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Can you help a foster child find a home?

RICHMOND, Va. (WTVR) – Across the commonwealth, more than 1,300 children are in Virginia’s foster care system. Around 30 percent of these kids will “phase out,” or stay in the system until they turn 18 years old.

A local movement by one adoption agency is underway to curb this statistic.

“Statistically, we know that when a child is not placed with an adopted family, and they simply age out of foster care, the outcome is dire,” Nadine Marsh-Carter, President of Children’s Home Society of Virginia, said.

Marsh-Carter said 25 percent of teens who phase out of the foster care system will end up in jail by the time they are 20 years old, and one in every five will be homeless.

But the transition from foster care to adoption is made easier by good foster homes, she said.

To help ensure that foster children have good homes to live in, Henrico County Department of Social Services holds periodic informational sessions for residents interested in becoming foster parents.

A crowd of over a dozen came out to one held Thursday night.

These meetings hold new importance now because the number of children in Henrico’s foster care system increased in 2012 to 94 kids, up from 73 at this point last year.

“It will be beautiful,” said Beth Mack, who attended Thursday’s session.  “It might be a lot of dark on the way to beautiful, or a lot of confusion for everybody, but really the basics are going to be there.”

Mack planned on going through the training process to become a foster parent.

“Foster care is a great short term solution, and adoption is at the other end of the spectrum. It’s more permanent,” Marsh-Carter said.

To learn more about the adoption process, visit Children’s Home Society of Virginia on their website:  www.chsva.org.

Also, residents of Henrico County interesting in becoming foster parents can contact the Henrico County Department of Social Services.  Please call Georgia Phillips at (804) 501-7496 or Riva O’Sullivan at (804) 501-7182.

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