May is Foster Care Awareness Month
This is Holli McVeigh, I’m a Family Services Specialist at the Highland County Department of Social Services.
May is Foster Care Awareness Month. Here in Virginia there are more than 4,600 children age 18 and under in foster care. Every one of these children deserves the security and stability that only a family can provide. Foster care should be a support system for families in need, not a substitute for parents. Child welfare agencies, courts, and related professionals can help keep families together with the right mix of supportive services and partnerships. Foster families play a vital role in collaborating with birth families to be a support to the family and help meet the children’s needs.
At this time, there are no Department approved foster homes in Highland County. This means when a child needs an alternative living situation for their safety and wellbeing and kinship has been ruled out, the child has to be placed outside of their community. They are farther away from their family and usually have to change schools. You can help children stay in their community by becoming a foster family.
Choosing to become a foster parent requires the willingness and the commitment to support children’s relationships with their families in order to make reunification possible. Children’s kin-first culture focuses on families for children and not children for families. Foster parents need to possess the time and energy to give to children, and must be supportive of children’s ongoing relationships with their families.
The primary requirements to be an approved foster care home include but are not limited to:
- Successfully completing pre-service training
- Actively participating in a Mutual Family Assessment that includes a minimum of three (3) face-to-face interviews
- Submitting a national Fingerprint Criminal Record check, a child abuse and neglect history check, and a DMV check
- Families must also ffer a safe, welcoming home with adequate space for children.
If this is something you and your family are interested in please call the Highland County Department of Social Services at 540-468-2199 ext. 305.