What to Expect When You Contact Mission West Virginia to Learn More About Foster Care and/or Adoption in WV

Mission West Virginia’s FrameWorks program has been working with families for nearly 20 years as they navigate the certification process to become a foster and/or adoptive parent. Our FrameWorks program staff are very knowledgeable about foster care and adoption in West Virginia and several have even been through the certification process themselves.

call Mission West Virginia

You may have thought about becoming a foster parent or adopting in West Virginia but you aren’t sure where to start or what to expect if you contact an agency. We are here to provide assistance as you take the first steps in your foster/adoptive journey; we can answer any questions you might have and help you decide if foster care is a good choice for your family.  

So, what happens if you give us a call, or fill out our online information request form? You will be given the choice if you’d like to receive a an emailed copy of our information guide or if you would like a paper guide mailed to you. It’s important that you fill out the inquiry form completely so that we can reach you the best way and make sure we understand your interests. If you call, we can answer any questions you might have and if you fill out our online form, you can request a phone call if you’d like to speak with someone on our staff.

Our recruitment guide includes the steps to certification, questions to ask agencies when deciding which agency is right for your family, frequently asked questions, family stories and more. You will also receive a list of agencies that serve the county you live in, this list is important because the agency you choose will be the one that completes the certification process with you.

By requesting information or calling us to ask questions,  you aren’t signing up for anything, you are simply requesting more information.

WV Families Needed with bridge ad.jpg

The need for loving and supportive foster parents in West Virginia is dire. If you’ve been “on the fence” about opening your home and life to kids in foster care, now is a great time to learn more and start your journey. We look forward to hearing from you. If you prefer a phone conversation, call us at 866-CALL-MWV. If you would prefer to fill out our online inquiry form, click on the following link: Request Information About Foster Care and/or Adoption in WV

  You can also send us an email at fosteradopt(at)missionwv.org

Myths and Realities About Foster Care and Adoption in West Virginia

MYTH: 

adoption myths.jpg

You have to have a lot of money and own a house to foster or adopt. 

REALITY: 

You don’t need to own your own home, or be wealthy to foster or adopt.  There are no specific costs to be certified as a foster parent (there may be small costs such as background checks or purchasing something for your home, such as a smoke detector).   Most adoptions from foster care are free and any minimal costs associated with them are often reimbursable. In addition, there are different types of post-adoption resources, such as medical assistance and adoption subsidy, based on the specific needs of a child, to help support and sustain adoptions from the foster care system.


MYTH: 

Each child has to have a room of their own.

REALITY: 

Each child needs a bed of their own, not a bedroom of their own. (Children sharing a bedroom must be of the same gender).  They also need a space for their personal belongings.  In some instances, however, there may be child-to-square-feet requirements or behavioral concerns that will prevent children from being able to share a room.


MYTH:

I could never do foster care because I would get too attached to the child(ren) and be too upset when/if they leave.

REALITY:

Children who have experienced abuse and/or neglect need foster parents who will provide care and love and yes, get attached to them.  Most foster parents feel that the heartache they may experience when a child leaves is worth it to know that they helped a child who needed them.  The primary goal of the foster care system is to reunify families, when it can happen safely.  Foster parents who can provide temporary, loving care for children are an important part of this process. 


MYTH:

A birth parent or another relative can take an adopted child back.

REALITY:

Adoptions of children from foster care are legally binding agreements that do not occur until the rights of all parents have been legally terminated by a court of law.


MYTH:  

Only married heterosexual couples can foster or adopt.

REALITY:

Families of all shapes and sizes foster and adopt.  You can be married, single, divorced, or cohabiting. There is no “perfect” type of foster or adoptive family— all types of families are needed for all types of kids. 


MYTH:

Children end up in foster care because of their own juvenile delinquency.

REALITY:

Nearly half of Americans incorrectly believe that children end up in foster care because of their own juvenile delinquency — that they are “too bad” or troublesome to deserve a loving family. In actuality, these children enter the system due to parental abuse or neglect, not through any fault of their own. Children who do exhibit behaviors can respond to the safe and supportive  environment of a foster/adoptive home which leads to better coping skills. It can be very rewarding to see a child respond to the love and positive reinforcements of  their family.


MYTH:

Foster/Adoptive Parents need to be under the age of 50.

REALITY:

According to the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption,  almost one in four adopted children live with a parent who is 55 years or older. What matters is a parent’s willingness to commit to parenthood.  WV policy requires that foster/adoptive parents be between the ages of 21 and 65. 


MYTH:

I have to be a stay-at-home parent.

REALITY: 

Parents can work full-time jobs and use childcare options.  Financial childcare assistance is provided for parents who work full-time.   


MYTH:

I cannot have pets in my home if I am a foster/adoptive parent.

REALITY: 

Foster/Adoptive parents can have pets in their home. WV Policy requires all pets kept at the home must have proof of vaccination/certification which is required by West Virginia Code §19-20A-2. If the animal is sickly or vicious, it must be confined in an area not accessible to children. Children will be instructed in the proper care methods before they are allowed to handle or care for an animal. All children must be carefully supervised when handling or caring for an animal.


MYTH:

I have to have parenting experience to become a foster parent.

REALITY: 

There many foster parents that do not have biological children. Foster parents are responsible adults who have made a commitment to care for a children in need of a safe and loving home with a family to provide them with love and support.  There are also resource available for  foster/adoptive parents who seek support and training on parenting issues.


MYTH:

I cannot have pets in my home if I am a foster/adoptive parent.

REALITY: 

Foster/Adoptive parents can have pets in their home. WV Policy requires all pets kept at the home must have proof of vaccination/certification.   All children must be carefully supervised when handling or caring for an animal.

 

Overcoming Childhood Trauma and School Success by Amanda H Davis, M.Ed

kids learning

When a child experiences a crisis of parenting that leads to him or her being removed from the home, complex trauma has occurred. Complex trauma occurs through repeated and prolonged exposure to trauma-inducing situations, most of which take place in a care-giving situation. This type of trauma has adverse effects on school success, even when there aren’t a lot of outward signs that the child is traumatized.

