Foster care families urgently needed in Hampton Roads

1,000+ kids are in the foster care system locally
Young interracial family with little children at home.
Posted at 12:00 PM, Apr 13, 2022
and last updated 2022-04-13 18:06:31-04

NORFOLK, Va. - Home can mean different things, depending on who you are. For Sylvester Starkes and Jerry Davis, building a home means opening their hearts.

"To do our part, our life has changed drastically, but it's a wonderful change," Starkes says.

We're getting an inside look at how a foster family works. This look is rare because of privacy rules. But in video provided by The Up Center of Hampton Roads, we see how foster care makes a difference in the lives of children like Davion and Drevon.

"They just need some love."
Sabrina Carr, The Up Center

It is Sabrina Carr's mission to spread that love, connecting a usually unseen network of heroes with the children who need help most.

"It is probably one of the most rewarding things. Because on the surface, what you're doing is you're parenting children that do not belong to you," Carr tells News 3 anchor Blaine Stewart.

The need for more foster parents is immense. Partly because of a pandemic-created backlog of cases, there are more than 1,000 children are in the foster care system right now, right here in Hampton Roads.

Click here to learn more about The Up Center and how you can become a foster family.

"The need it is greater than I probably could put a word to. There is a drastic shortage of foster parents," Carr laments.

There are two particular groups of children having the toughest time right now. Older kids, 8 years and up, and sibling groups. Brothers and sisters desperately trying to stay together, like Drevon and Davion.

"I'm happy that we didn't get separated. And I'm happy that we're still together."

In their case, they're not simply together. They are no longer foster children. They've been adopted into the Starkes-Davis family.

"That's really what the goal of foster care is - is really making sure that their family is whole," Carr explains.

They are home.

Related: Foster care inquiries down 30% in Hampton Roads during COVID-19 pandemic