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for biological mothers of children in foster care

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For every biological mother of a child in foster care to have the opportunity to encounter God’s love, experience deep healing, and have a healthy relationship with their child.


Patty’s Hope provides practical help, hope, and healing for biological mothers of children in foster care. We partner with local organizations and the Christian community to implement a holistic, individualized program with a focus on four areas: Safe Housing, Trauma Recovery, Life Skills, and Healthy Community. Through this trauma-focused program, Patty’s Hope aims to honor Jesus by seeing clients transformed mentally, physically, and spiritually; leading to lifelong health and stability.

Every mother of the 400,000+ children in foster care, is a woman with a personal story.

Read the testimonies of the mothers we have served

Key Components of Patty's Hope

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An estimated 40% of women whose children have been placed in foster care in the metro Richmond area have serious housing needs.  Without safe housing it's hard to begin the work on the long-term recovery and stability needed for safe parenting.  Patty’s Hope works with moms to seek stable housing. 
Our trauma informed program is one key to overcoming the root causes of a client’s current situation and to move towards healing from the hurt and pain of the past. We partner with local organizations to provide evidenced-based, trauma-informed therapy for our clients.
Our women learn life skills through our in-house classes, one on one mentoring and in the homes of our host families. We also partner with programs for work force training. Patty’s Hope provides specialized foster care education to assist clients in navigating a complicated system and try to ease the burden of social services workers. 
Patty’s Hope helps facilitate relationship building opportunities between our clients and members of the community.  We work with approved mentors and volunteers who are able to wrap around individual women to create a positive network of support.  We also seek to connect clients with the local church and other established support services.

how it began

Patty's  Story

Patty grew up in and out of foster care and experienced childhood trauma. She became pregnant prior to aging out of care but quickly lost custody of her child, who was later adopted by another family.  She went on to birth three more children all who eventually ended up in foster care or with other people. Her ability to make good decisions and get ahead based on her past was almost impossible; she struggled her way forward stuffing down the trauma of her childhood and the pain and loss of losing her children.


She became pregnant again, and in July of 2012, Patty gave birth to her 5th child, a baby girl.


With the birth of her fifth child came the hope that she was getting another chance to be the mom she always wanted to be. But at two days old her baby girl was removed straight from the hospital by DSS due to Patty's history and placed in foster care...with Pete and Leila Gunning

Pete & Leila's  Story

After struggling with infertility, the Gunning's began researching the possibility of adoption. Through that process, they learned of the need for foster parents and pursued becoming an open foster home.

In July of 2012, Pete and Leila took in their very first placement, Patty’s little girl. They were overjoyed to finally be parents (even if only for a little while). At this stage the Gunning's could not understand how anyone could have their baby removed and it was hard not to judge the biological mothers. But as the weeks went by God truly softened their hearts for Patty and women in similar situations.  

Seven weeks later the courts returned the baby to Patty. Pete and Leila felt a deep calling to offer Patty help and support. So, that is what they did. In the process they began to ask questions and hear the story behind Patty's life.


For the next 8 months Pete and Leila spent time investing in Patty, moving her to safe housing, connecting her to healthy, caring people, listening, loving, offering grace, support and friendship she had simply never had. Days before Patty was scheduled to start a new job, she came down with the flu and 24 hours later she passed away. Pete and Leila were devastated, but God knew that was not the end of Patty’s Story.

The  Story of Patty's Hope

Patty left Pete and Leila with a deep commitment to hear the stories behind each birth mother, and to fight for these mothers.  Patty was just the first of several women that Pete and Leila have had the opportunity to work with. Each mother has been a learning experience in which they have had their eyes opened to the needs of women in similar situations as Patty.  Through these experiences and with the help of friends, family, and area professionals, Patty's Hope was born.

Patty's Hope is a 501©3 non-profit based in Richmond Virginia. All board members and staff profess to be Bible believing, Gospel-centered Christians who trust in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. 


Give Help

Be part of the story

We would like to thank and acknowledge the following organizations for their partnership and generosity towards Pattys Hope and being part of the story.

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City Church
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Learn more about foster care. Get involved in making our programs possible. Join us as we tackle the issues faced by our clients. 

Worship that is pure and undefiled before God the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world. James 1:27

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