Foster Care Crisis

By: Amy Kehm
By: Amy Kehm

The number of children in the valley's foster care system is rising and the number of foster parents is dwindling.

The foster care problem is a statewide problem, but in the Shenandoah Valley, it's being labeled, a crisis.

Kris and Mike Brement have been foster parents for 12 years, “

"We did a lot of short term foster care, the 3 o'clock in the morning care, until they can find a home, so we've had over a hundred children now,” says the Brements.

Still they stick with it, four adoptions later, they're still opening their home to more children.

"When they come in, they're part of the family as long as they're here,” the Brements comment.

This is just one of the homes that is full, as the county struggles to fill the need.

"In Staunton-Augusta, we have a large amount of foster homes that are being utilized and we are finding that we need more homes,” says Becky Orebaugh, a foster care worker, "This past year, we've had a larger volume of children come into care."

Statewide, in the past five years, the number of children in foster care has doubled. Homes haven't.

Social services is appealing to families to help out. The qualifications? Be interested in children and be willing to invest time in them. And they promise, you'll reap the rewards.

"We have some remarkable people throughout the community, but I don't know any task that is so hard and yet some rewarding as being a foster parent,” says Social Services Director Carol Brunty, "We've seen some of our values rub off onto them for the good and it's really nice to know that even if we haven't made a huge difference, there's still some values there that they've learned."

If you want to learn more about becoming a foster parent, here are some numbers to call.

Call Deb Hillard or Becky Orebaugh at the Augusta County Social Services Office. Both women are eager to talk with you if you think you can make a difference in a child's life.

50 North Main Street Harrisonburg, VA 22801 540-433-9191 - Switchboard 540-433- 4028 - Fax 540-433-2700 - News Fax

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