Local News

Advocates: More children needing help creates crisis in NC foster care system

Posted January 11

— The number of children in North Carolina's foster care system has increased by more than 25 percent over the last five years, prompting the Children's Home Society to say the system is in crisis.

More than 10,000 children and teens are now in foster care statewide, and advocates say a lack of knowledge and resources is hurting the system, not a lack of qualified families.

"When a kid comes into foster care, they need a home to go to. There are emergency shelters and emergency group homes, but that is not the best solution for a child," said Jamaica Pfister, business development and advocacy director of the Children's Home Society.

School-age and teenage children tend to take longer to place, Pfister said.

"It's hard to raise a teenager that you birthed, and then these are some children that have experienced some trauma and some loss and are dealing with grief," she said. "They still need somebody that's going to love them unconditionally whether or not you birthed them."

Patricia Judkins and her husband have fostered more than 30 children, have adopted four and have two of their own. The couple had been fostering three children for five years when a case worker told them it was time to find a permanent home for the children.

"My husband said, 'You're going to do what?' He said, 'These children will stay here,'" Judkins said, noting they adopted all three.

She said she's proof that foster families produce a greater return in love and blessings than the effort to take care of the children.

"If you have love in your heart that you're willing to share, you can do it," she said.

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