NORFOLK, Va. — Kelley and Randall Nichols were inspired by their own foster care adoption story.
Families in their church kept telling them they, too, would like to adopt but weren’t sure about following through with the process.
The Nichols’ had the idea to start a non-profit that would connect people to foster care resources and support, and that idea turned into ECHO Family Care Partners.
“We saw the need for support,” said Kelley Nichols. “We saw the needs inside the system, and we knew we could do something for the community.”
The non-profit does a lot for the community, but its main focus is on supporting families already in the foster system and those at risk, with what they call community care.
Unfortunately, only about 50 percent of foster families are able to maintain care for children in the system. But with proper support, from diapers to beds, that statistic can change dramatically.
“That number goes up to 90 percent,” said Randall Nichols. “So we retain more people, more families in the process of caring for children.”
Right now, volunteers are just as, if not more, important than donations and the clock is always ticking. Pound for pound, Virginia has the greatest number of children aging out of foster care without support in the entire country.
We can help ECHO fix that.
“What our hope is, is that in 10 or 20 years from now we see this cycle break,” said Kelley Nichols.
To donate to ECHO and other local non-profits, visit the Give Local 757! website, and mark your calendars for the annual day of giving on May 10, 2022.