CHILDREN + FAMILIES

The number of children in foster care across Virginia has remained relatively stable throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. But one of the state’s largest private foster care agencies has seen a major decline in parental inquiries — raising concerns over its ability to make new placements. Nancy Toscano, the president and...
Charlotte replaced Ava as the most popular name for girls born in Virginia in 2020, and Liam remained the most popular name for boys, according to data released Thursday by the Social Security Administration. This was the first year that Charlotte had topped the state’s list of names for female...
By Tyran Green Today in Virginia, Black mothers like me still struggle to survive having children. Virginia’s maternal mortality rate for Black mothers is more than twice what it ought to be (compared with White mothers). That’s the statistic, but people need to know what it’s like to be a young,...
Advocates are heralding legislation loosening eligibility rules for food stamps as the most significant expansion of public benefits in Virginia since the state expanded Medicaid three years ago. The bill, which passed the General Assembly last month with unanimous support, will open up the federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)...
Virginia lawmakers are on the verge of rolling back a state law that allows faith-based adoption and foster-care agencies to refuse service to LGBTQ families. The legislation has spurred heated debate, with representatives of Catholic charitable organizations arguing that being forced to serve gay couples would violate their faith and...
By Nancy Toscano Virginia takes pride in our capacity to provide for our children. Recent studies place the commonwealth as sixth in the nation for educational attainment, 11th for children’s economic wellbeing and 14th for children’s overall wellbeing. Such rankings reflect a collective commitment to ensuring that Virginia’s future is strong. But there...
By Allison Gilbreath The vulnerabilities of our children continue to be exacerbated by COVID-19. From school closures and economic hardships to social isolation and family confinement, the pandemic has added new stressors for families across Virginia. And the reality is that we are just beginning to scratch the surface. While most...
WASHINGTON — Erica McAfee nearly died while giving birth.  She had already lost two babies — a son and a daughter — and had experienced complications during her most recent pregnancy. “And then I almost lost my life giving birth to my son,” she told the Mercury in a recent interview....
Gov. Ralph Northam has proposed spending nearly $17 million over two years to help families who take in relatives’ children before they enter the foster care system. Tens of thousands of Virginia children are being raised by relatives instead of being put into foster care. But unlike formal foster families,...
The Trump administration's proposal to overhaul federal food stamp rules could affect 4,500 Virginians, according to state officials who say they've already taken steps to prevent anyone from having to go hungry as a result. Stricter work requirements for the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program, or SNAP, are scheduled to take...