Among the possible negative effects are, delays in all areas of development; higher drop-out rates; lower academic achievement; higher suspension rates; higher rates of referral for special education and emotional symptoms of trauma can negatively impact concentration and memory.

Like a needle on a record player, complex trauma wears a groove in the brain. So when something non-threatening happens that reminds us of a traumatic incident, our bodies replay the traumatic reaction—mobilizing us to either run from or fight the threat, while shutting down other systems that help us think and reason. If this happens over and over, we become more easily triggered into a fear response mode, never giving our bodies time to recover.

For a child in a classroom, something as simple as the teacher raising their voice or accidentally getting bumped by another classmate can steer that child into this groove. As a caregiver, you have already taken the first and most important step in helping a child overcome trauma—you have removed the child from the toxic environment and provided love and safety.

Researchers have found that there are three main factors that can help the healing set by the National Child Traumatic Stress Network (NCTSN) Complex Trauma Task Force. It is called the ARC Model:

1.building secure Attachments between child and caregivers(s);

2. enhancing self-Regulatory capacities; and

3. increasing Competencies across multiple domains.

Here are just a few practical ways caregivers can support school success and healing from trauma using this model. For more tips, visit our The Bridge page:

missionwv.org/the-bridge

Attachment - Be sensitive; create clear and concrete safety plans with the child; allow children to tell the story of the trauma they experienced; maintain usual routines; promote family activities; remind them repeatedly that they are cared for and be sensitive to even minor transitions which can trigger feelings of trauma.

Regulatory (self-control and positive choices) - Help expand their “feeling” words so they can easily express themselves; give them choices to regain a sense of control and anticipate challenging situations and provide additional support.

Competency (building skills) - Engage them in activities that stimulate the mind and body; praise the child publicly and discipline privately; keep high expectations but provide many resources to achieve; constantly encourage and support - this creates confidence and greater success; be patient and manage expectations - don’t demand perfection.

Free and Low Cost Events for Kids in West Virginia

summer kids

We’ve put together a list of free (or very little cost) kid friendly events that are happening around West Virginia this summer (2018).  This list doesn’t have every event around the state listed but we hope you find it useful. Let us know if there are any events, camps or festivals that you think we should add to this list! Thanks and have a great summer!

Huntington

Beginner Tennis - Free, multiple dates. 

Lessons are for children ages 5-12. There will be two one-hour sessions each Monday, at 9 a.m. and 10 a.m. All equipment will be provided. To register visit www.ghprd.org.

Funington - Free

https://www.facebook.com/events/784954385037280/?active_tab=about

DIFFERENT LOCATION EACH MONDAY
Join the GHPRD Recreation Team on a Summer Junior Naturalist Parks Expedition! Each Monday from 1 to 3 pm, the GHPRD Recreation Team will be a different park hosting a variety of kids naturalist activities. 

July 2 - Westmoreland Park - Hoola Hoops
July 9 - April Dawn Park - Camping 101
July 16 - McClelland Park - Yard Games
July 23 - Rotary Park - Disc Golf
July 30 - Ritter Park - Puppet Show Finale

Christmas in July - Free

https://www.facebook.com/events/215742999218046/

Don’t be a Grinch! There’s only six months left until Christmas. The Greater Huntington Park & Recreation District is excited to celebrate Christmas in July at Ritter Park. Christmas in July encourages people of all ages to get in the Christmas spirit a little early! This event will kick off with an arts & crafts hour, as we will make Christmas ornaments, followed by an outdoor showing of Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas! A special surprise visitor might even drop by! 

Wear your ugliest Christmas t-shirt, bring your chairs or blankets, and join us at Shelter 2 in Ritter Park at 7:30 p.m. on Friday, July 27, 2018, for this free event. The movie will start at 9:00 p.m. All supplies will be provided. Concessions will also be available for purchase. 

For more information contact Development & Recreation Manager, Lauren Carte at lcarte@ghprd.org or call 304.696.5954.

Kid’s Day - $5 and age 2 and under Free

June 6 – August 29, 2019

Kids Days (in partnership with HIMG and part of Funington - Huntington Fun For Kids) are held every Wednesday from June through August. Thanks to Huntington Internal Medicine Group, the admission price is a reduced $5 for all ages 3 and up (2 and under FREE)! 
Come enjoy our Petting Zoo, Wagon Rides, MakerSpace, Children's Activities, Discovery Zone, Artisans, Museums, and special unique programming every week! We will also be running our brand new Wild! Heritage series throughout the summer to teach children about wildlife conservation!

Website: https://www.heritagefarmmuseum.com/visit/events/

Club McFinn Junior – Huntington Mall - Free

Tuesday, July 3rd at 11am- Noon at JCPenney Court

Looking to do something fun with your little one?  Join us each Tuesday at the Pirate Ship in front of JCPenney for fun and FREE activities geared towards toddlers 4 and under.  We will be learning pro-social skills in a fun environment with hands-on activities and story time.

Sponsored by UniCare, and KVC. Healthy snacks provided by Jay from Sheetz. All events are subject to change without notice. See customer service for details.

Website: https://www.huntingtonmall.com/events?mDate=201807

Hook, Line and Sinker with Camp Marshmallow – Huntington Mall - Free

Saturday, July 7th from 11am- 1pm in Center Court

Finding fun things for your child to do this summer just got a little easier! Join us each Saturday at Camp Marshmallow in Center Court for some FREE outdoor adventures inside the mall! This is a free summer camp and in true Huntington Mall style each registered camper will receive a fun backpack with goodies inside as well as fun stuff to take home each week after camp!

Each week we will feature fun activities and special guests to get your little camper excited to explore the great outdoors! July 7th: Hook, Line and Sinker with Cabell County DNR officer Joseph Reed.  We will learning about the different types of fish in our local water ways as well as important information on what we can do to keep the habitat safe.  Kids will enjoy a fishing activity and snack time!

Visit customer service for a registration form, and flyer.  Once registered your child will receive a Camp Marshmallow Backpack, water bottle, lanyard, and badge on the first day they attend camp, while supplies last. 

