Life and Love Make for Strong Northern Virginia Partnerships

Oakton, Va., Feb. 2, 2005—Teach a child with special needs about life and watch them teach you more about love than you ever imagined.

That’s the principle that drives Northern Virginia Family Service’s (NVFS) Special Foster and Therapeutic Respite Care Program, which urgently needs local caring families to join its next series of foster/respite care training classes.

Classes begin Saturday, Feb. 12 at NVFS’ Oakton office at 10455 White Granite Dr. The 9 a.m.-5 p.m. classes then run concurrent Saturdays ending Feb. 26. When completed, parents will be pre-certified to have a child with special needs placed in their homes. More than 6,000 special-needs children in the Northern Virginia area alone are in need of temporary homes, compared to 600,000 nationally.

“Special needs children who have been abused or neglected need caring, committed foster or respite parents within our community,” says Maggie Wilkinson, NVFS Foster and Respite Care Training Coordinator. “These traumatized children require help and understanding from both our full-time foster and part-time respite parents where care can be as little as one weekend a month,” she said. “We provide professional training, 24-hour support and modest financial compensation. Single and married people can apply.”

“Open your heart, and we can fill it,” says Melissa Laird, Therapeutic Respite Care Program Coordinator.