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Roanoke County in desperate need of foster families

ROANOKE COUNTY – Roanoke County is in desperate need of foster families. As more kids come into the system, the Department of Social Services fears they will have nowhere to go. 

"We keep seeing an influx in having to bring kiddos in just because of safety situations. It's really challenging at the moment," said Amber Tiller, resource recruiter for the Roanoke County Department of Social Services.

Roanoke County has about 80 to 90 foster kids in the system and right now, there are only two approved foster homes without placements.

"We're all just looking out for the safety, well-being and permanent options for these kiddos," said Tiller.

For a foster parent in Salem, the decision to take kids in was easy. 

"Our children were grown and gone and we had a big house with lots of bedrooms and still had a lot of energy so we decided to see if we could help and we've absolutely loved doing it," said Michele Meinhart, a foster parent. 

Roanoke County puts future foster parents through an extensive training course. There are background checks and home assessments. It is a process, but foster system staff members and foster parents agree it's worth it. 

"The benefit is the opportunity to say I gave that kid a different outlook. They have seen this one way of living and I got to give them the chance to say you don't have to live like that," said Tiller.

"You learn so much from them. I hope I have given them as much as they have given me," said Inez Farrell, a respite, or short-term foster parent. 

Next month, Roanoke County will be hosting an information session about fostering called Inspire Hope Foster Youth. The session will be July 20 at 6:30 p.m. at the Glenvar Branch Library.  

For information on how to become a foster parent, click here.