Coming up next...

July 14th: Summer Camp Extravaganza with Ranger Rick. Be sure to follow their event page for more information on each week's event and to see fun pictures after each event. All events are subject to change without notice, see customer service for details.

SATURDAY KIDSART Huntington Museum of Art. - Free

Every Saturday, 1-3 p.m.
Studio 1
Teaching Artists: Kaitlin Donnally, Emma Lyles

Saturday KidsArt is a spectacular and fun-filled two-hour program that provides an afternoon of exploration, enrichment and experimentation in the arts to children in grades K–5. The program is free thanks to generous sponsorship from Cabell Huntington Hospital. Pre-registration is not required. Website: https://www.hmoa.org/education/classes-camps

Tuesdays at the Museum - Free, multiple events

See website for dates: http://calendar.wvvisit.server286.com/event/free-tuesdays-at-the-museum/all/

Free admission to The Huntington Museum of Art every Tuesday thanks to Macy’s! The Museum is open from 10am-9pm.

Family Fun Night – Cabell Library - Free, Multiple dates

See website for dates: http://calendar.wvvisit.server286.com/event/free-tuesdays-at-the-museum/all/

Join the Cabell Public Library’s Main Branch for a Family Fun Night! There will be crafts, story hour, or programs based on specific themes. Families are welcome to attend this event together! Children of all ages are welcome.

Pullman Square Summer Concert Series - Free, multiple dates

July 5 @ 7:00 pm - 11:00 pm

|Recurring Event (See all)

Stroll, shop and enjoy the sounds of Pullman Square every Thursday from May 31 through August 30. Great shops, restaurants and free concerts to ease into those relaxing summer evenings. Bring your blankets and camp chairs out to the front lawn of Pullman for the concert series! Show starts at 7pm! Free and open to the public. There will also be a farmer’s market at the concert featuring goods grown, raised and made in local tri-state area.

Come join us!
July 5 – Short & Company/The Dividends
July 12 – Pegasus
July 19  – Santa Cruz
July 26 – William Matheny/Ducain
August 2 –  Ona/Brad Goodall
August 9 – Carrier
August 16 – Thundering Herd Pep Rally w/Madhouse
August 23 – The Return
August 30 – Huntington Music and Arts Festival Night

No coolers allowed. Weather permitting. Event subject to change without notice.

Cinema Under the Stars – “The Wonder” - $1

August 3 @ 8:00 pm - 10:30 pm

Cinema Under the Stars continues this summer at Heritage Station, with movies planned for the First Friday of each month, May through September.

Grab a blanket, a lawn chair, your family and friends and head to Heritage Station to enjoy Cinema Under The Stars! The Greater Huntington Park & Recreation District will present “The Wonder”

Admission is $1 For more information contact the Greater Huntington Park & Recreation District at 304.696.5954. Check us out at www.ghprd.org

Morgantown

25 Free things to do with kids in Morgantown - https://www.tourmorgantown.com/25-free-things-to-do-in-greater-morgantown/

Teen Movie Nights - Free

Showtime is July 11 at 5pm in Meeting Room A. Free Pizza!
Rated PG – 13

https://www.facebook.com/events/1652375541465208/

Location Details: Morgantown Public Library 373 Spruce Street, Morgantown, WV

Refreshments provided.
July 9 at 6PM in Meeting Room A

Tabletop Miniature Painting (Ages 12 & Up) - Free

July 6 • 11am – 4pm  Come learn painting techniques such as layering, washing, and highlighting. All participants get to keep their freshly painted miniature.
Registration Required
Meeting Room A • Capacity = 10

Visit the website

Location Details: Morgantown Public Library  373 Spruce Street, Morgantown, WV

Chess Club - Free

The Morgantown Public Library chess club will meet the first Wednesday of every month from 6pm-8pm. All ages and skill levels are welcome. We even provide the chess boards. This is FREE and open to the public.

Visit the website

Location Details:  Morgantown Public Library 373 Spruce Street, Morgantown, WV

Back to School - Free

Free for all Mon County residents. Our back to school event, provides children of Mon County with two like new outfits, new undergarments, and a backpack with school supplies so that they are equipped with everything they need to start the school year.

Visit the website

Location Details: Chritian Help 219 Walnut Street, Morgantown, WV

Young Birders Walk - Free

It’s never too early to become a birder! This walk will introduce children of all ages and their parents to the wonder and joy of birds and bird watching. Bring binoculars and a bird guide if you have them. This walk is offered in conjunction with the West Virginia Young Birders Club and will be led by Avian Conservation Center of Appalachia’s Director Katie Fallon. All ages. Free. Space is limited, register today!

Programs will last approximately 1.5-2 hours unless otherwise noted. Donations are appreciated and can be made online, or at the kiosk by the lower lot. Please refrain from bringing your pet to activities.

Visit the website

Location Details: West Virginia Botanic Garden 1061 Tyrone Road, Morgantown, WV

Mountain Spirit POW WOW - $5

The Mountain Spirit PowWow is set to return this August! The magical weekend will kick-off with a concert Friday night and will continue through the weekend with many other activities. Bring the whole family out to enjoy music, food, entertainment, beautiful Native American dress, and more!

Aug 24 6:00 pm – 9:00 pm

Aug 25-26 10:00 am – 5:00 pm

Visit the website

Location Details: Mason-Dixon Historical Park - 79 Buckeye Road, Core, WV

Camp Mountain Heart - Free

Camp Mountain Heart is a free week-long camp for children, ages 8-17, with congenital and acquired heart disease.  The Camp offers its campers the opportunity to share experiences with other children with similar conditions.  Many of our campers have endured multiple medical procedures and often feel isolated from their peers.  Camp Mountain Heart provides those children, many of who have never been away from home, the opportunity to connect and create friendships with others with similar experiences.

Sunday July 15th

Website: https://campmountainheart.com/#event-detail

Morgantown Board of Parks and Recreation - Free

Summer sounds and movie series. To learn more and see dates: http://www.boparc.org/uploads/1/1/9/3/11934538/2018_sounds_of_summer.pdf

Charleston

Magic Island Splash Pad - Free

With fountains, water sculptures, and all the water-based fun a kid needs on a hot summer day.

