By Mandy Tennity

Become a foster parent, make a difference!

There are over 5,000 children in foster care in Virginia. There is always a need for qualified foster homes. On average, people think about fostering or adopting a child for a year before reaching out to any agencies to learn more. There is no correct or perfect time to reach out — do what feels right, do it with an open heart. This blog series will break down the steps of becoming a foster parent to encourage and empower potential parents to take the next step in the foster parent journey.

What to expect at an information meeting

Showing up for a foster parent information meeting can be intimidating. Deciding to foster is a big step, but these meetings are meant to help potential parents learn more about the agency, the fostering process and provide an opportunity to ask questions.

“Information meetings simply allow us to share our program with the community and allow families to make an informed decision,” says Wendy Luna, resource family coordinator at LFSVA.

These meetings are held periodically at foster care agencies. LFSVA holds meetings monthly at the Tidewater and Richmond offices, and they typically last about an hour and a half. Attendees learn about the needs of children coming into care and become informed about requirements and guidelines.

“The goal is for each family to have a better understanding of the requirements and process,” says Jeanne Hollingshead, director of foster care and adoption.

No commitment is needed to come to the information meeting night. It is a great place to ask any questions and to bring family and friends who are likely to help along the way

What to expect after an information meeting

Potential foster parents have a few options following an information meeting. If fostering with the agency feels like the right fit, parents can sign up for the next pre-service training. This is the next step to becoming a foster parent and is part of the required training to become certified.

Some potential parents may leave an information meeting with a lot on their minds. It’s okay to take time to reflect on the idea of fostering and reach out again if interested. Feeling unsure or conflicted about fostering is normal.

All types of people make great foster parents; they all have their own experiences to offer. While some of the processes can seem overwhelming and invasive, keep in mind that everyone has the same goal — to ensure the safety of children. LFSVA will be there along the way to support the journey to parenthood.

Read Becoming a foster parent (Part two): Foster parent training

Interested in becoming a foster parent in the Richmond or Tidewater/Virginia Beach area? Contact Mandy Tennity at or fill out our form.