News and resources for members of the
JFS Connecting Hearts Family Alliance.
Happy New Year!
We’re eager to gear up for an exciting year of new opportunities for foster, adoptive, and kinship families!

Have you have been thinking about other ways to help Virginia’s children beyond the enormous contribution you make as a foster, adoptive, or kinship family? We may have just the right fit for you. 

JFS Connecting Hearts has committed to recruiting 360 families in Central Virginia to open their homes to children in foster care. You can help us reach this goal so that more children in Central Virginia are raised in safe and nurturing families!

Are you willing to share your own story about foster, adoption, or kinship care? We know that sharing stories is one of the best ways to introduce new families to this journey. It can be as simple as emailing Cate at! Think you might be a good fit? Check out the recording of our storytelling session with Lori McConnell, “Love Makes a Family,” here and learn more.

We’ll host webinars throughout February on “Sharing the Love.” This series is designed to help you become an active family-to-family recruiter so that together we can find families for every child waiting here in Central Virginia!

We will also establish a JFS Connecting Hearts Advisory Committee in February to get feedback from families and improve our programs and services. If you might be interested in joining, please email Cate at We hope to have both caregivers and youth represented!

Thank you for being a member of the Connecting Hearts Family Alliance. We’re here to support you! Please feel free to contact Cate Hawks at 804-282-5644 ext. 225 or via email at

Let’s have a great year together!
Our Heart Gallery spotlight this month is Meghan!

Educational Resources
Many foster and adoptive families have asked how to find educational or trade school opportunities after high school for children in foster care or those who have been adopted. This month we’ll feature a webinar on the Educational Training Voucher program presented by Sharon Coombs, Virginia Department of Social Services. You can find the link to the webinar here.

There are many resources to help you find funding for children from foster care or who have been adopted from foster care who have graduated from high school. Here are a few links to help you.

We hope you find these resources useful if you’re looking for continuing educational opportunities for youth leaving high school and embarking on their future careers. 

The National Foster Parent Association puts out a great annual tax guide for foster parents! Click here to download this year's copy. (.pdf)
Support for You
Support is the cornerstone of a loving home! Whether you are a foster, adoptive, kinship, or birth family, a healthy and productive support system can fuel your energy to nurture the children in your family. In November, we featured a webinar about creating your support village. Take a look at the webinar by clicking here.

We also found a great resource about family support that may help you consider who to bring into your “support village” and how to interact with your them. Take a look at this resource for some great insights.

It came to our attention that many families struggle to help their children process chaotic or violent events on the news. This resource has great tools for talking with the children in your family. 

We know that this continuing pandemic is creating many challenges for families. It’s often hard to explain to children the importance of taking precautions without scaring them. We did a little research and found a great resource for you! Click here to learn what UNICEF has to say about how to process COVID precautions and expectations as a family.

Please be sure and join us on Wednesdays from 7:00 PM - 9:00 PM for our education and support night on Facebook! At 7:00 PM, we’ll begin with another entry in our “Love Makes a Family” series. This week we’ll be joined by Henrietta Bennett as she shares her story of foster care and adoption. From there, we’ll move onto our Facebook Live Support chat. Follow the link or use the Meeting ID below to join us on Zoom on Wednesday at 8:00 PM.

Join Zoom Meeting

Meeting ID: 607 041 9226

One tap mobile
+13017158592,,6070419226# US (Washington D.C)
Laws and Policies
On February 1, 2021, the Virginia Department of Social Services will post an emergency regulation to enact 22 vac 40-211: Foster and Adoptive Family Home Approval Standards. You can read the code revision here. 

This new regulation is intended to provide foster parents with reasonable access to:
  • A child’s background, medical, and psychological records
  • Information relevant to the child’s foster care services
  • Copies of documents related to the foster parent, family, and services on an ongoing basis
  • And many other informational materials. 
The regulation also establishes a dispute resolution process.

The Virginia Department of Social Services will request public comment on the regulatory change through the Virginia Town Hall here. Next month we’ll provide the exact link for reviewing the regulation and submitting your comments.

The best way to build a system that supports caregivers and children experiencing foster care, adoption, or kinship care is by participating in the process. We hope you will let your voice be heard!
Upcoming Events
Words from Cate
Hi! I am so happy to have landed here at JFS Connecting Hearts. What a great place to be. We have a diverse team all working to help connect families with children who are waiting for their place to call home. 

One of my favorite jobs here at JFS Connecting Hearts is supporting all of you through our Family Alliance program. Finding the right resources to help you do your best for kids is a great way to spend my day. Please get in touch with me any time to let me know how I can help you. We can find resources and programs to help support you and your family. You can email me at to let me know what support you need and what questions you have.

We are here for YOU! Here at JFS Connecting Hearts we recognize that you are doing the heavy lifting. Every day you’re helping children heal from trauma, nurturing them so they become healthy, happy adults, and attending to their needs. We thank you and we are here to help you!

Finally, I am hopeful some of your will become ambassadors for foster care and adoption! National studies are clear – the best recruiters of foster and adoptive families are other foster and adoptive families. We need your stories of love, challenges, and success to help us encourage more families to join us on this journey. Please contact me when you are ready to share the love! 

Thanks, again, for all you do, everyday!