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Family Foster Care Services

Family foster care offers a temporary home for a child who can no longer live with their previous families due to abuse or neglect as defined in the Virginia Code section 63.1-248.2.  The goal of family foster care is to provide a safe, nurturing home for children to live until they can be reunited with their own families, placed with relatives or adopted.  Foster care is defined by State policy as "a state mandated services provided through federal, state and local funds."  Foster care services means the provision of a full range of casework treatment and community  services for a planned period of time to a child and their family.

Who are foster parents?

Foster parents are parents who enjoy parenting, delight in all children and are willing to share their home, time, energy and love with children who have special problems due to the trauma they have endured.

Can relatives become foster parents?

Relatives may become approved foster parents and will work with the agency to reunite the child with their family or take custody at the permanency plan hearing.  

Who are children in foster care?

Our children range in age up to 18 years old.  Some may have been victimized by abuse or neglect.  Some may be physically or mentally challenged; some may have emotional or behavioral problems but all are children that need a loving, secure stable family and a positive home environment.  

How long can they remain in your home?

A child's stay in foster care may be as short as overnight or longer depending on the permanency plan for the the child and family.  Their family has one year from the time the child or children enters foster care to remedy the situation that brought the child or children into care.  

What is the goal of foster care?

The goal is to reunite the children with their families.  When this is not possible, we look to family members to take custody.  If there are not any willing family members to assume custody, the agency would pursue termination of parental rights.  The foster parents would be given the first opportunity to apply for the adoption of the child/children.

Financial Assistance

A foster family will receive a monthly maintenance payment to help with expenses while the child is in the home.  All children will have dental and medical coverage. Children with special needs might require enhances or special care.  Foster parents who must provide extraordinary care and supervision for their child might qualify for an enhanced maintenance payment to meet the special needs of the child. 

What is Adoption?

Adoption is the permanent, legal transfer of parental rights and responsibilities from a child’s birth parents to adoptive parents. The most common way to adopt a child is by adoption of children in foster care. Adoption can also be independently arranged directly between birth parents and adoptive parents or through international adoption of a child from another country.

How do I know adoption is right for me?

Right now, you probably don’t know. Maybe you’ve considered adopting. Maybe you haven’t. If you’re sure of anything, it’s that you want to have a child, and that’s a good enough place to begin. Now it’s up to you to consider all the options. With a little effort, you’ll quickly discover that adoption can be a rewarding and affordable choice. Not only will you change the life of a child, you’ll change your own as well.

What kinds of people adopt?

Adoptive parents don’t have to be “perfect people” living perfect lives. They are everyday people with real lives full of ups and downs. Adoptive parents don’t have to be of the same race or the same ethnic background as the child they adopt. They don’t have to own their own home or have a minimum income level. If you feel you have something to give and want to provide a safe, stable and nurturing environment for a child, you are probably the kind of person who adopts.

Will this be expensive for me?

The cost of adoption depends on the type of adoption you choose. Adopting a child from the public foster care system is not expensive. In fact, there are funds available to help you pay legal fees and monthly subsidies are sometimes available to help with the care of an adopted child. In addition, there are adoption tax credits and many employers offer adoption benefits.

Who is waiting to be adopted?

All kinds of children. Ages range from toddlers to teenagers. Virtually every race, ethnic group and socioeconomic category is represented. Some children have needs that may require special attention, but all of them have one basic desire: a safe and loving family.

Will I have to answer many questions?

Because the agency has to be certain a family and child are well matched, they need to know about you and your family and the kind of environment you can provide. They aren’t being nosy; their goal is simply to ensure a healthy, safe place for the youngster. Any information they request is sought with that in mind.

Where do I begin?

Start by learning as much as you can about adoption. Check you local yellow pages under “Adoption” or “Social Services” for local information or search for the word “adoption” on the Internet for more resources.

For information on trends in U. S. Adoptions, please visit  the Child Welfare Information Gateway website