Virginia's Kids Belong
Richmond, Virginia, USA
Saved on 8 projects and calls
This is the total value we've estimated for all projects matched. Learn more about how we calculate project savings.
MissionOver 5,000 kids in Virginia's foster care system are in crisis, largely invisible to the community, and left to feel like they don't belong. We dramatically improve their experience and change their outcomes so that these kids can thrive in safe, loving families and supportive communities where they belong.
What We DoVirginia's Kids Belong is a collective impact organization that leverages and unites the power of the government, faith, and business communities toward the plight of kids in foster care.
Virginia has a dire shortage of foster and adoptive families which hurts kids' ability to find belonging.
VA is also 47th in permanency, meaning more kids age out without an adoptive family in Virginia than only three other states.
According to an Annie E. Casey Foundation study, kids who age out of foster care cost taxpayers over $300,000 over their lifetimes in social welfare costs.
A large percentage of them will be addicted, incarcerated, homeless, pregnant, or the victim of a crime within 2 years of aging out.
VKB utilizes a unique three-legged stool model with each sphere representing a key leg of the stool (faith/business/government) and the creative sphere representing the crossbar that connects the legs together.
We have programs for each sphere that, when implemented, capitalize on each sphere's leverage and create momentum to meet our goals and objectives and end the crisis for kids, families and workers in Virginia's foster care system.
Creative Sphere Program: The I Belong Project is our creative sphere program where VKB hosts a video shoot experience for kids whose parental rights have been legally terminated and who are waiting for an adoptive family. To date, approximately 50% of kids who participate in the I Belong Project find adoptive families within 6 months versus staying in the foster care system for potentially years.
Business Sphere Program: The Foster-Friendly Business program engages business leaders to include foster families in their HR employee benefits package, offer special discounts to foster families, hire an aged-out youth, donate to the mission, or help raise awareness through peer-to-peer education. We launched this program right before COVID hit, but our signature business is the YMCA which offers foster families a 50% discount to foster families at all their Virginia locations.
Government Sphere Program: A public-private partnership between state and local Virginia Departments of Social Services that coordinates efforts in the government sphere to raise awareness and engage Virginia leaders in other spheres to be the solution for children, families, and workers in Virginia's child welfare system.
Faith Sphere: While VKB is not a faith-based organization, we do believe that the faith community is one of the largest untapped resources on the planet when it comes to vulnerable kids. We engage faith communities, not because of religious beliefs, but because it works. People of faith are 8 times more likely to foster or adopt than the average American. Our faith sphere program "Belong" equips faith leaders across the Commonwealth to care for vulnerable children and families; educates their faith community on how to recruit, support, and retain foster and adoptive families and prepares faith communities in how to best work with government in the best interest of kids.
- By uniting all of these spheres, we saw a 20% increase in the number of foster families last year compared with a less than 5% increase or even net losses in previous years.
- To date, approximately 50% of kids (fluctuates between 48-52%) who participate in the I Belong Project find adoptive families within 6 months versus staying in the foster care system for potentially years.
- During COVID, we organized a drive that put a "Foster Care Survival Kit" with toys, games, snacks, and crafts into the hands of foster families impacting 10% of the kids in care in less than 30 days. It was an "opt-in" program, so 100% of families who requested a kit received one.
The populations who are better because of VKB's work include:
- social workers whose jobs are made infinitely easier b/c of a surplus of families and support
- kinship, foster, and adoptive families who have wrap-around support teams to run errands, provide meals. and give babysitting relief
- anyone who helps because it changes them in ways they couldn't imagine
- and most importantly, kids in care who find belonging in a safe, loving family whether that's through reunification or adoption