CHSVA Changes Lives

It is an honor to serve as interim Chief Executive Officer of the Children’s Home Society of Virginia. For 10 years, I served as a volunteer board member of CHSVA, at various times serving as Board Chair, Treasurer, and Finance Committee Chair. I have always been impressed with the passion and professionalism of the CHSVA staff and the life-changing impact they have on the children, families, and young adults we serve.  I truly appreciate the opportunity to continue my service to this wonderful organization.

Many thanks to my friend and mentor, Nadine Marsh-Carter, for her many years of service as CEO of CHSVA. During her tenure, she brilliantly led the transition of the agency’s mission to focus on finding permanent families for children in foster care and providing transition support services for young adults who age out of foster care without being adopted. We wish her all the best in her new endeavors!

For over 123 years, CHSVA has been at the forefront of supporting and finding loving families for children whose birth parents are unavailable or unable to do so. Today, CHSVA specializes in finding permanent homes for harder to place teens or children with physical or emotional challenges, often due to abuse or neglect. Our social workers are specially trained on the effects physical and emotional trauma have on childhood development and on techniques for dealing with those issues. Trauma informed care guides how we match children with adoptive parents and how we educate and support families with children who have been through trauma to ensure they thrive post adoption.

CHSVA’s entrepreneurial spirit lives on today in our My Path Forward and Independent Living programs, which we started a few years ago to address a serious unmet need – the high number of children aging out of the foster care system without being adopted and without the resources or life-skills needed to make the adjustment to adulthood. These young adults experience significantly lower graduation rates and significantly higher rates of unemployment, homelessness, teen pregnancy, incarceration and other problems. Informed by best practices research on how to serve this population, CHSVA has partnered with the Better Housing Coalition to provide these young people assistance with housing, transportation, life-skills coaching, and a sense of permanent support and connection.

In addition, we continue to advocate on behalf of children in foster care and those who have aged out to educate legislators and other public officials on the challenges these young people face and support policies for improving the foster care system.

The amazing CHSVA staff embody our culture of empathy. They drive us to find and support loving families for children with the most challenging needs and to support those who age out of foster care as they transition to being well-adjusted, self-supporting adults. The staff’s knowledge and enthusiasm are inspiring.

CHSVA is supported and overseen by a diverse, talented board of directors with a wide variety of experiences and perspectives. Our board members represent the race, gender, and sexual orientation of the children and families we serve, and include adoptees and adoptive parents, as well as professionals in child psychology, child social services, business, finance and law.

Of course, none of this would be possible without the extended CHSVA family of individuals, foundations and businesses who generously volunteer their time and energy and provide much needed financial support. We sincerely thank you for your support of the young people and families we serve!

It is a pleasure serving with such devoted groups and it is a truly rewarding experience to witness the life-changing impact CHSVA has on the children we place in forever homes or support as they transition into adulthood.

Mel Tull

Interim Chief Executive Officer