Magic Island Park, 101 Kanawha Boulevard West, Charleston, WV

Live on the Levee - Free

Live on the Levee takes place every Friday evening from Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day weekend. Opening acts start playing at 6:30pm and the headliners take the stage at 7:30pm. Food vendors begin setting up at 5pm. This family friendly event is free! https://liveontheleveecharleston.com/

Kanawha State Forest - Free

Located seven miles south of Charleston, Kanawha State Forest is an outdoor lover’s haven. It is known for its extensive network of hiking and biking trails and has some of the state’s most popular picnic areas. The 9,300-acre forest is noted among naturalists for its diverse wildflower, tree and bird populations. Amenities include picnic shelters, playgrounds and camping. https://wvstateparks.com/park/kanawha-state-forest/

Charleston Town Center Kids Club - Free

Charleston Town Center is committed to providing a family-oriented shopping environment and the Charleston Town Center Kids Club provides FREE entertainment for families.

They offer kids (ages 0-12) fun things to do all year long and are committed to bringing kids and their family’s fresh new activities. Events include kid friendly activities such as shows, crafts and educational activities. Membership is FREE and once you are a member of the Charleston Town Center Kids Club, children will enjoy many special benefits.

To learn more: https://www.charlestontowncenter.com/kids-club/

Career and Technical Education CAMP - Free

CTE Summer Camp- 5th Grade Week

The Cabell County Career Technology Center will be hosting a 1 week Career and Technical Education Summer Camp. The intent of this camp is to expose students to career education opportunities available to them in the future.

Visit website to learn more: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/cte-summer-camp-5th-grade-week-tickets-45450374293

Culture Center and State Museum - Free

Voted Best Museum by wv living readers, the WV State Museum was recently renovated and offers visitors a glimpse into the state’s rich history. Admission is free and a new smart phone app provides an interesting way to tour the facility. 

·        Website: http://www.wvculture.org

Kanawha City Community Center - Free

Kanawha City Community Center features eight outdoor tennis courts, basketball court, baseball field, pool, weight room, and outdoor play areas. This center is a multifaceted facility that is free to our community members. With 17,000 square feet, this center boasts plenty of activities, recreational space, and amenities available for public use. Majority of our amenities are on a first come, first served basis. 

Website: https://getactivecwv.com/kanawha-city

Elkins

Jammin in July and First Friday – Free events in downtown Elkins, to learn more, visit their website: http://downtownelkins.com/2018/04/06/2018-first-fridays/

Wheeling

Arts and Crafts - Free

A FREE program sponsored by the Recreation Department is our Arts and Crafts Sessions. This program is geared towards  the 5 - 12 age group but anyone may participate. The instructor will guide children in many creative efforts that can challenge their skills and tempt their imaginations. There is a weekly schedule of art and craft events at the following website: https://www.wheelingwv.gov/arts-crafts-2 Multiple dates.

Medieval Family Fun Faire - Free

Jul 07, 2018 at 11:00a.m. - Jul 07, 2018 at 04:00p.m.

Location: Camp Russel at Oglebay Park

Come one, come all to a free medieval faire that is open to the public! Come see knights in armor battling on the tournament grounds. See swashbuckling rapier fights. Try on armor at the Viking living history encampment. Move your feet and sway your hips while learning Western European or Middle Eastern dance. Learn the Arts and Sciences of the medieval world in our crafting area. Take a turn at our thrown weapons range. Collect all the beads for your Viking necklace in our scavenger hunt.

Website: https://www.wheelingwv.gov/https___www_facebook_com_events_272564289953161_

Family Fun Night – 36th Street Pool - Free

Jul 06, 2018 at 06:00p.m. - Jul 06, 2018 at 08:00p.m.

The Wheeling Recreation Department will sponsor a FREE 'Family Fun Night' program at our four city pools.

There will be FREE ADMISSION into the pool as well as FREE HOT DOGS, ICE CREAM, SODA and a D.J. The hours will be from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. There will also be door prizes and FUN for all. Come and enjoy a FUN FAMILY OUTING at your neighborhood pool.

Multiple Family Fun nights at Wheeling Rec. Dept. pools. See dates here: https://www.wheelingwv.gov/departments/Parks-Recreation

Heritage Port Story Time - Free

Jul 05, 2018 at 11:00a.m. - Jul 05, 2018 at 11:30a.m.

Love Is All Around West Virginia By Wendi Silvano

In case of rain, the program will be held at the Ohio County Public Library

See website for multiple dates: http://www.ohiocountylibrary.org/calendar/story-time-at-wheeling-heritage-port-when-i-was-young-in-the-mountains/1717

Oglebay Summer Concert Series - Free

Located at  Oglebay’s Anne Kuchinka Amphitheater for a summer of FREE live entertainment! Events include Big Band, Blues, Beatles Tribute and more. Multiple dates, see website: https://oglebay.com/event/summer-concert-series/

Learn to Swim at Garden Park Pool - Warwood. - $5

The City of Wheeling offers one of the best learn to swim programs in the Tri-State Area.  The cost is a nominal $5.00 - now that's a bargain you can't pass up.  Sessions are open to children three and up.  Each session is scheduled for two weeks Monday through Friday. We offer classes from beginners to advanced swimming levels.  There will also be pre-school classes for children 3-5 years old (a parent or guardian must accompany child into water).  The classes are taught by experienced life guards and instructors. Registration is on the first day of each session anytime between 9:00 a.m. and 11:30 a.m. and a certificate will be given at the completion of the classes.

Learn more: https://www.wheelingwv.gov/Learn_to_Swim_-_Garden_Park_

Martinsburg

Puppet Show  -$6 and free for age 1 and under

Multiple dates. The doors open at 12:40 p.m.

Wonderment Puppet Theater  at 412 W. King Street Martinsburg, WV 25401

$6.00 for ages 2 and older, Free or ages 1 and younger.

