Support for foster families comes to Wythe County

WNYTHEVILLE, Va. – There are almost 50 kids in foster care in Wythe County, but a few local organizations are working to support these families in more ways than one.

“You look at Wythe County, there are probably 40 some kids in care, [and] there are about 20 foster homes,” said Brandy Page with the Southwest Virginia Crossroads Coalition. “The reason that is, is often because those families do not feel supported. It’s not that we don’t intentionally support them, it’s that we don’t know how.”

The Southwest Virginia Crossroads Coalition has helped launch multiple programs to support local foster families in partnership with Virginia Kids Belong and the Wythe-Bland Department of Social Services.

Along with Care Portal, a website to help find families in need of essential items, they have started the Foster Friendly Business program.

“We believe that with the support of local businesses, foster families will continue to say yes to fostering,” said Matt Verlander with Virginia Kids Belong.

The idea is to have discounts available for foster families to help ease financial stress.

“They can customize an offer for foster families,” said Verlander. “We have a coffee shop in Wytheville that offers a percentage off a cup of coffee.”

They also have brought in another way to help support families at the start of fostering through Care Closet.

“They exist to allow the Department of Social Services to access critically needed items for the first 24-72 hours that a child is placed, or for a child to remain safe and stable with their biological family,” Page said.

Page said while her situation was a bit different, having support when it is needed the most can go a long way.

“We would’ve been much better in the long run to have that outside connection,” Page said.

Inside the care closet, there are essential items for children that they would need at a new home.

If you would like to find ways that you can support foster families, you can find Virginia Kids Belong here, and the Care Portal here and the Southwest Virginia Crossroads Coalition here.

About the Author

Thomas grew up right here in Roanoke and is a graduate of Salem High School and Virginia Tech.

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