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Connecting Hearts by building support


Every year JFS Connecting Hearts uses National Foster Care Month to raise awareness about the nearly 1,000 children in Central Virginia’s foster care system.

This year’s theme of “Engaging Youth. Building Support. Strengthening Opportunities” mirrors the efforts of JFS Connecting Hearts to build forever homes for children in foster care and promote fostering through kinship.

Connecting Hearts is not only dedicated to finding stable loving homes for children ages from 0-17, but also to advocate for young teens who are at risk of “aging out” of the foster care system. Twenty percent of children who age out of the foster care system become homeless and are at a higher risk of drug abuse.

Only half will obtain employment by age 24. Over 70 percent of female foster youth who age out will become pregnant by 21, and one in four former foster care youth will experience PTSD; higher than an army veteran’s PTSD diagnosis.

This is why Connecting Hearts works hard to help strengthen existing relationships shared between the youth and any supportive adult in their life.

Giving them a safety net for when life gets tough so they’ll have somewhere to turn. A positive relationship with one loving adult can change an at-risk teen’s life and help them develop into a confident adult.

JFS Connecting Hearts takes it a step further by partnering with CBS 6 to emphasize the need for more foster and adoptive families. CBS 6 will be featuring stories of families who have opened their homes to teens who are being pushed out of the foster care system.

These families are focused on setting a foundation for kids who will soon be adults.

There are many ways you can help support local kids and teens in Greater Richmond foster care if you aren’t ready to foster. You may know a family that has foster children; that’s the perfect opportunity to lend a helping hand with meal deliveries or contributing to school supplies and holiday toy drives for kids.

Whether it’s volunteering your time through coaching recreational sports or becoming a mentor in your community mentorship program, these gestures can make a big impact in a child’s life.

JFS Connecting Hearts is working diligently to find foster families who reflect the full diversity of central Virginia. There is a need for all type of households; two parents, single parents, LGBTQ parents. Anyone with the time and love to give can foster a child.

Visit jfsrichmond.org/connecting-hearts To learn about JFS Connecting Hearts and ways to get involved.

Jewish Family Services is supported, in part, by a generous annual campaign contribution and programming and other grants from the Jewish Community Federation of Richmond.