Brian Maness, CEO of the Children’s Home Society of North Carolina, states it simply: “Foster care has been growing at an alarming rate with a shortage of permanent, safe and loving homes for adoptable children.” In the past five years, the number of such children has grown by 25 percent, to 10,000 children in need of foster care. Fostering and adopting such children is a noble act, one in which love is given and love is returned many times over.
So let this word be spread: Those interested in applying to foster or adopt a child through Children’s Home Society can learn more by calling 1-800-632-1400. There are children who need a place called home.
The increase in the number of foster kids, in terms of its cause, is no mystery. Unemployment, and the resulting poverty (or simply long-term family poverty) are among the reasons for the jump in the number of foster kids. But opioid addiction has been a contributor as to why more children cannot be cared for by their parents.
In such a crisis, the first and last place to go — with the state doing its part, of course — is to the hearts and minds of those in the state blessed with stable families who have considered trying to do something to help children in foster care or in need of it. This is a crisis among innocent young people. They need help, and the world needs the contributions those foster children might make if in their childhoods, someone helped, if someone brought them hope.
Brook Wingate, vice president of the society, put it well: “These children have not done anything wrong. They have a lot to give to the world, and we can help make life more beautiful for them.”
And the state of North Carolina should do more as well to spread the word of this need, to look at whatever legislation might help these youngsters live better lives. Already, thanks to state Sen. Tamara Barringer, the state has raised the age at which children pass out of the foster system from 18 to 21. It was a wise change, as 18 hardly represents a graduation to full adulthood. Barringer, a foster parent herself for 11 years and the strongest advocate for foster children in government, also is pressing to cut the amount of time it takes to become a foster caregiver.
Yes, so many foster children are yearning for security, for stability at home and in school or in a job. They’ve been through family trauma, many of them through poverty, and they have faced life bravely. The state, and their communities, owe them a chance to succeed, to attain happiness. Without it, many could slip into lives of desperation.