Cumberland County works to handle increasing number of foster kids

FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. (WNCN) – Cumberland County has more kids in foster care than any other county in the state.

One after another, each kid who comes into foster care in Cumberland County is adding to a growing number.

“We average about 900 kids in foster care,” said Brenda Jackson, Cumberland County Director of Social Services.

CBS North Carolina’s Sheena Elzie asked why that number is so high.

“Well the question would be what’s happening in our community, what’s happening in our society when you look at Cumberland County, you look at the high rate of crime, you look at the fact that we’re on I-95 which is a major drug corridor from Florida to New England,” said Jackson.

All reasons she says that are putting more kids at risk to end up in the system and there’s about to be more.

“It’s quite overwhelming and what we’re seeing is due to new legislation, we see the increase age of kids that can stay into foster care all the way until age 21,” said Jackson.

It’s the reason social service workers, researchers and area group homes, are meeting to try to find a way to keep older foster kids from ending up in the system twice.

“We run the Falcon group home we have about 90 students there, and we have alot of students who are aging out of care, who are not prepared to face the real world or sometimes go back to a volatile situation,” said Joey Leggett.

He says they’re working on getting more space there, while the Department of Social Services is working on getting enough data, and enough workers to handle more kids in foster care.

The new program is being paid for with grant money for the next two years.

After that officials say they’re working on getting sponsors to help keep it going.

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