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KVC West Virginia

Where Foster Parents Can Find Resources and Support in West Virginia

Foster parents provide safe, loving and nurturing homes to children when their biological parents are unable to care for them. There is often an abundance of children waiting for foster homes, which creates a dire need for families willing to foster. Currently, 6,222 children and teens are in West Virginia foster care. The process of becoming a foster parent can seem overwhelming, but it doesn’t have to be. Let’s explore foster care in West Virginia, how to become a foster parent and select the ideal agency, and tips for foster parents to stay on top of their own wellbeing. 

A Look at Foster Care in West Virginia

The state of West Virginia no longer provides traditional foster care services, but instead, focuses its efforts solely on kinship (relative) care. However, the need for foster parents remains great. These services are now provided by 10 private agencies in partnership with the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources (DHHR). When Child Protective Services (CPS) has a child in their care who needs a foster home, one of the agencies is called to take over. 

How to Become a Foster Parent in West Virginia

Those who are interested in becoming a foster parent, or would like more information, can get started by contacting KVC. We certify foster parents throughout the entire state of West Virginia. As soon as someone reaches out, our team follows up to learn more about them and why they’re interested in foster parenting. We also answer any questions they have. After that, we share more information about the requirements to become a foster parent in West Virginia. Then individuals are able to sign up for a training class. This training class empowers adults with vital knowledge that helps them care for children in foster care.

Individuals can also contact Mission West Virginia, which serves as a conduit for private agencies. As a neutral party, Mission West Virginia will send information about the agencies nearest to the prospective caregivers while also guiding them through the first steps of the process. Once a decision has been made, prospective caregivers are advised to contact, apply and begin working with their chosen agency. Mission West Virginia stays involved with each agency and performs follow-ups and check-ins to ensure that caregivers aren’t getting lost along their way to licensure and placement. 

Although Mission West Virginia acts as the connector for interested families who contact them directly, many families interested in foster parenting reach out to KVC directly. “Many potential foster parents go to Google first, and contact the agencies, like KVC, right away,” says Kristi Ferrell, Director of Permanency with KVC West Virginia. 

How to Choose the Right Agency

Foster parents provide a meaningful service for the children in their care 24/7, and deserve the strongest support and care. What should you ask about and look for when choosing an agency?

  • Ssocial work careersupport: especially for first-time placements: Support comes in many forms, but caregivers need to feel supported so they are well-equipped to handle the needs of the children in their care. 
  • Direction: The processes or requirements of the foster care system can be confusing to understand without any previous experience. Agencies that provide extra direction and guidance to their foster families are providing additional encouragement and support. 
  • Training: Great preparation is key to success in caregiving. Private agencies have different levels of training, and while some focus more on the necessary information, KVC ensures that foster care training is well-rounded and provides extra resources to help newer foster families thrive. 
  • Communication: Communication between the case manager and the state needs to be up-to-date, clear and consistent. This helps to ensure that the child receives the best care.
  • 24/7 Help: You never know when help may be needed, and for foster parents, having an open-door policy to ask for help at any moment proves to be beneficial. 

Why KVC is the Right Agency for You

foster care myths

When it comes to valuing foster parents, KVC is a leader in the field. Before and after a child is placed in your home, KVC gives your family the tools and training needed to ease the transition, ensure a positive experience and help you and the child adjust to life changes. 

Throughout your foster parent experience, we provide in-home therapeutic and case management support services. And our foster care clinician specialists work hand in hand to create an individualized plan with the goal of helping the child during difficult transitions.

We serve all families equally, without regard to race, color, religion or national origin. KVC West Virginia’s support for foster parents includes:

  • 24-hour access to in-home therapeutic and case management services
  • Unparalleled pre-service and continuing education
  • Dedicated foster parent mentors
  • Connections to local, community-based support groups
  • Respite services
  • Organized foster parent and youth activities & events
  • Annual foster parent conference with training and family & children’s activities
  • Monthly reimbursement for children in your care

Local Support Groups and Mentorship

Another valuable resource for foster parents is the ability to work with local support groups. However, support groups are more prevalent within larger cities and if you’re located in more rural areas, a traditional support group may not be an option. For this reason, KVC assigns a dedicated mentor to newer foster families. These are usually other foster parents who have been in their shoes before and know the ropes. As a valuable resource to have during the process, mentors are available for calls when you have questions or need extra support when there are no other support groups available.

Self-Care for Foster Parents

Foster parents are encouraged to take care of themselves physically, mentally and emotionally. And one of the best ways for foster parents to practice self-care is by utilizing the resource of respite care. 

“KVC highly recommends respite care for foster parents who need a break,” Ferrell says. Respite care gives foster, adoptive and kinship families some breathing room and a small amount of time apart to rest and recharge. During this time apart, the respite family temporarily provides care for the children to allow the foster family a moment for necessary self-care and a mental health check-in. 

KVC is always innovating and looking to improve the quality of care given to children and families within their community. Currently, there is a growing need for self-care resources, and KVC West Virginia looks forward to offering additional programming surrounding self-care in the future. 

Professional Counseling as a Form of Self-Care

Professional counseling is an act of self-care in itself. With the toll that parenting can take on a person, there can be a need for additional help beyond the short break caregivers receive from respite care. In these cases, professional counseling is advised and can provide the necessary assistance that caregivers need to regain balance. To get in touch with a professional counselor for individual counseling, try: 

  • Visiting a physician for a referral
  • Utilizing resource connections through KVC 
  • Contacting friends and family for recommendations 
  • Exploring resources from your employer, like Employee Assistance Programs (EAPs)
  • Asking trusted clergy or religious leaders for referrals

Family therapy through KVC is another option for foster parents. This program specifically works with children and their parents, as “bringing everyone together and working as a team is beneficial to all parties,” Ferrell explains.

Become a West Virginia Foster Parent with KVC

If you’ve been considering the opportunity to become a foster parent, look no further. Here in West Virginia, there’s a huge need for safe and loving foster families. If you decide foster parenting is right for you, you can be sure that you’ll have the support and guidance you need to become a successful foster parent to a child who needs you with KVC. Beyond the in-depth training and added guidance, our supportive team of professionals ensures that you have what you need to provide children with what they need. Contact us today for more information!

Change a child's life forever. Learn about becoming a foster parent.