Wonderment Puppet Theater will present "The Three Pigs CIrcus." Go enjoy a fun puppet show!

Website: http://www.wondermentpuppets.com/

Fridays @ 5 - Free

A series of free outdoor concerts by well-known musicians, bands and Martinsburg artists that will liven up your spirits and maybe even get you into a dancing mood. Bands will perform a wide variety of indigenous musical styles, including jazz, rock, Bluegrass, pop, Classic Rock, Country and unique Americana and more. You can bring your own chairs or blankets and sit on the ground. The front of the stage on the South lawn is reserved for dancing. There is no admission charge to the Town square. The concert series runs every Friday from June 1 through August 31.

Visit website: http://www.mainstreetmartinsburg.com/fridays-at-five/

Summer Movies – Free

When: Multiple Dates

Where: Berkeley Theaters 267 Monroe St. Martinsburg, WV 25401

Website: http://berkeleytheatres7.com/summer-movies/

Ukulele Rock out at the Martinsburg Public Library

Come Rock Out with the Children's Department with one of their Ukuleles! We have space for up to 25 kids to come jam at the library every Monday at the Martinsburg Public Library at 11 AM

For dates, visit website: http://www.mbcpl.org/calendar

Movie Night at the Library – Free

7/10/2018 Time: 4:00 PM - 6:30 PM

Martinsburg Public Library in the Martinsburg Room

Come join the Martinsburg Public Library for Free Movie Night!! Free Popcorn Provided.

 

10 Ways to Celebrate National Foster Care Month in West Virginia

May is National Foster Care Month! We are so grateful for the families who provide safe and loving homes for kids in foster care, the workers who do all they can to positively improve the lives of kids in care and of course, we care very much for all of the children in the foster care system; each one going through their own situation and in need of adults they can depend on. 
 
1.    Spread the word - Blog, tweet, share FrameWorks’ post on Facebook! Tell people about National Foster Care Month and the increased need for more foster families in our communities. There are more than 6,000 children in foster care in WV and there is a huge need for more foster/adoptive families. 
2.    Join us for the 5.29k run/walk – If you live near Charleston, join us on May 19th for a fun and family friendly run/walk to benefit children recently adopted from foster care. Learn all of the details here: 5.29k Run/Walk
3.    Donate to the Carry-On Campaign! Garbage bags are not an acceptable form of luggage for youth in foster care, donate new luggage and hygiene items! We can connect you with a donation drop-site in or near your community. 
4.    Send a sweet treat! There are a lot of great social workers who do everything they can to empower the lives of kids in foster care. Send them a cupcake or some cookies to say thank you. Don't know a social worker? We can help you out, email us: fosteradopt(at)missionwv.org
5.    Write a letter to your local newspaper or  an elected representative. Let them know about the challenges facing kids in care, the need for foster families in WV and encourage them to be supportive of foster parents. 
6.    Offer discounts – do you own a business? Offer a discount to families who provide foster care. You could do this during the month of May or all year! Let us know and we will share the information with families!
7.    Organize a fundraiser – do you sell Scenty, 31 Bags, Pampered Chef or other items? Donate a percentage of your sales during the month of May to a nonprofit that works with kids in foster care. 
8.    Recruit foster parents  - ask friends, church members, coworkers and people in your community to become foster parents. Team up with Mission WV to hold an Information Open House in your community. 
9.    Get your kids involved! Consider having your children volunteer with organizations that provide for the needs of kids in foster care.  They can collect new toys and hygiene items for kids in the system.
10.    Get involved with a local agency! Contact a local foster care agency and ask them how you can help.  They are often in need of community members to get involved, don’t know who to call, ask us and we will get you connected to an agency! 

Final pikto 10 ways to celebrate.png

I have completed foster care certification, what’s next?

phone call.jpg

You’ve done all of the paperwork and training, you have your home ready for a placement, now what?  

The agency that certified your family will put you on a list of available families to call whenever there is a need for a home. This will also include information such as number of open beds and the ages of the children you are able to care for. 

While you are waiting for that first call, you could get clothes and toys together for different age ranges. We’ve put together a list of items to have on hand that you can view HERE.

When you do get a call, your family will then be able to accept or decline the placement. Why would you decline a placement? One example is that you might get a call for a sibling group when you were thinking you’d start slow with one child or maybe the child in need has some kind of special need that you don’t think you are equipped to handle. Whatever the case, it is up to you to decide if you want to accept a placement. We do encourage you to have an open mind and consider these options when they arise; you might be more capable than you realize. Some calls may come in the middle of the night for a child who needs a placement immediately while other calls may occur a few days before a placement is needed. 

If you have decided to accept the placement, the child’s worker will bring the child and their belongings to your home.  If this is the child’s first placement, you will receive a store voucher to buy some of the necessary items you need for the kid(s) placed in your care.  The social worker will also supply a placement agreement and medical card.  They will let you know “what’s next” in terms of the child’s case, any appointments they may have and any services that they need to receive. 

Most important in the first few days is helping the child feel comfortable in their new environment.  Being welcoming, showing them the ins and outs of your home and helping them learn the basic routine can go far to help ease their fear and anxiety. 

Some placements could be as short as a few days or weeks while others can last for many months or even over a year.  You are entitled to receive information about the child’s case and to attend team meetings. You are providing an important service for these children and should be treated as a valued member of the child’s team.

Foster Care in WV and the Basic Certification Requirements

Foster care is a temporary living situation for children whose parents cannot safely care for them.  When a child is abused and/or neglected by their guardian, it is brought to the attention (usually by a report of child abuse or neglect) to the Department of Health and Human Resources. Social workers will then investigate and if the report is found to be true, the child(ren) is then removed from the unsafe situation and placed into the state’s foster care system.

Foster mom and kids

These children range in age from babies to teens and are most often placed in foster care through no fault of their own. While in foster care, children might live with a relative, a certified foster family or in a residential facility. In a residential facility, a group of children in foster care live together with staff members who work in shifts. In West Virginia, there are more than 6,000 kids in foster care so there is a great need for more foster families to provide a caring and loving home.

