VDSS’ Divisions of Child Care and Early Childhood Development, Licensing – Children’s Programs and Public Affairs have been working collaboratively over the past few months to design and develop the department’s first ever child care microsite-www.childcareva.com/. The site will serve as an online “hub” for child care tools, resources and information. Designed specifically for parents, providers and other interested parties, this microsite is a wealth of knowledge in a variety of areas including licensing, legislation, child care options and guidance, search tools and much more. The microsite’s functionality is user-friendly to ensure intuitive navigation and a more engaging experience. Check out the new microsite today!
Little Known Facts About Foster Parenting
- Single individuals as well as married couples can become foster parents
- Over 80% of Virginia’s foster parents adopt a child who they fostered
- There are national organizations that provide training, support and advocacy for foster parents
- Foster parents have a right to attend court hearings on their foster child and can discuss their concerns with the judge
- Foster parents also are expected to help develop the service plan for the child with the social worker
A message from the Commissioner of Virginia Department of Social Services:
Right now in Virginia, nearly a third of the 869 foster care youth awaiting adoption are teenagers. This is why I am so excited about this year’s National Adoption Month theme: “We Never Outgrow the Need for Family”. This year, as the Virginia Social Services System continues the hard work of identifying permanent, loving families for all of Virginia’s waiting children, we will work especially hard to emphasize the need for permanent families for older youth in foster care.
Throughout the month of November, our website and social media sites will feature adoption information to assist families and adoption professionals on a weekly basis. On November 21, in honor of National Adoption Month, many local departments are hosting adoption celebrations throughout the Commonwealth. These and other events are so important because child welfare professionals, as well as prospective and current adoptive families, need relevant information regarding waiting children, the adoption process and post adoption services. Awareness is a critical component of increasing interest, understanding, and ultimately the connections made toward the goal of foster care and adoption.
Last year Governor McAuliffe appointed Debbie J. Johnston as the State Adoption Champion. This past spring, Ms. Johnson established Connecting Hearts, the Debbie J. Johnston Charity, to bring awareness to the number of foster care youth available for adoption, and the need to recruit foster-to-adopt families across Virginia. In just a short year, Connecting Hearts visited all five regions across the state to gather feedback from public and private child welfare professionals regarding barriers to adoption. Today, VDSS’ Division of Family Services, in collaboration with Connecting Hearts, is hosting the first annual Adoption Summit for adoption professionals. The summit will provide workshops on successful recruitment efforts and strategies as well as testimonials from former foster youth. Governor Terry A. McAuliffe and Secretary William A. Hazel, M.D. are attending this special event, to applaud adoption professionals for their work in finalizing adoptions for 620 children last year, and support our efforts to find permanent homes for the 869 children still awaiting adoption in Virginia.
Thank you for your efforts to help raise awareness about the adoption of children and older youth from foster care! I encourage you to visit the National Adoption Month 2015 website https://www.childwelfare.gov/topics/adoption/nam/, which has adoption resources for a variety of audiences, including prospective and adoptive parents, birth parents, adopted youth and adults, and child welfare professionals. The website contains resources, stories, and videos on topics including ways to recruit families for older youth, outreach tools, and information for prospective adoptive families.
For more information about National Adoption Month and to learn about local programs and activities in your community, visit the Adoption Event Calendar, http://spark.dss.virginia.gov/divisions/dfs/ap/festivities.cgi, or contact Sondra Draper, Adoption Specialist, at [email protected].
I cannot thank you enough for your diligence in identifying lifelong connections for our waiting youth. This is special work that affords children the love and support they need to achieve successful outcomes as they enter adulthood. Have a great and productive National Adoption Month!
Each year as autumn begins, we match Christmas gift donors (church, civic organization, business or individual) with children in care. Each child submits a wish list and donors buy and wrap several items from the list (within limits of affordability and availability)
Christmas Project 2015 has begun… letters have been sent to local churches and to interested businesses and individuals… later this month we will ask children to send in their wish lists… as we get wish lists we will match them to donor groups (early to mid November)… that will give donors time to coordinate their activities, buy, wrap and deliver gifts to our Verona office between December 14 and 18.
Wish Lists are arriving… being matched to donors… Thanks to all who are participating!
Send your mailing address to Heather Hudnall at [email protected] for more information.
CRAFFT: The Consortium for Resource, Adoptive and Foster Family Training
CRAFFT promotes the safety, permanency, and well-being of children by helping shape stronger foster, adoptive, respite, and kinship families (collectively referred to as resource families) who serve local Departments of Social Services (LDSS) to meet the needs of children and youth in Virginia’s child welfare system.
CRAFFT’s goals are:
- to increase the knowledge and skills of prospective and currently approved resource families through the development and delivery of standardized, competency- based, pre-and in-service training, as required by VDSS; and
- to build capacity among (LDSS) to train and assess their own families.
Learn more by visiting http://www.crafftva.org/
There is a CRAFFT Coordinator assigned to each of the five VDSS regions to respond to the pre-service and in-service training needs of LDSS resource families and LDSS staff. Most of the trainings offered by CRAFFT are open to all LDSS resource families and staff in the assigned region. However, occasionally trainings are limited to resource families and LDSS staff from one agency/locality.
Or contact our Coordinator directly:
Current or prospective resource families interested in participating in a training provided by CRAFFT should contact their LDSS worker to express their interest. LDSS will contact CRAFFT to schedule trainings and to enroll prospective parents.