Foster care parents needed to provide good homes for children in Rockbridge County

DePaul Community Resources partners with Rockbridge DSS to train foster parents

ROANOKE, Va, – Dozens of children in Rockbridge County have nowhere to call home and the opioid epidemic is playing a major role in the need for foster families.

DePaul Community Resources said it's a foster care crisis. The nonprofit is stepping in to help recruit, train and support foster families in Rockbridge County. 

They specifically need treatment foster homes, which are those who can help take care of children exposed to the opioid epidemic.

Foster parents for 15 years, Cathie and John Butler welcomed more than 10 children in their home in Rockbridge County. 

"It's really great to see the kids grow and have an attachment," said John Butler. 

They say this experience is a joy and rewarding. 

"A lot of them have never had a bed to sleep in and to be able to have food and sit at the table. Just the things that we take for granted, reading stories to them. They just eat it up," said Cathie. 

With 10 biological children of their own, they decided to take fostering to the next step. 

"We hadn't planned on doing other things with our lives and at this point, we've adopted two little 5-year-olds. We've got a long road ahead of us but we were excited about it."

Rockbridge DSS was previously under investigation following documented reports of child abuse and two incidents of children dying in foster care in Rockbridge County that the department ignored. But this should not deter people from giving children a good home. 

There are currently 50 children in foster care in Rockbridge County, and not nearly enough homes in which place the children. This means they're sent to places across Virginia. 

"Which means they're away from their friends, switching schools," said Emily Moore, regional recruiter. 

The rising number of children in foster care is primarily because of the opioid epidemic affecting Rockbridge County. 

"Younger children that are substance exposed infants or have experienced their parents doing drugs or having substances around them as children. And the older teens, we're finding that they are getting into using substances themselves," said Moore. 

The Butlers want to encourage others to give fostering a chance. 

"You think, 'I can't do this' but you'll find out if you're just a person that cares about people, you can handle it," said John. 

"And to just try it and see and they'll be surprised, I think," said Cathie. 

DePaul expects the number of foster children in Rockbridge County to increase so they're dedicated to finding safe, loving homes in the area. 

To learn more about DePaul Community Resources or becoming a foster parent, visit  or contact Emily Moore at 434.455.3727 ext. 6523.

About the Author

Irisha joined the WSLS news team in January 2017 after spending four years as a reporter in Georgia.

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