North Carolina needs more foster parents, as the state grapples with record numbers of children entering and staying in the already stretched foster care system, mainly due to the opioid crisis.
The foster care system in North Carolina continues to experience record levels of need, the increases believed to be yet another aspect of devastation from the crisis.
As of mid-summer, there were 11,700 children and teens younger than 20 in the foster care system. According to the N.C Department of Health and Human Services, that’s a 20 percent jump from just five years ago. Some of those children are in family foster homes such as Link’s. Other children stay with non-parental relatives as part of the state’s focus on kinship care to lessen the trauma experienced by children entering the system.
Those numbers also include more than 800 older teenagers.
Opioid misuse and addictions are the likely culprits behind the recent growth, say those that work in and around the foster care systems. The effects of pervasive poverty, untreated mental illness and domestic violence also continue to be significant factors driving increases in foster care.
Parental substance abuse was the primary reason for the removal of a child for nearly 40 percent of the cases during the 2017-18 fiscal year, up from 30 percent five years ago and from 25 percent a decade ago, according to data provided by DHHS.
Source: North Carolina Health News