ROANOKE, Va. – There are more than 600 children who are ready for 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 5:30 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. 2021 marks the fifth year 10 News is doing this series.
There are ways to support foster and adoptive families without taking a child into your home. You can donate items, time or money through local organizations.
Teddy bears, blankets and clothes are all packed inside a handmade cloth bag for children in foster care.
“We had a group of ladies that decided children shouldn’t bring their stuff in a plastic bag,” said Joy Scott. “It’s been a wonderful thing for our church to be involved.”
A group meets at Rockingham Court United Methodist Church and packs the bags to take to Roanoke City Department of Social Services.
“Our goal was to give as many kids coming in things to where foster parents would not have to go out in the middle of the night or early the next day and get things for these kids,” said Scott. “We try to pack things that will last for at least a week.”
The project started when Scott became a foster parent.
“They wanted to help. They would come to us, ‘What can we do?’ This was a way to help the foster children coming in without having to have a child that you foster in your home,” said Scott.
Another local group makes quilts.
“We found out that there are children that age out of the system and are just left sometimes with very little. We wanted to make something for them to give them a hug, give them some comfort and something they can call their own,” said Kathy Wickham, with the Blue Ridge Quilt Guild.
She said they take special requests, like a teen who wanted a baseball theme. Over the years, they’ve expanded to include quilting for children in foster care or who are adopted.
“We think it’s very important that they know somebody cares about them. They don’t have to know our name, they just know that this is a group of people that care and wants to do something for them,” said Wickham.
Both women say everyone is so supportive of their mission.
“Anytime that I have ever needed a bag within 24 hours the stuff is here to do it and we fill it. I’m very grateful for that,” said Scott.
You can also support families and children through the Care Portal. Patrick Henry Family Services is the partner for about fifteen different municipalities around our region.
Here’s how it works: a church or individual signs up to get involved and can volunteer for specific needs once they are entered into the system. All the needs have been vetted by a social worker through DSS or another agency. There are all kinds of needs including beds and bedding, rent assistance, gas or food cards, or help someone get a car. The Chief Program Officer, Claudia Fletcher, said this helps children from entering foster care, helps support children in foster care, kinship families and children who are aging out of the system.
Fletcher said since launching in February 2020, they’ve served 1,730 kids and made a $622,000 economic impact. She said this is not government money, instead, this is “money from the community, straight out of pockets of people who care into pockets of people who need it”.
It’s important to note, this is not a program that families can request.
The need is greatest this time of year for people to be community responders and help fill the needs of people in the community. You can sign up at this link.
Scott said if you’re interested in helping foster children, contact your local department of social services office and ask what they need, because those needs vary.
If you’re interested in donating or helping with the Rockingham Court United Methodist Church project, you can contact Joy Scott by email at firstname.lastname@example.org
If you have questions about foster care/adoption, contact VDSS Division of Family Services, Juliet Baldwin, Adoption Recruitment Coordinator, at email@example.com.
To see other 30 Days of Hope stories visit us here.
We also have a list of frequently asked questions about foster care and adoption including the cost, training, etc in this link.