The ultimate goal of foster care is for children to return to their home, this is also called reunification. In the best situation, the child or children’s parents can make the changes that are needed to safely parent. The amount of time children stay in foster care depends on their family’s situation. This could mean a short stay in foster care or could be a longer amount of time depending on what changes or program the court has required the parents to complete.

If the child’s birth parents are unable to safely parent their child(ren) and make the changes that are necessary, the parent(s) can voluntarily give up their parental rights OR the court can terminate the parents’ rights. The child(ren) is/are then legally eligible for adoption, which can be finalized in a court of law. The adoptive parent then becomes the child’s legal parent and has the same formal and legal responsibility for the child as if they were the biological parent.

The criteria to be a foster parent and/or to adopt from foster care are the same.  They include the following: 

  • You must be between the ages of 21 and 65 (they have not changed this yet)
  • Have a stable & secure income.
  • Be in good physical/mental health.
  • Pass a home safety inspection.
  • Free of any substantiated child abuse reports and free of a criminal background.
  • Have a stable family relationship.

*Requirements may vary depending on the agency you are working with.

5.29k Race/Walk in celebration of National Foster Care Month

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For the fourth consecutive year, we are grateful for the opportunity to partner with the WV State Treasurer’s Office to hold the Smart 5.29k Race/Walk to benefit children who have been adopted from foster care in West Virginia. Each year we look forward to this family friendly event in celebration of National Foster Care Month; an event that is great for serious runners as well as families and kids. 

The 5.29k Race/Walk raises funds for Smart 529 College Savings plan awards for children adopted from foster care. To date, more than $37,000 has been awarded in the form of Smart 529 plans since the event began in 2015.  National statistics show less than 3 percent of kids who grow up in the foster care system go on to obtain a college degree. When a child from foster care is adopted into a loving family, his/her fresh start can also include a brighter future through higher education. 

About the 2018 Race/Walk:

5.29k Race Walk Mission WV

The registration fee is $35 the day of the event and $30 online until May 17th. Learn more and register here: http://www.bit.ly/SMART529K

A Kids Fun Run will take place directly before the main race  for ages 12 and under.  Children age 17 and under may participate in either race for free.

Saturday, May 19, 2018

Where: WV Power Park, Charleston

8:00 AM Check-in/Registration

8:45 AM Kids Fun Run

9:00 AM 5.29K race

*Packet Pickup Friday, May 18 4:00 PM to 6:00 PM at the Capitol Market, Charleston

About the 529 College Savings Awards:

529 Awards

All proceeds from the 5.29K registration, minus a $3.00 race fee, will be deposited into SMART529 College Savings Accounts. The accounts will be awarded through a selection process administered by Mission West Virginia. To qualify for the 529 College Savings plan awards, families must submit an application including an essay addressing the importance of higher education for foster and adopted youth. In order to be eligible children must be adopted from WV foster care and age 12 or under. Families and their agencies are also invited to an award luncheon at the Clay Center in November. This award ceremony features a presentation by Treasurer John Perdue and a presentation on college preparedness. Award recipients are also treated to an ice cream sundae bar and a Build-A-Bear project.

Who are "Waiting Children"

In West Virginia, there are more than 6,000 children in foster care and approximately 1,500 of these children are legally eligible for adoption and waiting for their forever family. What does this mean exactly?

Children are placed in foster care most likely because of abuse and/or neglect. Foster care is meant to be short term while the parent or parents work to make changes so that they can safely parent their child(ren). But sometimes, parents are not able to make these changes. When this is the case, they can voluntarily give up their parental rights or the court can take away those rights – the child then becomes “legally eligible” for adoption.  You might have heard of "TPR" - this stands for "termination of parental rights." That child or children if it is a sibling group, remains in foster care until they are placed with an adoptive family.

When we say that 1,500 children in West Virginia are legally eligible for adoption, we mean that parental rights have been severed (voluntarily or involuntarily) and that they have not yet been adopted.  Luckily, many of these children are placed with loving relatives or foster parents who will complete an adoption. Often, a child will be matched with the foster family they are living with if that family is interested in adoption. 

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Other children may take a longer time to be matched with a family, often because they are older, part of a sibling group or simply because there are not enough adoptive families. Often, these children are listed on the Adoption Resource Network (ARN), the website for the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources.  On this site, you can see photos and read profiles of these children. Once you have completed certification to foster/adopt in WV, you can register on this site and inquire about these children. Once you've made an inquiry, the child's worker will receive your information and if your family seems like a good fit, they will contact your worker for further information.  Decisions about matching children and families often involve the child’s entire team, including workers and attorneys, as well as the family’s worker.   

What happens if you are matched with a child or sibling group on the ARN? Often, you will start having day visits with a child followed by weekend visits. If everything is going well, the child will be placed in your home. After the child has lived with you for 6 months or more, you can complete the paperwork to officially adopt. Once adoption is complete, the child’s new legal parent has the same responsibility for the child as if they were the biological parent.

How do I choose a foster care agency?

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Have you thought about becoming a foster parent? You know there is a great need for more foster families in West Virginia, but you aren't sure where to start?  Taking the first step in your foster care journey might feel like a "leap in the dark," but we are here to help.  You might wonder if becoming a foster parent is right for you and your family.  Maybe you have a lot of questions about what it means to be a foster parent and you aren't sure what will be involved in the process. Mission West Virginia is here to assist families who want to learn more about fostering and adopting. We can mail  or email you our information guide and talk with you on the telephone or chat via email to answer any questions you might have before you take the next step - choosing a foster care/adoption agency to work with. 

Once you've decided to move forward, we can work with you as you choose which agency is the best fit for your family. In West Virginia, there are 11 agencies that provide foster care and adoption certification services. With our information guide,  you will receive a list of agencies that serve the county you live in. 

We will also provide a list of suggested questions to ask an agency when you contact them. You may want to ask the agency about their office locations, their upcoming training schedule and services provided to families.  The basic certification process includes an application, training, and a homestudy. A homestudy will consist of completing paperwork, interviews, a safety check of your home and criminal background and child abuse clearances. The worker will generally visit your home two to three times and the timeline can vary from family to family.

