Over the next four years, the Children’s Home Society of North Carolina will receive $3.7 million from The Duke Endowment to expand foster care services in the state.
The grant will help Children’s Home Society, the state’s largest private provider of foster care and adoption services, increase its early intervention and prevention services. The Duke Endowment, a Charlotte-based organization whose work focuses on child care, higher education and other causes, awarded the grant in December.
“It’s a huge vote of confidence,” said Brian Maness, president and CEO of Children’s Home Society. “It will allow us to be aggressive in our efforts to help children and families before they enter the system, as well as those already in foster care.”
In addition to expanding the agency’s services, the grant funds also will be used to raise awareness about the number of children in foster care and to help recruit more foster and adoptive families, Maness said. The agency plans to have staff in communities throughout the state helping those in need.
“This grant is about the outcomes for children and families,” said Phil Redmond Jr., director of The Duke Endowment’s child-care programs. “The focus is not just permanency, but the well-being of children throughout the state.”
Foster care in North Carolina is in “a state of crisis,” according to Maness. There are about 10,500 children in foster care in the state, an increase of more than 25 percent over the past five years.
Poverty, unemployment and opioid abuse are the primary factors contributing to the increase.
“This is a big first step, but the whole state needs to be aware of the challenges we’re facing,” said Brook Wingate, vice president of philanthropy at Children’s Home Society. “It’s a celebration, but it’s also a challenge.”
The Raleigh-based Children’s Home Society serves more than 20,000 children and families in all 100 counties in North Carolina.
Madison Iszler: 919-836-4952; @madisoniszler