Roanoke No. 2 in Virginia for number of kids in foster care

205 children in foster care, only 93 foster families

ROANOKE, Va. – About 4,800 of kids are in foster care across the Commonwealth.

  • Richmond has the highest number at 235
  • Roanoke City ranks second at 205
  • Hundreds of other children are in care across our region

"I just want people to understand that there is a need that's out there," said Dominique Sparrow, who works for the Roanoke City Department of Social Services recruiting foster parents and educating the public about foster care.

Her position is relatively new because of the high numbers.

"For the most part, these kids have just fallen victim to this situation or decisions of their parents," said Sparrow.

Sparrow says the number one reason for kids coming into care is neglect --- parents not caring for their children--- not feeding them, not changing their diaper for an extended amount of time or children found wandering down the street without a parent.

"We are having a lot of younger parents now that still are trying to figure out themselves, let alone figure out how to care for a child. I know that's something that's definitely attributing to our numbers being so high as far as physical neglect, just not knowing what to do and not understanding there are resources out there," said Sparrow.

Abuse is the number two reason, followed by exposure to drugs.

"Based on conversations with workers, we found there are a lot of parents who are not mentally capable of taking care of a child. For example, when the child cries, it doesn't dawn on them that maybe I need to feed the child or change the diaper. We have people in the community that are witnessing these things and they call us," said Sparrow.

Those calls turn into investigations and workers find the accusations true or worse than the reports more than 80-percent of the time, landing innocent kids in foster care.

"They need just one person that will step up and be that light and be that positive role model in their life to help them continue in their development," said Sparrow.

Right now Roanoke City has 93 foster families for more than 200 kids. When there are not enough families, children have to go out of the area or into homes for kids with behavioral problems, even if they they don't have any of those behavioral problems. Sparrow's goal is 150 families by this time next year.

For more information about foster care and adoption, click on this link.

There are some frequently asked questions about foster care and adoption. You'll find those answers here.

If you are interested in foster care/adoption or have questions, contact Cindy Davis at DePaul Community Resources at cdavis@depaulcr.org or 540.381.1848 x 4009 or online at www.depaulcr.org

There are more than 600 children who are ready for foster to adoption in Virginia. They are ready to find a permanent and loving forever family. 10 News is profiling one child who needs a home every day at 6 a.m. and 6 p.m. in 30 Days of Hope. The children are all ages and races and were put into foster care due to no fault of their own.

The top 10 localities with the most children in foster care: 

  • Richmond City (235)
  • Roanoke City (205)
  • Norfolk (188)
  • Virginia Beach (188)
  • Spotsylvania (165)
  • Fairfax/Falls Church (161)
  • Harrisonburg/Rockingham (161)
  • Shenandoah Valley (161)

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