Welcome to Virginia’s Kids Belong
Virginia’s Kids Belong is a 501(c)3 organization that mobilizes government, faith-based, business and creative leaders around the goal of permanency and belonging for every child. Combining grassroots and “grasstops” methods, Virginia’s Kids Belong runs innovative initiatives to help ensure that every child is in a loving home by: recruiting more foster and adoptive families, engaging wrap-around support for at-risk, foster & adoptive families along the way, and helping youth who have aged out without a family reach their full potential.
Our state has well over 5,200 children who are in the foster care system through no fault of their own.
Of these children, on any given day over 850 are legally free for adoption and are waiting for their forever family.
The rest of the children need a loving, safe, and supportive foster family to care for them while they wait to go home to their biological families.
Permanence and a sense of belonging are crucial to the development of a child. A loving, safe, and supportive family provides both of these things. When a child is without a family, the results can be tragic.
LESS THAN HALF
will have graduated from high school
ONE IN FOUR
will be in trouble with the law within just two years of aging out
of the girls will be pregnant by age 21
ONE IN FOUR
will experience Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder in their lifetime
(more than twice the rate of U.S. Veterans of War)
ONE IN FIVE
will become homeless
have an exponentially higher risk of becoming a victim of human trafficking
Did You Know?
According to The Annie E. Casey Foundation, every child who ages out of the system costs taxpayers and communities an average of $300,000 over the child’s lifetime.
Solve the Foster Care Crisis?
You’re probably wondering if a problem so large is really SOLVABLE.
We’ve been there, too.
But we’re happy to tell you that with two proven models and a first-of-its-kind solution, the answer is YES. Regardless of your occupation, skill-set, and life stage, you have the unique ability & opportunity to impact the lives of children in foster care.
A COALITION OF
Government leaders bring convening power and the skills to make widespread system changes, among other things. Change can happen fast when government leaders on all levels are focused on children and families who touch the child welfare system.
Every major faith tradition includes a command to care for vulnerable children. Faith leaders have a unique ability to mobilize and motivate their congregations and members to meet needs that the government simply can’t – and shouldn’t – meet on its own.
Non-profit leaders have a unique wisdom that comes with caring for people on the front
lines. VKB engages non-profit leaders to ensure coordination, information-sharing
and partnerships that can help
Stories move hearts and change the world. Artists have the ability to effect social change unlike any other sphere. We welcome creatives of all types and stripes into our efforts to magnify the faces and voices of children in foster care.
Business leaders not only know how to get stuff done, but they also have the sense of urgency, connections and social capital to actually make sure goals get met. We recognize that business leaders’ hearts and mind are just as valuable as their wallets.
THE SOLUTION IS YOU
It takes a village.
Countless influencers from different backgrounds, with unique strengths and passions all in the same boat, and all rowing in the same direction.
Together we can give Virginia’s children a face, a voice, and a pathway to belonging – through reunification with their birth families, and when that’s not possible – adoption through foster care.
J O I N T H E M O V E M E N T
We are currently in the process of building our complete Partners List. If you are wanting information on partnering with us at Virginia’s Kids Belong and would like more information, please contact the VKB Team.
The Virginia’s Kids Belong Story
In 2010 at a Richmond area mall, Secretary of the Commonwealth Janet Kelly ran into a woman who was lost, pregnant, and in need of help. Through a long series of events, she and the woman became friends, and later that year Janet visited her in the hospital to celebrate the birth of her healthy baby boy, Ashton.
In 2012, Janet married Ryan, who also worked in the Governor’s office. The Saturday after their wedding, they attended a foster care and adoption rally held by faith leaders in Richmond. The irony that though they’d been in government a combined 30 years at this point, yet it was the faith sector who introduced them to the foster care crisis did not go unnoticed by them.
Nine days later, they received a call from Ashton’s Guardian ad Litem (a volunteer advocate). Ashton’s parents had fallen on hard times, and he was in danger of ….