There is a growing need in North Carolina for foster parents to care for foster children, especially in Rowan County. In a recent article, the Rowan County Department of Social Services stated there were currently 160 children in their care, but only thirty-four (34) foster families in the county as of June 1, 2021.
In North Carolina, the goal of the foster care system is to help families resolve their challenges and ultimately reunite parents with their children safely. When this is not feasible, the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services seeks alternative options for the children, including adoption. Unlike adoption, foster care is temporary. A foster care family traditionally lives in the same county as the child’s biological parents. However, with the number of foster children surpassing the number of families available, some counties, such as Rowan, are forced to place children in group homes or with families who live in other counties. Yet, this further removes the children from their biological parents.
Distance between foster families and biological parents impedes the shared parenting concept that is a crucial part of the child welfare system in North Carolina. Shared parenting involves foster parents and biological parents coming together to parent children who have been placed in foster care. Shared parenting can make a difference in the lives of the children who have been placed in foster care by allowing the children to maintain a connection with their biological parents and by demonstrating effective parenting techniques that can increase the likelihood of reunification at some point in the future.
The North Carolina Kids Adoption and Foster Care Network (“NC Kids”) assists families interested in foster care and adoption. NC Kids works with prospective families to help them navigate the initial stages of foster care and adoption, including providing a database containing children who need a foster care family or are awaiting adoption and also providing matching services for children and pre-approved families. Learn more about the process and requirements for becoming a licensed foster parent by viewing this Foster Parent Orientation video.
The role of a foster family is challenging yet rewarding. Families who become involved with NC Kids help to make a difference in the lives of North Carolina kids in need.