Letters to the Editor

Sharon Hirsch: Helping foster children thrive

Regarding the Jan. 11 news article “ ‘Crisis’ for N.C. as number of children in foster care rises”: We applaud the work of the Children’s Home Society and Sen. Tamara Barringer in raising public consciousness and public investments for the growing number of NC’s children in foster care.

North Carolina spends $2 billion annually on the consequences of child abuse and neglect. These costs include short-term costs of immediate medical attention, mental health services, the child welfare system and law enforcement required to address child abuse and neglect each year – plus long-term costs including special education, early intervention, emergency housing, long-term mental health care, long-term physical health care, juvenile delinquency, the adult criminal justice system and lost worker productivity related to children and adults who have been abused.

Our state’s children and families will be better off if we invest in prevention – evidence-based parenting education and home visiting, concrete supports for families, like paid family leave and living wage jobs and a coordinated, cross-system commitment to fostering safe, stable, nurturing relationships and environments for all N.C. children.

Let’s demand a plan to keep children from entering foster care in the first place. It’s essential to our state’s future health and prosperity.

Sharon Hirsch