By Raymond R. Ratke

Imagine if you could no longer care for your children and that they had to leave your home and be separated from one another.

You would want your kids to be in a safe home, close to school and friends, with plenty of support as they adjust to a new family. But for nearly 7,000 children in Virginia’s foster care system who have been separated from their families, these things have never been guaranteed.

Virginia recently launched the Virginia Children’s Services System Transformation to make the kind of future that all parents want for their children a bit more certain for every child. First Lady Anne Holton’s For Keeps initiative started Virginia’s child welfare practices on the right road, and in December 2007 we began an intensive change in the way we provide effective help for at-risk children and their families.