Unique partnership working to help foster kids stay local

Social workers say having kids close is better for them and their families

There are more than 750 children who are ready for adoption in Virginia. They are ready to find a permanent and loving forever family. 10 News is sharing the stories of one child who needs a home every day in November 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. 2023 marks the seventh year 10 News is doing this series.


A unique partnership is helping kids stay local when they enter foster care.

“We are constantly thinking outside of the box on how we can give children the best possible outcome. And that’s to be raised in the family,” said Heather Linkous, a supervisor at the Montgomery County Department of Social Services.

They’ve been able to keep children in the county, or close by, thanks to a partnership with Giles County and Floyd County.

If a child needs a home, they can go to any of the three counties.

Linkous said it’s been a success.

“Montgomery County, much like many of the other counties in the New River Valley. It’s just a different culture, so moving to a larger city, kind of like Roanoke City becomes a bit of culture shock. School systems are larger,” said Linkous. “Sometimes they struggle. Service providers are different. It’s just a bigger area. Maybe not as many mountains, not as many fishing holes and other small town commodities that they’re used to.”

Social workers said having kids close is better for them and their families.

“It’s everything, and I mean, honestly, just to have families and three different counties that are so close it makes it so much easier for all of us,” said Melissa Morgan, who works with families as a Montgomery County DSS Family Service Specialist. “Keeping kids local means stability for the kids [and] also helps with visitation with parents. You want them to have normalcy, and the more moves that you have with a child, the more trauma it causes, so having them local being able to have visitation with their parents and making things just feel more normal for them.”

Currently, there are less than 60 kids in foster care across all three counties. But Montgomery County has a lot of teens.

“Offering them the opportunity to have homes within their own community, where they’ve already had many, many years of school with their peers that they consider their best friends or they’re involved in sports teams through their schools. We want to allow them to continue to do those things,” said Linkous.

But to do that, they need foster parents.

“We need tons of foster parents,” said Morgan. “We know that everybody does want the smaller kids, but honestly teenagers, they need love too and there is an abundance of them. We are having to go all over the state. I have kids in Richmond. I have kids in Northern Virginia. Honestly, if we could keep them all local; that is a big priority for us.”

If you are interested or have questions about foster care/adoption, contact the VDSS Division of Family Services Adoption Recruitment Coordinator, at adoptioninquiries@dss.virginia.gov.


There are about 5,000 children in Virginia’s foster care program and more than 750 of those children can be adopted. If you have questions about foster care/adoption, contact the VDSS Division of Family Services Adoption Recruitment Coordinator, at adoptioninquiries@dss.virginia.gov.

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 qualifications, cost, and training required in this link.


About the Author:

You can see Jenna weekday mornings at the anchor desk on WSLS 10 Today from 5-7 a.m. She also leads our monthly Solutionaries Series, where we highlight the creative thinkers and doers working to make the world a better place.