RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — The number of children in North Carolina’s foster care system has reached a ten-year high.
More than 11,000 children are waiting to find a home, pushing an already strained system to the limit. It’s something CBS North Carolina has been tracking.
Debbi Fox-Davis and her team at the Children’s Home Society are working hard to figure out how to catch up with the ever-rising number of children entering the state’s foster care system.
“Any given night we have about 400 children that are staying with one of our CHS families,” said Fox-Davis.
She says they’re always looking for more foster parents. A bill introduced earlier this year at the General Assembly would speed up the screening process for potential parents, but it’s still in committee. Children’s Home Society is taking things into their own hands.
“We have mapped out a plan so that we can double the number of adoptions that we complete in the next four years,” said Fox-Davis.
Right now they help about three kids get adopted each week. They’re also focusing more on children who are most at-risk of aging out of the system and being on their own.
“Very likely to experience pregnancy as teenagers, to be involved with crime, to be homeless, to face unemployment, to be in the social welfare system,” said Fox-Davis of children who age out of the system.
A reason why so many children are having to leave their families is drug abuse. According to state numbers, drug abuse by parents has been on the rise for the past several years.
Gov. Roy Cooper has announced a multi-agency Opioid Action Plan that includes a $31 million grant to fight addiction. Fox-Davis says that will help their plan too.
“The resources that are going to be spent on helping to stem the opioid epidemic, will be helping our children out tremendously,” she said.
While the reasons behind the crisis are slowly addressed, CHS and other groups will continue to help as many children as possible.