PORTSMOUTH, Va. (WAVY) — There’s a need to provide a safe, caring, and teaching home environment for children at a time when they need help the most.

The Up Center says there are over 1,000 children and teens in foster care in Eastern Virginia and a gap needs to be filled by those in the community who are willing to help.

The center is a licensed foster care program that specializes in placing children and adolescents with various needs in caring foster homes.

Therapeutic Foster Care & Adoptions Outreach Coordinator Sabrina Carr from the Up Center says they need those willing to be foster parents now more than ever.

“What a lot of people don’t know is that we are in crisis mode in terms of finding foster homes for children that are entering into care,” she said.

Carr says they’re looking for those that are single, married, divorced, empty nesters, stay-at-home parents, working individuals, and all those in between to consider becoming a foster parent.

“For our agency alone in the past recent months, we’ve had to turn away over 50 children that were in need of a foster home,” said Carr. “We’re really looking to fill that gap because these are when children really need homes the most.”

The Up Center provides a number of resources for those in the community from 24-hour crisis management to respite care for foster parents needing a temporary break.

The requirements to foster include:

  • Must be at least 25 years old
  • Have a stable income
  • Have a valid driver’s license and reliable income
  • Clear background checks

If you’re interested in becoming a foster parent, contact the Up Center at 757-965-8638 or email them at fostercareadoption@theupcenter.org.