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Shenandoah Valley Social Services celebrates Foster Care Awareness Month

Published: May. 4, 2021 at 5:52 AM EDT
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AUGUSTA COUNTY, Va. (WHSV) - Foster Care Awareness month was proclaimed back in 1988 by the United States Department of Health and Human Services.

“The intent of foster care is to provide a safe environment for children and youth who temporarily cannot live with their families,” the agency states on their website.

Here in the Shenandoah Valley there are numerous children in need of support. Members of Shenandoah Valley Social Services say there 138 children currently in foster care.

“They say it takes a village to raise a child and it truly does with foster care. Even though we have folks who have stepped up we have awesome foster parents in our community, we do need the community’s support one to raise awareness about the need for foster parents but two to support those families that have said yes to taking children into care,” Lauren Wimer said. Wimer is a senior family services specialist for Shenandoah Valley Social Services.

Wimer says there are other ways to help foster children outside of becoming a foster parent.

“One is spreading the word about the need, word of mouth is our biggest recruitment tactic so the more that we can just talk about the need for foster care parents in our community the more that it can reach folks who may not have otherwise know the great need that we have in our community,” She added.

For those who may not be ready for a full commitment as a foster parent, there is an option to be a respite family.

“If a family with a long term foster placement needs a weekend for self care or they have a business trip or they are going out of town and they can’t take the child with them then we are able to provide short term care with another approved foster family,” Wimer explained. “They have to go through the whole approval process to provide respite. We do background checks, home checks and make sure that they are able to provide care and meet our safety standards but it is that short term piece.”

To find more information on how to get involved with foster care in the Shenandoah Valley, click here.

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