The Petersburg Department of Social Services Permanency Unit has four program areas and six programs that allow us to serve as change agents for the children and families we serve. These include:
- Foster Care & Fostering Futures (Independent Living Program)
- Adoptions & Adoption Assistance
- The Resource Family Program
- The Interstate Compact for the Placement of Children
Each of the programs in our unit share the same primary goal: ensuring the safety, well-being, and permanency of all children in our care.
The PDSS Foster Care Program provides services to children and families when circumstances require the child to be removed from their home. Foster care provides a safe and stable environment for children and older youth until the issues that made placement outside the home necessary are resolved. When a child cannot return home, another permanent home is found for the child through adoption or legal custody by a relative.
Services provided for children and families include:
- Foster family home placement
- Group home or residential placement
- Independent living home placement
- Housing assistance
- Parent training
- Intensive home-based services
- Independent Living Skills training
- Respite care services
- Medical assistance
- Therapeutic, mental health and substance abuse counseling
- Any service identified on the child's service plan as being needed to achieve the permanency goal.
Fostering Futures enables Petersburg DSS to extend foster care financial and social support and services up to age 21. The program exists for youth who are in foster care when they reach age 18; and, youth who were in foster care at the time of commitment to the Virginia Department of Juvenile Justice (DJJ) and are released from DJJ after age 18 and prior to turning 21.
This voluntary program enables Petersburg DSS to provide financial assistance, support and services until youth are 21 years old to help them successfully transition to adulthood and independence. To be eligible, youth must meet one of the following criteria:
- Completing a secondary education or a program leading to an equivalent credential; or
- Enrolled in an institution that provides post-secondary or vocational education; or
- Employed for at least 80 hours per month; or
- Participating in a program or activity designed to promote or remove barriers to employment, or
- Incapable of doing any of the activities described above due to a documented medical condition
Adoptions and Adoption Assistance
Petersburg’s adoption program is founded on the principles of providing permanent, safe, and loving homes for children by legally transferring parental responsibilities from birth/legal parents to adoptive parents.
The best interests of the child is reflected in every decision made for children with a permanency goal of adoption. Petersburg DSS provides culturally-competent services to birth/legal parents, children, and resource parents to support permanency for children and youth while strengthening the well-being of all involved parties.
- Ensure the welfare, safety and needs of children are at the center of the adoption process
- Ensure that for each child, delay in achieving permanency is minimized
- Respect and promote the child's unique needs when decisions are made
- Ensure that the service provided reflects the lifelong implications of adoption and meets the range of needs of those affected by it
Petersburg DSS is committed to delivering a range of high quality adoption services that meet the needs of children, birth families, prospective adopters, adoptive families and adopted adults. Petersburg DSS believes that where possible it is best for children to be brought up by their own birth family. Where this is not possible, then adoption should be seen as a positive option for children by providing an alternative means of growing up in a loving family and providing a sense of permanence and belonging.
Interstate Compact for the Placement of Children
Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children (ICPC) is statutory uniform law in all 50 states, the District of Columbia and the U.S. Virgin Islands. The Compact is intended to ensure the protection of children who are placed across state lines for foster care and adoption and, when placed, appropriate retention of responsibility and communication among all parties involved will remain until lawful Compact termination. Procedures for the interstate placement of children are intended to ensure that the proposed placement is not contrary to the interests of the child and are in compliance with state laws and regulations.
The Compact applies to four types of situations in which children may be sent to other states:
- Placement preliminary to an adoption
- Placement into foster care, including foster homes, group homes, residential treatment facilities, and child-caring institutions
- Placement with parents and/or specified relatives when a parent or specified relative is not making the placement
- Placement of adjudicated delinquents into private institutions in other states.
The Resource Family Program
The Resource Family Program is responsible for recruitment, development, and support activities for foster, adoptive, and kinship caregivers serving the city of Petersburg. The overarching goal of the program is to increase the quantity and quality of foster, adoptive, and kinship families to be viable placement options for children in foster care.
In all cases, the emphasis of placement with a Resource Family is on maintaining children’s family and community connections in order to:
- Increase the likelihood that children are kept within their communities without having to change schools or leave their faith community.
- Make better matches between children and their caregivers, to preserve their significant relationships, cultural and racial heritage, and family traditions.
- Decrease separation and loss issues inherent in foster care by focusing on those individuals already known to the child/family rather than defaulting to “stranger” foster care.
- Strengthen a network of the communities from which our children are most often removed by investing in building strong foster and adoptive families there.
- Promote longer-term stability and safety for children by ensuring that their supports, services, care providers, and other important adults can be maintained both during placement and after reunification.
Please download the application to become a department approved provider, the central registry request form and the sworn statement of affirmation and mail them to Petersburg DSS at 3811 Corporate Road, Petersburg VA 23805 or by placing it in the drop box at the listed address.