To get started, give us a call today at 866-CALL-MWV or send us an email: Email FrameWorks We look forward to working with you as you begin your journey to help kids who are in need of the love and support of a parent and safe home. 

Providing luggage for youth in foster care.

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The goal of the Carry - On Campaign is to eliminate garbage bags as an acceptable form of luggage for youth in foster care. No child should have to use a trash bag to transport their belongings, especially during a traumatic situation like being removed from their home.  This campaign accepts donations of new luggage and hygiene items and distributes them to local foster care agencies and families. It is especially comforting for a child to be given the essential items they need when they are placed with a foster family or  in a residential setting. 

This is an ongoing campaign because children are placed in care throughout the year.  Since its beginning in 2010, the Carry - On Campaign has received thousands of pieces of luggage and countless hygiene items, however, there are currently more than 6,000 children in foster care in West Virginia and there is a continual need for these items. 

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After distributing Carry-on items a child protective services worker shared, "they had never really had NEW things like this before and to see the smiles those bags brought to their faces was awesome. It made their transition to the foster homes a lot easier as they could think about something else during the trip." If you would like to help make this transition easier for kids in your community, we can connect you with an agency nearby that serves kids in foster care, just give us a call (866-CALL-MWV) or email Kylee.  If you live near Putnam county, you can drop of a donation at our office in Hurricane, WV. 

Many civic groups, church congregations, sororities, businesses and individuals have held drives and asked their local contacts to donate to the campaign during a set time at a specified location. We can help you set up a drive in your community. This campaign makes a great service project and we are happy to work with you. 

Thank you to every person and organization that has donated to the Carry - On Campaign and created a positive difference in the lives of children in West Virginia's foster care system. 

To download the Carry - On flyer with a list of items we request, click on the button below.

Preparing your home for kids in foster care.

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Are you preparing to become a foster parent? Recently, a parent we are working with reached out and asked for advice on setting up a bedroom for the children who will be staying in their home. Our family liaison put together a list of suggested items according to age range as well as some general advice and tips for putting together a bedroom. Here you will find that list and below is some great advice that we hope you will read – especially the part about including your family, friends and community in your foster care journey! Also, if you click the button below you can print this list for printing or keeping on your computer for easy access.
 

AGE 3-5:

  • Pajamas
  • 1-2 outfits
  • Socks
  • Action figures (superheroes, Mickey Mouse, Paw Patrol, Princesses)
  • Child-size blankets
  • Sippy cups/small cups
  • Snacks such as crackers and pretzels
  • Blocks (Lego Duplo, or Mega Blocks)
  • Child puzzles
  • Coloring book/crayons

AGE 3-5:

  • Pajamas
  • 1-2 outfits
  • Socks
  • Action figures (superheroes, Mickey Mouse, Paw Patrol, Princesses)
  • Child-size blankets
  • Sippy cups/small cups
  • Snacks such as crackers and pretzels
  • Blocks (Lego Duplo, or Mega Blocks)
  • Child puzzles 
  • Coloring book/crayons

AGE 11-18:

  • Pajamas
  • 1-2 basic outfits
  • Socks
  • Razors
  • Deodorant
  • Maxi pads/tampons
  • Face wash

INFANT/TODDLER:

  • Bottles
  • Diapers (small packs in various sizes)
  • Sippy Cups
  • Baby spoons/forks/plates
  • Small blankets
  • Onesies/pajamas
  • Socks
  • Wipes
  • Pacifier
  • Rattle/teething toys
  • Crib/Pack-and-Play

AGE 6-10:

  • Pajamas
  • 1-2 outfits
  • Socks
  • Action Figures
  • Lego Blocks
  • Puzzles
  • Beginner reading books

A few things to keep on hand for all ages, varying sizes:

  • Toothbrushes/toothpaste
  • NEW underwear
  • Brushes/Combs
  • Shampoo/Conditioner
  • Soap/Body wash
  • Lotion
  • Lice kits
  • Various DVDs, Games, Books, and Puzzles  
  • Towels/Wash-cloths
  • Band Aids
     

Download the list here:  Items for foster parents to have on hand. 

To start gathering items on this list, you could share this list with friends, family, co-workers and/or church members and ask them to help out. They can volunteer to buy specific items and can also provide clothing items as their children grow out of them.  Not everyone is prepared to do foster care but they want to help and this would give them a great opportunity to support you and the children in your care. Another idea to keep from becoming overwhelmed is to shop at garage sales, consignment stores, etc. where you can find items at a lower price. 
 
When others donate items, you can keep them in large plastic totes labeled by age range and gender. Another idea is to keep items in a special dresser or chest that is easily accessible.   It is also a good plan to have comfort items on hand, such as stuffed animals, blankets and pillows and pillow cases. Some groups have donated handmade pillow cases to our luggage program and we think this is a great way to make a child feel welcomed. You can keep a shower caddy or bag of toiletry items on hand to give them when they arrive – this way they have something that is theirs and they don’t have to worry about asking for shampoo or a toothbrush, this helps make them feel more comfortable as they adjust to being in a new home. 
 
Some families also keep a tote or space for food, too. Snacks like crackers, popcorn, fruit snacks, cereal, peanut butter and mac and cheese are easy foods to store and keep for when kids come to your home hungry. It is also smart to have items in the freezer that are easy and quick to fix and provide a warm comforting meal – examples include chicken nuggets, corn dogs, french fries, personal sized pizzas and chicken pot pies. 
 
If you are wondering what type of bed you should get, a twin size bed is enough but of course it can be bigger if that is what you have on hand. If you will have small children staying with you, you might want to pick up a rail that fits on the side of the bed to keep them from falling out. This way, you don’t need to keep a toddler bed on hand. For an infant, a crib is ideal but a pack-n-play is also a good idea to get you through the first night or two while you find a crib. 
 
We hope these ideas don’t overwhelm you, but are helpful as you think about what items you may or may not need for providing foster care in your home. Again, we highly recommend that you turn to your friends, family and community for support as you prepare to take on the task of helping children in need – this will include them in your journey and you will be uplifted knowing you have support along the way. 

