MONTGOMERY COUNTY, Va. – There are more than 700 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 in November during the hours of 6 a.m. and 5 p.m. in 30 Days of Hope. The children are of all ages and races and were put into foster care due to no fault of their own. 2022 marks the sixth year 10 News is doing this series.
“We are seeing trends of increased abuse, neglect. We are seeing an increase in drug use. We’re also seeing an increase in domestic violence within our community,” said Heather Linkous, a supervisor at Montgomery County Department of Social Services who sees what these children go through firsthand.
“It’s, it’s a hard thing. It’s a real hard thing to stomach and to work with,” said Linkous.
In addition, Linkous said more kids are also coming into foster care because of missing too many days of school and being reported for truancy.
The biggest reason here in Montgomery County that we can piece together has been COVID fallout, online or virtual schooling. Now that that’s no longer an option, families and children alike are struggling to try and get back into a routine. Sometimes the judge feels that there’s no greater alternative to reconcile a truancy issue other than to place the child into the custody of the department in order to remove the child from the home situation, in order to try and further evaluate and provide additional or different services to remedy the truancy situation.Heather Linkous
Right now, there are about 5,000 kids in foster care across Virginia due to no fault of their own. More than 700 of them can be adopted.
“There is a high need all across the state of Virginia for foster parents and adoptive parents. We’re seeing a really high need for foster and adoptive parents for older youth. Teenagers specifically,” said Linkous. “The skill set remains the same: love, affection, opportunity, guidance. It’s the same across the board for any age.”
Almost anyone can foster once you go through the training. You can be single, married, have kids, not have kids or be empty nesters. Linkous said it takes two to three months once you start the process.
And there is a great need for fosters.
As we’ve been following since May, there’s a foster care crisis in Virginia, with children having to sleep in offices, without showers or beds because there aren’t enough foster homes.
We’ve seen them feel hopeless. They’ve expressed feeling hopeless. We can see their body language. Defeat is oftentimes something that their body language will say. That they’re not worthy, or not loved of having a home or having somewhere to stay that’s not an office building. They deserve the same opportunities, opportunities to receive an education, participate in extracurricular activities, have friendships just like any other child that doesn’t carry the label of a foster child.Heather Linkous
Starting Tuesday, Nov. 1, we’ll profile one child every day who can be adopted in Virginia. We’ll also share the successes and challenges of the foster care system during the month.
If you have questions about foster care/adoption, contact the VDSS Division of Family Services Adoption Recruitment Coordinator at email@example.com.
We also have a list of frequently asked questions about foster care and adoption including the qualifications, cost, and training required in this link.
To see other 30 Days of Hope stories visit us here.