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Info sessions held for foster parents

Leaders at UMFS, a child and family services nonprofit, are worried mandated closures and social distancing measures related to the COVID-19 pandemic could cause gaps in the foster parent pipeline later this year.

To proactively address the potential problem, the organization is holding virtual information sessions in the southern and western regions of Virginia, where individuals can learn more about the process to become a foster parent. UMFS serves families in and within a one-hour radius of Farmville.

The virtual sessions are held every Tuesday and Wednesday from 4 – 5 p.m., though UMFS staff are available for one-on-one sessions, as needed. Interested foster parents can register for an upcoming information session at UMFS.org/foster or by calling (434) 447-8630.

“We have seen the impact that crises have on foster parent recruitment, and we’re getting ahead of that by offering virtual information sessions to keep our pipeline full while people are staying home,” said Nancy Toscano, COO at UMFS. “The threat to finding homes for our youth isn’t right now, it’s six months down the line. If we don’t act swiftly, we’ll be in a dire situation where children in need of safe homes won’t have anywhere to go. We can’t let that happen.”

Attending a virtual information session is the first step to becoming a foster parent. The info sessions are led by UMFS staff and cover what to expect as a foster parent and what qualities make a strong match based on the children and teens UMFS serves.

The process of becoming a foster parent through UMFS takes roughly three to six months, and the majority of the training can take place online at this time. The home study and CPR certification will resume when COVID-19 restrictions are lifted.

For more information about becoming a foster parent or to register for a virtual information session, interested individuals can visit UMFS. org/foster.