Foster Care Parents

Information about becoming a foster parent.

Page updated on Jul 18, 2019 at 1:08 PM

Alexandria Needs Foster Families

Did you know that there are children and teens in your community who need foster parents?  They could even be the child sitting next to your own child at school or playing on the soccer team with your 13-year-old, or singing along with your toddler at preschool.     

Children and youth in foster care are frequently separated not only from their families, but also from their friends, schools and communities. By becoming a foster parent, you, your neighbors and other community members make it possible for a child to stay in the same school and participate in other regular activities such as sports, church, scouts, and other activities.  

Successful foster parents have two things in common: they have a desire to help children, and they can adapt to challenging circumstances. Most importantly, foster families are willing to provide a safe, stable and caring home for children and teens.  

If you are interested in learning more about becoming a resource for Foster Care, attend an information session. 

Information Sessions

Thursday, August 15
Burke Branch Library 
4701 Seminary Road
Alexandria, VA 22304
6 p.m.—7:30 p.m. 

Monday, September 9
Burke Branch Library 
4701 Seminary Road
Alexandria, VA 22304
6 p.m.—7:30 p.m.               

See the brochure on becoming a foster parent or call the Resource Home Recruiter at 703.746.5858 for more information.  

What is the Role of a Foster Parent?

Foster parents help support families in a time of crisis. They work as a team with the child’s social worker, teachers, doctor, birth family, and counselors. They are dedicated to protecting children and offering hope to each child’s family.  Their impact reaches far beyond the child in their care because they provide a positive influence across the community.  Foster parenting is filled with both challenges and opportunities and is an opportunity to care for children who can benefit greatly from your love and support.     

Who Are the Children in Foster Care?

In 2018, Alexandria had a monthly average of 90 children and teens in foster care.  Children and teens in foster care come from a variety of diverse backgrounds, ethnicities and cultures and all have unique strengths and needs.   

Children range in age from birth to 21 years. Almost 50% are teenagers. Many have brothers or sisters in foster care. Most have experienced abuse or neglect. Some children and youth have special needs and may be physically, behaviorally, mentally or emotionally challenged. Some may need foster parents with special care-giving skills due to physical health issues or developmental delays. Infants may be medically fragile and some children have challenges due to a parent’s prior drug or alcohol abuse. Some children have not experienced the usual routines of family life and need extra understanding and patience. All foster children are affected by separation from their family.       

When you become a foster parent, you become part of a team that is dedicated to protecting children, supporting families, and helping young people develop their fullest potential. Foster care is all about teamwork. Foster parents offer a loving and nurturing home where each child can feel safe and is celebrated for his or her unique gifts.  

Requirements  

  • Able to accept a child who needs a lot of patience, understanding and love
  • Over the age of 25
  • Married, single, divorced, LGBT
  • With or without biological children
  • Employed inside or outside the home
  • Able to demonstrate financial stability
  • Living in a house or apartment in Alexandria or the surrounding Virginia area
  • Attend an orientation, pre-service training, and ongoing training  

Adopting a Child from Foster Care  

When a child does not return home or go to live with relatives, foster parents may be offered the opportunity to adopt. In fact, approved foster parents are dually licensed for both foster care and adoption. Similar to foster parents, adoptive parents may be married, single, gay, straight, divorced or widowed.  The most important quality all adoptive parents must have is the willingness to accept a child for his or her own sake without expecting the child to resolve family problems or fulfill family ambitions. They must also have the capacity to love and nurture a child not born to them who may have ongoing emotional or behavioral issues due to trauma suffered before entering foster care.

   

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