Managers told ABC11 because of COVID-19 they have an urgent need for foster parents.
"We are seeing ripple effects due to the pandemic," said Kim Ford, the Foster Care Supervisor for Bethany Christian Services in Charlotte, who is helping to launch the Raleigh location.
FULL CORONAVIRUS COVERAGE
Ford said the pressures of COVID-19 are pushing some families to their breaking point and are putting children at risk for abuse and neglect.
"Not just because of the birth family having that stress from the birth family unit, but there's also foster families that are going to need a break. Or even if their heart is willing - they may not be able to do it anymore because of that work situation," Ford said. "We want to be ready for that. We want to be ready for that influx."
In Wake and Durham counties, more foster children than parents
Right now, the foster care system is already overwhelmed in the Triangle with children and young adults under the age of 20.
- Wake County - 446
- Durham County - 365
- Statewide - 11,200
There's more than 11,000 in the system statewide but not enough guardians to foster them.
Ford said many of the children placed in stable homes before COVID-19 are now forced to adjust again.
"These children that had just started to go to school, get into a routine and for the first time in a long time, they're feeling good about themselves-academically. And to be snatched away from that and having to relearn and in a lot of ways be re-traumatized," Ford said.
To be a licensed foster care parent, here are the requirements:
- Be at least 21 years old
- Have a stable home and income
- Maintain a drug free environment
- Pass criminal background check
Ford said she's been fielding requests from neighboring counties because the need is so great.
"You want to be able to step in and meet every single need, but you just can't do it because there's not enough foster homes," Ford said. "That is hard."
If you're interested, contact your local department of social services.
Call NC KIDS: 1-877-625-4371
Bethany Christian Services can be contacted at (919) 510-9511 or Bethany.org/raleigh
Have a question about coronavirus? Send it to us here.