SOUTHWEST VIRGINIA (WFXR) — May is National Foster Care Month and in Virginia alone there are nearly 5,300 children and teens in foster care, but unfortunately there currently aren’t enough foster care homes to fulfill the needs of these children and teens.
Foster and adoptive parents, Scott and Carolyn McLucas say a lot of people ask, “why should I foster or adopt?” when it should be rephrased as why shouldn’t I?
“I think you need to seriously look into the practicalities for your own family, how it would impact you but also it’s important to look beyond ourselves and think about how how I can impact the life of a child and how important that is. We’ve had kids from 8 months old all the way to 13. We haven’t taken any teenagers older than 13 and I think just everything about them touches your soul.”Carolyn McLucas, Foster and Adoptive Parent
“Roanoke City and Roanoke County Department of Social Services have a combined 317 kids in foster care. Lynchburg city DSS right down the road has 162 kids in their foster care program. Lynchburg, Roanoke City and Roanoke County are all in the top 10 counties in the state of Virginia out of about 127 localities for having the most children in foster care.”Emily Moore, Regional Recruiter for DePaul Community Resources
It’s happening right here in southwest Virginia, children and teens come into foster care at no fault of their own, often abuse, neglect or family substance issues… and with more than 5,000 kids in the Virginia foster care system there are only 3,000 approved foster homes. DePaul Regional Recruiter, Emily Moore says on a fraction of those homes are open and able to take a placement.
Foster care is designed to be temporary with the ultimate goal of reuniting children with their family of origin or birth families but in the meantime, these kids need support.
“It’s really important to provide a nurturing home where there’s some regularity. You know, you have a schedule, you have hygiene, you have support from your family or your church, or your friends… and for kids to see kind of how a traditional family works, even if it’s not completely traditional but a functioning family when they come from such dysfunction.”Carolyn McLucas, Foster and Adoptive Parent
The McLucas’s have fostered 11 children and have adopted 3 young men through DePaul Community Resources. They say the family feels blessed they’ve been able to give back through fostering.
“God created us not to just be self centered but to be other centered and when we do that the rewards are great. I mean it just brings us great joy when we help somebody and everybody seems to know that you’re more blessed when you give than when you receive. It’s just a benefit but again, it doesn’t mean it’s going to be easy. It comes at a cost but the cost is worthwhile.”Scott McLucas, Foster and Adoptive Parent
The need for foster homes in southwest Virginia is great and while the McLucas’s share their personal experience, the team at DePaul understands the fears of the unknown or unfamiliar process of fostering as well as the reservations one might have. That is why DePaul provides foster parent training and a multitude of resources to assess whether this is the right path for you and your family.
To learn more about DePaul Community Resources and the fostering process, click here.