NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — The Hampton Roads community faces a foster care shortage.
“We want to make a difference,” said Sylvester Starkes, a local foster parent. “With both of us being educators we see kids every day with all kinds of needs.”
Mornings in the Starkes-Davis house turned upside down when Sylvester and Jerry decided to become foster parents.
More than a dozen kids have come through their home in the last six years.
“You can love the kids, but they don’t always love you back,” Sylvester told 10 On Your Side. “That was hard for me a first, then I had to put myself in their shoes.”
The men, both educators, have learned the kids have not always been taught what love looks like. Most who enter the foster care system have been abused or neglected.
“It’s beautiful to see them figure out how they can fit in to that family,” Sabrina Carr with the Up Center said.
She adds that they currently have 1,000 kids in foster care and only 34 foster parents.
They are specifically looking for families who can foster sibling groups and teens. Without stable homes, the kids may end up in group homes or hotels with caseworkers.
“It’s very rewarding to see when a child or kid can actually be a child or kid,” Jerry Davis-Starkes said.
The Starkes-Davis family has witnessed transformations with siblings when they told the kids the grown-ups would now feed and change their baby sister.
Those interested in becoming a foster parent must be at least 25-years-old, have a stable income and pass a background check.
Learn more from the Up Center.