Opinion: The VA Foster System 

Written by Madeline Head 
Our foster system in Virginia is devastating and messy. A 16 year old, named Dymond, has moved up to 36 times in the last five years. “It’s the unknown,” she said of what eats away at her. “You don’t know where you’re going next. You don’t know where you’re going.”
 
CBS Richmond news reports, “Virginia has the highest rate of children who enter the foster care system only to never find a permanent home, according to state rankings. It’s called “aging out,” when a child turns 18 and goes out on their own.”
 
Virginia Performs, a state run agency, reports “Virginia also ranked third to last in the average waiting time between termination of rights from original guardians and finalization of adoption.”
 
These children are being lost in the system and slipping through the cracks. Virginia has a need that needs to be filled. These are our children that are suffering and are raising themselves. It is unacceptable that so many of our children are being left in a system that can sometimes end up doing more harm than good.
 
Richmond Times – Dispatch tells us that “One out of five kids in Virginia’s foster care system turns 18 and ages of the system without being adopted, according to the Children’s home Society of Virginia, a statewide organization with offices in Richmond and Fredericksburg.”
 
“It just recognizes that developmentally we’re not really grown when we turn 18 in every occasion and we need to be there to support these kids because we are their legal parents. We have a responsibility to help them succeed,” said Ben Jones, Roanoke County DSS family services supervisor.
 
These teens face a complete and utter ambiguous future. According to the agency, as reported by Richmond Times – Dispatch, “estimates 25 percent will become involved with the justice system in two years; 42 percent will drop out of high school; and 20 percent will become homeless after age 18.”
 
These children are being removed from their homes because of neglect and abuse. They are then thrown into a system that does not better their future. November is National Adoption Month, this issue needs to be discussed as well as addressed.
 
These are our children that are left to fend for themselves against the hardest part of life; no child should have to face it alone. There are many programs out there that are trying to find homes for these children like Fostering Futures but they need your help. This is a cause worth fighting for. Stand up Virginians and defend our children. 
 
NBC12 stated, “They are extremely resilient, they are courageous. They are some of the strongest and most courageous kids you’ll ever come across. They just need someone that’s going to give them a chance and really get behind them and give them the love and support they need to be successful and have a good life.”  

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