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UMFS aims to fill lagging foster parent pipeline through virtual information sessions

Leaders at foster care and adoption nonprofit UMFS are worried that 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 Richmond market where individuals can learn more about the process to become a foster parent.

The virtual sessions are held twice a month, though UMFS staff are available for one-on-one sessions, as needed.

Upcoming info sessions will be held on April 28, May 12, May 26, June 16, and June 30 from 6-7 p.m. Interested foster parents can register for a session at UMFS.org/foster or by calling 804.310.7572.

“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. So, 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. And we can’t let that happen.”

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

The process of becoming a foster parent through UMFS takes roughly 3-6 months and the majority of the training can take place online at this time. The home study and CPR certification will resume once COVID-19 restrictions are lifted.

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