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WHEREAS, more than 190,000 children in Virginia reside in a home where a relative is the head of the household and more than 67,000 children are being raised by a relative with no parent present; and
WHEREAS, kinship caregiving is found in all socioeconomic, education, ethnic, and racial backgrounds, providing many opportunities as well as unique challenges; and
WHEREAS, every child in Virginia deserves the opportunity to grow and learn in a supportive, loving, safe home environment while retaining a sense of family, cultural heritage, and community ties; and
WHEREAS, individuals and families caring for a relative’s children make numerous personal and financial sacrifices to support children in need; and
WHEREAS, the Commonwealth is committed to reconnecting and strengthening families; and
WHEREAS, kinship families have prevented children from entering the foster care system and allowed children to leave the foster care system and return to their families; and
WHEREAS, Kinship Care Month reflects the core values of family, community, and the welfare of children shared by all citizens of the Commonwealth; and
WHEREAS, through the partnerships among foster, adoptive, and kinship parents, local Department of Social Services staff, and public and private child-serving organizations, efforts are made to ensure that children are safe and their voices are heard as we work for the success of every child; and
WHEREAS, Virginia is committed to working together to celebrate the strengths and address the challenges by supporting kinship families who are raising a relative’s or close family friend’s child on their own or with local Department of Social Services support; and
WHEREAS, kinship families continue to need services like support groups, resources, trainings on issues important to kinship families, assistance with finding and accessing needed services, and information about permanency options;
NOW, THEREFORE, I, Ralph S. Northam, do hereby recognize September 2021 as KINSHIP CARE MONTH in our COMMONWEALTH OF VIRGINIA, and I call this observance to the attention of all our citizens.