Between 2015 and 2017 the number of deaths caused by an overdose of opioid drugs rose by 40% in Virginia, sometimes leaving kids without parents. Those who are addicted are often unable to care properly for children. That’s why one social service organization has put out a call for more foster homes.
Last year, DePaul Community Resources had to find homes for 231 children. “About 50% of the children who come into care are as a result of neglect, but a startling 25% are as a result of their parents’ drug abuse,” says Jamie Snead, a vice president at DePaul.
The agency provides some funding to those who are able to take in foster children, and recruiter Christopher Tompkins says foster parents are trained for the job, learning about child psychology and graining new skills such as CPR, how to work with birth families and knowledge of the foster care system in the state of Virginia.
DePaul and other agencies say they’re happy to place youngsters in good homes with single adults, same sex couples and older people who have raised their own children, as long as they’re motivated to help.
“If you have the capacity and you have the love and passion to help children, you can make a difference in the world of a child right now,” Tompkins says.
And they’re especially pleased when foster homes can accept siblings.
“My favorite story is in our New River Valley area that took a sibling group of five,” Snead recalls. “When the parental rights of the children's birth family were terminated two years later, the foster parents adopted all five of those children.”
The greatest need, she adds, is in Charlottesville, Lynchburg and Harrisonburg.
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