Foster Care

Thousands of children in North Carolina end up in foster care each year. Their ages range from infant to 18 years old. Foster care may last anywhere from a few days to much longer. They come from different backgrounds and all races. They may have suffered physical, mental and/or sexual abuse.

Foster Care is a temporary home for children who have been neglected, mistreated, or abandoned.  To enter foster care, first the Department of Social Services must determine that a child is not safe in his or her current living condition, and then a judge must agree. 

Foster parents are trained and NC law requires that they be licensed to care for children that are abused and neglected.  Thirty hours of training is given to potential foster parents.  Relatives of the children may become foster parents.  DSS may work with the biological family to try to resolve issues. DSS tries to return children to their families as quickly as possible, but if is not possible or not safe, the foster children may be free for adoption.  The foster parent is eligible to become the child’s adoptive parent.

Foster parents are paid a set amount monthly to provide for the children.  The current rates are $475.00 for children 0-5, $581.00 for children 6-12, and $634.00 for children 13-18.  Sometimes children with special needs are provided with supplemental payments.

The requirements to become a foster parent are as follows:
• Be at least 21 years old
• Have a stable home and income
• Be willing to be finger printed and have a criminal records check
• Maintain a drug free environment
• Complete all required training and be licensed by the state of North Carolina

How Do I Become a Foster Parent?
To find out more on how to become a licensed foster parent you can visit http://www.ncdhhs.gov/dss/licensing/index.htm, call NC KIDS at 1-877-NCKIDS (1-877-625-4371) or contact your local County Department of Social Services. Your local County Department of Social Services can offer information that will help you decide if foster parenting is right for you.

Adoption of Foster Children
North Carolina has an abundance of foster children that need permanent homes, or a “forever family.” The highest number of foster children waiting for adoption are children with special needs, such as physical, mental, and emotional disabilities; sibling groups; teenagers; and minority children, especially African American males.
NC Kids is an adoption and foster care network that connects children waiting to be adopted with families.  You do not have to be married to adopt.

You must apply to adopt through a public or private adoption agency.  Pubic adoption agencies are of no cost.  A list of licensed adoption agencies is available here: http://www.ncdhhs.gov/dss/licensing/docs/cpalistadoption.pdf

Each county in North Carolina has a monthly adoption assistance program that pays individuals who adopt foster children a set amount of money each month.  The rates are the same as for foster parents.  The current rates are $475.00 for children 0-5, $581.00 for children 6-12, and $634.00 for children 13-18.

Under NC law, there is a six month supervisory period after bringing a child home for adoption.  After the six months, the adoption process can be completed.  Social workers can shorten or lengthen the supervisory period if circumstances require.

The adoption can then be legalized through the court system, usually with the help of a hired attorney.

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