Providing 25 years of quality foster care services is cause for celebration. And that’s what The Barry Robinson Center (BRC) is doing. Throughout 2020, BRC will observe its Foster Care program’s silver anniversary with a series of activities for foster families and community partners.
Raising awareness of the need for foster parents is another vital part of the BRC’s anniversary. In Virginia, about 5,000 children and teens are in foster care. The numbers continue to grow, as does the need for parents.
“We’re always looking for foster parents who are invested both in children and in their own growth as foster parents,” said CEO Rob McCartney.
Since 1995, BRC has provided treatment foster care, also known as therapeutic foster care. With treatment foster care, foster parents receive specialized training to care for children and teens, usually those who have significant emotional or behavioral issues, or medical needs.
“Our foster care team members have more than 50 years of experience in foster care programming,” McCartney said. “And our current foster parents have a combined 180 years of experience in caring for foster children. We really appreciate our parents and their commitment to providing quality care for children. That’s why we focus so strongly on providing training for them and for our staff.”
Children coming into foster care need nurturing, safe and stable homes where they can flourish. Providing that kind of environment is vital, due to the emotional trauma that children in foster care experience. Being separated from their homes and birth families, even coming from neglect or abuse situations, can be overwhelming for a child.
BRC provides a high level of support for foster parents besides ongoing training. Caseworkers stay in close contact with families and are available 24/7 for emergencies. BRC also offers clinical services that include intensive in-home, ABA (Applied Behavior Analysis) and intensive outpatient substance use counseling services.
“We’re focused on protecting children and preserving families,” McCartney said. “Although our foster care program is marking 25 years in our community, BRC is a nonprofit with an even longer legacy of service to children, dating back to the early 1930s. Our mission says it all – improving the lives of children. That’s the core of our commitment.”
25th anniversary activities include:
- Providing all foster families with a newly revised parent handbook and appreciation gifts
- Joining the Arrowhead Carolanne Farm 5k race March 28, with proceeds benefitting the foster care program
- Hosting a “block party” May 16 for foster families and community partners
- Sponsoring professional development training for community professionals in June
- Highlighting Foster Care program staff and foster parents throughout the year