Share Sunday's Child!

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Our goal at Mission West Virginia is to recruit both foster and adoptive parents.  With over 6,000 children in foster care in WV, there is constant need for parents to care for children in temporary foster care.  Children are removed from their parents and placed into foster due to abuse and neglect.  The drug epidemic especially is having a strong impact on the rising numbers of children in care.  

When families cannot safely be reunified, parents’ rights are terminated and children become eligible for adoption.  One of our jobs is to find loving adoptive families for these children.  We believe there is a family out there for every waiting child and could use your help finding them.  Once a month,  we feature a child who is eligible for adoption in Sunday’s Child, a column that features a photo and narrative description of a waiting child.   We are asking you to share Sunday’s Child with your congregation, either through PowerPoint, inserted in the bulletin or by putting the child on your church's prayer list.                                                      


If you are interested in sharing Sunday’s Child column at your church, please email Kylee Hassan or call 304-562-0273.   We are also available to speak to your congregation or to any smaller groups within the church.  There are many ways to help children in foster care in West Virginia and we are eager to speak with you about ways we can work together.   

WV Relatives As Parents Program (RAPP)

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The number of children who are living with grandparents or another relative caregiver has been increasing in recent years. These trends can be attributed to a number of factors, including increasing parental substance abuse, parent's incarceration and difficult economic circumstances. In addition, there are also situations that have long accounted for some care by relatives, this includes parent's death or serious disability, parental abuse or neglect and family or cultural preferences. 

The Relatives as Parents Program (RAPP) is a service provided by Mission West Virginia, in partnership with the WV Bureau of Senior Services and the Brookdale Foundation. RAPP provides support through a warm-line, hosts training opportunities and works with support groups for relatives who are raising their family member's children. You can learn more about the RAPP program by visiting our RAPP web page or by contacting Carolyn Suppa by clicking here: Email Carolyn

The West Virginia RAPP program has a private Facebook group that we encourage you to join. If you are a WV resident who has custody or is currently seeking custody of a family member's child, this group is a resource for you. Participants must agree to terms of use to ensure a safe and empowering environment. An experienced grandparent who is raising her grandchildren moderates the group. To find the support group, click here: WV RAPP Facebook Support Group

FrameWorks Resource Library

Our FrameWorks program offers a great resource for foster and adoptive families in West Virginia - our Resource Library! We have an abundant collection of books that cover a wide array of subjects that we especially chose for foster and adoptive families. Subjects include general foster and adoption care; kinship care; attachment and bonding; special needs; general parenting; transracial adoption and more. 

A variety of books and DVDs are available for loan through this library and a full listing can be found here: FRAMEWORKS RESOURCE LIBRARY

You can borrow 3 to 4 items at a time and they are due back 4 weeks after they are received. We will mail the materials to you with a pre-addressed and stamped mailed envelope to make returns easy. 

A few of the book options include:

What Works: How to Raise Amazing Kids in Spite of the Foster Care System

What Works: How to Raise Amazing Kids in Spite of the Foster Care System -
This book was written by Stacey Addison, a school teacher and mother of six children she adopted from foster care.  This book explains a system to help parents avoid making rash decisions based on emotions, and instead, maintain and enforce consistent expectations. 

Beneath the Mask: Understanding Adopted Teens

Beneath the MASK: Understanding Adopted Teens - This book explains how the key to successful therapy and healthy development is to help the adolescent discover and accept the person within.  It covers the six most common adoption "stuck-spots" and provides information about how therapy can help adoptive families learn and grow together. 

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Creating Loving Attachments: Parenting with PACE to Nurture Confidence and Security in the Troubled Child -  This book explains that a loving home is not always enough. Children who have experienced trauma need to be parented in a special way so they feel safe, secure and are able to build attachments that allow them to heal.  It covers PACE, four valuable elements of parenting that can help children feel confident and secure. 

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Mom, Jason's Breathing on Me!: The Solution to Sibling Bickering - This book by Dr. Anthony Wolf offers a new strategy for coping with sibling bickering. Dr. Wolf presents three essential rules for dealing with sibling arguments and addresses a wide range of issues. This is a book about real children and what you can do to alleviate the strife between siblings. 

Books and DVDs can be requested by visiting our Resource Library page and filling out the online form, calling 866-CALL-MWV or by emailing fosteradopt(at)missionwv.org

Foster Care and Adoption in WV - Steps to Certification

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Foster family Social Worker

There are more than 6,000 children in foster care in West Virginia. There is a great need for foster and adoptive families and we hope you are visiting our website because you are interested in making the difference in the lives of children in foster care. 

Here at Mission West Virginia, we provide you the information you need about how to foster or adopt and we guide you during the certification process. We are a friend to families seeking to help children in West Virginia!

Here is how it works...

1. Contact Mission West Virginia -We can answer questions, provide assistance and support
you through the entire process. If you are wondering if foster care and/or adoption is right for you, Mission West Virginia is a great place to start. 

2. Receive an Information Guide - Depending on your preference, we will mail or email you a guide and listing of agencies that certify families in your county.

3. Contact Agencies - Depending on where you live in West Virginia, there may be multiple agencies to choose from. We will provide you with a list of agencies that serve the county you live in. When you contact these agencies, ask them the questions provided in our information guide. Also, we can help you more with this part of the process, just ask! 

4. Get Certified! - The order may vary but this phase includes an application, training and homestudy. Your application will be provided by your chosen agency, fill it out and return it. Your agency may set up an initial meeting at your home or at their office.  The training is called PRIDE and will be scheduled by your agency - they will also help you sign up! The homestudy involves home visits, paperwork, background checks and other requirements. Your agency will help you decide which children will be the best fit for your home and family.  If there are any problems during this step and you you encounter any obstacles getting certified, remember, we are here to help.

5. Congratulations! Once all steps are completed you will be a certified foster or adoptive parent. 

Download the 5 STEPS TO CERTIFICATION to save to your computer or print! Just click on the button below to open a PDF.