster parent to get involved in the process of becoming a foster parent and ultimately save a child's life.
Hopefully, these suggestions can provide insight into how you can help foster kids in Virginia. You've seen the numbers, heard the stories, and now all we need is YOU.