Southwest Virginia needs foster parents - FOX 21/27 WFXR Roanoke/WWCW Lynchburg News, Weather

Southwest Virginia needs foster parents

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Foster parentsprovide a temporary, safe home for children in crisis but more homes areneeded.

In Virginia, thereare more than 5,000 children in the foster care system.

Roanoke City: 210

Roanoke County: 58

Lynchburg: 133

Franklin County: 74

Rhonda Shivelyraised two sons. When the youngest was a senior in high school, she became afoster mom.

"My boysturned out okay so I thought maybe I could have something to offer" said Shively.

"Anybodycan be a foster parent as long as their heart is into it" said SamanthaBurnette, a foster parent recruiter for Braley and Thompson, a company who workswith the Virginia Department of Social Services.

"Thereare a number of foster children who come into foster care on a daily basis"said Burnette.

The statesays there is more of a need for agencies to place certain types of kids -- largesibling groups, children with multiple special needs and teens.

"You hopethat it makes a difference that you care and that you're here and I'm crossingmy fingers that I'm making a difference. And I know that it does" said Shively,who has fostered multiple teens in the last eight years.

She sayssome days are a challenge but she tries to teach them life skills and do activeslike dinner together.

"They are opening their homes their opening their hearts and theirproviding these children that may have never come from a structured stabilityloving caring environment before and it never had that in their lives" saidBurnette.

You can be married orsingle to be a foster parent, live in an apartment or house. You must befinancially stable but there is a monthly stipend for foster parents. 

It takes about threeto five months to go thru the qualification process and includes training, paperworkand a home study.

There are multipleagencies in the area who work with the Virginia Dept. of Social Services.

You can find moreinformation about what it takes to be a foster parent on the Virginia Dept. ofSocial Services website or Braley and Thompson'swebsite.