HANOVER COUNTY, Va. (WRIC) – Hanover County Department of Social Services is offering training sessions for foster parents. This is due to an unusually high need following a major increase in children entering foster care. 

According to family service specialist Matthew Eakin, this increase is due to stressors from the COVID-19 pandemic. Families are seeing an increase in substance abuse as well as financial and emotional stress. Eakin said this is the largest pool of children he’s seen in his 14 years working in Hanover welfare services. 

DSS is specifically experiencing difficulty in homing older children.

“We can often find that it’s no trouble getting a home for an adorable little baby,” Eakin said. “But, we have a lot of preteens and teenagers who have been through a lot and need stability just as much as our younger kids do.” 

DSS is offering a training session called Parent Resources for Information, Development and Education for those interested in becoming foster parents. PRIDE training focuses on childcare and child protection, addressing developmental needs, supporting children’s relationships with birth families, connecting children to safe, nurturing relationships and working as a professional team member. 

Those interested in fostering can join the Virginia Faster Families Highway by visiting https://app.family-match.org/my/recruit. This is a portal website that lets foster parents provide information, complete self-assessments and learn about how to be a good foster parent. 

For more information about training sessions, contact Devon S. Parham at 804-365-4135 or dsparham@hanovercounty.gov