Foster Care can play a pivotal role in the life and development of a child by nurturing home and stability.
Foster care offers a safe and stable environment for children who have experienced abuse, neglect, or other forms of trauma. It removes them from harmful situations and provides them with a supportive home environment where they can begin to heal. Foster care ensures that children's basic needs, such as food, shelter, clothing, and medical care, are met. Foster families and the foster care system work to ensure that children have access to healthcare, education, and other essential services.
Learn more about foster care below, or Sign Up Through Family Match, or attend one of our Virtual Foster Parenting Information Sessions on Zoom.
Frequently Asked Questions
Foster families are “regular people” in our community and they don’t all look the same! They share only a desire to help other local families heal, as well as to provide safety, love, and stability to children in need of a temporary home. Foster parents may be married or single, they may rent or own, and they may or may not already have children in their homes and/or have any parenting experience.
Our program serves local Roanoke County and Salem families of all cultural and socioeconomic backgrounds. Our children in foster care are of all ages, though the majority are above the age of eight. We receive very few infants into our care. We have an ongoing need for foster families to host teens and sibling groups.
These are the best ways to begin your journey as a foster parent.
- The first step is to complete the online Family Match form. The form allows you to share some additional information about your family and placement preferences. After we receive this form, a team member will connect with you to answer any questions you have.
- You may also start your journey by attending a Virtual Foster Parenting Information Session on Zoom on the first Tuesday of every month. This information session will give you an overview of our program, and give you the chance to ask our team members any questions you have.
Foster parents must be able to provide a safe, stable home. They must be able to meet children’s developmental needs, and address any developmental delays. They must support children’s relationships with their birth families, and work as a member of a child’s professional team to achieve permanency goals. Foster parents have good communication and problem-solving skills. They are open to learning new parenting skills to support children who have experienced trauma. Foster parents are patient and flexible, and a good sense of humor doesn’t hurt!
All families are dually approved to foster and adopt. However, our department is focused on family reunification. Our primary goal is to reunite foster children with their families of origin, or placement with safe and appropriate relatives or other adults known to the children. Adoption becomes possible only after all means of accomplishing reunification or relative placement have been exhausted. While many foster families do ultimately adopt, this generally occurs after multiple years of supporting reunification and relative placement goals.
We have a small number of children with adoption permanency goals who have not yet been matched with a pre-adoptive family. If you have an interest in learning more about a teen for whom we’re actively seeking a forever family, please ask!
A key element of the training and assessment process is helping you to decide what type of placement would be the best fit for your home and family. We will help you consider parameters around age, gender, and level of need, and whether short-term or long-term placements may be best. You may decline any placement that is referred to your home. However, all children in care have specialized needs as a result of the trauma they have experienced, and the trauma of coming into foster care. Most children in foster care have needs and behaviors related to the trauma they have experienced in addition to age-appropriate needs and behaviors. Families with extremely narrow placement preferences may not be a good fit for foster parenting.
Foster parenting is both challenging and rewarding. Our goal is to equip you with all the necessary tools and resources so that your family is successful during your fostering journey. During the assessment process, you will receive training on the child welfare system, child development, the effects of trauma, and how to support birth family connections, among other topics. You will meet regularly with our trained staff to collaboratively prepare your home and family to foster. Post placement, our staff will provide individualized support to both the youth and your family. You will have access to respite care and 24/7 emergency support. Foster parents receive a monthly stipend to help support the costs of caring for a child. Foster parenting truly changes lives, including yours! We’re here to help you figure it all out.
Facts About Our Local Foster Care System
Within the Roanoke County area alone, more than 100 children are currently in the foster care system. Further, we have families caring for children currently through fostering and Kinship Caregiving, but we continue to need more caregivers to help youth age 10 and up. See more information below about the differences in placements for younger and older children.
Additionally, according to the Virginia Department of Social Services (as of December 2021), more than 5,000 children are currently in foster care within the state of Virginia. Of these children affected be foster care, more than half are over the age of 10 years old.