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FACES of Virginia Families Launches Open Arms Initiative

(RICHMOND), Virginia's  FACES of Virginia Families, a non-profit support association has established the Open Arms Initiative as an effort to assist families in adopting children from the Virginia foster care system, and assist children currently in the system find a family that might be of interest to them.

"During the past four years, Virginia's Social Service system has been working on a system redesign to promote permanency for children in foster care. The FACES Open Arms Initiative is our commitment to supporting the child welfare transformation begun by Anne Holton, First Lady of Virginia." indicated Lisa Mathey, FACES Board President. "There are over 860 children in Virginia waiting for a family of their own.  We want to help those children find their forever family."

The FACES Open Arms initiative will go live on January 4th for Virginia families. The organization hopes to have at least 25 active family albums available for review at the end of the first month of operation.

“For years we have had pictures of children displayed in public sites for families to welcome to their homes. We believe it is important for children to also have a vehicle for meeting pre-screened families who might meet their needs. The FACES Open Arms Initiative promises to do just that…show children there are open arms waiting to welcome them into new families right here in Virginia,” according to  Cate Newbanks, Executive Director of FACES of Virginia Families.

"A family interested in adopting a child from foster care must go through tremendous screening before children can be considered for placement in their homes, and FACES respects and honors that process. It is important that children are only placed in loving and appropriate homes. Families featured on our website must provide us with a letter from their agency indicating they have an approved home study, including a cleared criminal background check and are currently or have recently provided foster care as an approved foster home in Virginia," stated Mathey.

Kathy Sauter, Vice President of Adoption for FACES, reported, "FACES is actively seeking  Open Arms applications, including digital photos and letters from families and agencies, so that families can be featured on the site beginning in January.  Families can download the Open Arms application on our website, and submit it to our office by mail to FACES, 3900 West Broad Street, Richmond, Virginia 23230; fax to 804-239-1252; or email to

FACES is currently featuring one family from Central Virginia for the launching of the new website on January 4, 2009; however, the organization hopes to receive at least one application every day following the official launch of the program.

About FACES of Virginia Families: Foster, Adoption, and Kinship Association

FACES of Virginia Families is a non-profit charitable organization governed by foster, adoptive, and kinship families through a Board of Directors.  The FACES mission is to provide a unified voice for children, youth, and families involved in foster, adoptive, or kinship families so that all children and youth are treated with dignity, respect, and equality.  FACES is a vehicle for Family, Advocacy, Collaboration, Empowerment, and Support by families and for families.

For more information on educational programs, resources, and support related to foster care, adoption, and kinship, call our WarmLine (877 VA FACES) or visit



The Open Arms Initiative is a voluntary effort to help families become connected with waiting children in local departments of social services or private agencies foster care programs. FACES makes no claim as to the appropriateness of any family featured on the website. Local departments, private child-placing agencies, and the courts are the only entities authorized to determine appropriateness of specific families for children. FACES requires each application for the Open Arms Initiative to be submitted with a letter of recommendations from the agency which has approved the family's home study, including their criminal background check. This is the only information that FACES requires prior to developing and placing the individual Family Albums on the Open Arms Initiative's web pages on the FACES website.

Open Arms Protocol and Application

NewFound Families

Adoption, Foster, and Kinship Association
PO Box 85
Ashland, VA 23005
Email for information