NewFound News for You
Follow along with NewFound Families as we work to support families. In this news column we seek to provide current information about the admininistration of the child welfare system. Become part of our community and join us on Facebook.
October 7-11 is Mental Health Awareness Week. This week was established in 1990 by the U.S. Congress in recognition of efforts by the National Alliance on Mental Illness to educate and increase awareness about mental illness. Did you know that 1 in 5 Americans are affected by mental health conditions? That number increases significantly when we talk about children in our foster care system. According to the National Conference of State Legislators, “up to 80 percent of children in foster care have significant mental health issues, compared to approximately 18-22 percent of the general population.”
Permanency Subcommittee – August 17, 2018
Kinship Care Town Hall Meetings
Allison Gilbreath from Voices for Virginia’s Children reported on the Kinship Care Town Hall Meetings. She has been going across the state to get input and feedback from kinship care families and workers. The most common concern is that they are not getting financial assistance. Medicaid access is a positive, but it is difficult to find providers in the western part of the state. Another concern that was brought up is the lack of information and communication with these families. They aren’t getting information on why the kids were removed. Opioid use is often the issue, but in northern Virginia, serious mental illness is also causing more relatives to take in kinship children. Childcare cost is a significant issue in all parts of the state and in the western part of the state, there are very few childcare options. Minority kinship families are often single parent households. Kinship Navigator is a community-based resource where relatives can go to get information to help care for the children that have been placed with them. The Kinship Navigator has to be a DSS employee, but does not have to be based in the DSS building. Families in some areas of the state are reluctant to go to DSS to access this. There is money through the Family First Prevention Services Act to cover the Kinship Navigator, but not enough money to cover the whole state(each county). They are hoping to cover all five regions and are taking applications from counties. One suggestion to help kinship families would be to increase child-only TANF – even if it could only be increased for kinship families. There is extra money there that is not being used. Voices for Virginia’s Children will be putting a report out in late fall compiling the information from the Kinship Care Town Hall Meetings.
The Child Welfare Advisory Committee (CWAC) meeting was held on August 17th. Following are updates shared by VDSS representatives.
We had the pleasure of sitting down with the new Commissioner of the Virginia Department of Social Services (VDSS). Having had experience as the Program Director for Benefit Services and serving as the Director of No Child Hungry is a bonus for the new role of Commissioner Duke Storen. He has a clear compassion for serving those in need and a rich history of designing and managing services to meet those needs.
We asked Commissioner Storen to tell us about some of the initiatives that are most in the forefront of his first year as Commissioner.
I am most interested in building a whole family approach as the foundation of all we do here at VDSS, including prevention of crises that lead to homelessness, poor health, family disruptions, and so much more.
Have you ever adopted a child?
Please participate in an important Virginia Department of Social Services study!
Your input will help inform the continuum of services and supports available to adoptive families in Virginia.
Please see our FAQ below for eligibility requirements.
Click here to complete our online survey by October 19th, 2018
Join a focus group – Click here to sign up by September 21st, 2018
There are two time slots for each region:
10am-12pm OR 7-9pm. Please sign up for only one.
Look here to select your region (that is, where you live and/or receive the most services).
Central Region: 9/24/2018
Eastern Region: 9/25/2018
Northern Region: 9/26/2018
Piedmont Region: 9/27/2018
Western Region: 10/1/2018
NewFound Families has been working hard to build our Trailblazers Program - a program we developed to train support and mentoring leaders who are willing to start support groups for foster, kinship, and adoptive parents, or mentor newly certified parents and caregivers. Our goal is to develop new support and mentoring leaders in all 5 regions of Virginia.