GREENSBORO — As of July 31, 2016, more than 10,400 children are in foster care in North Carolina – almost a 25-percent increase over a five-year low recorded in 2011 according to data collected and maintained by the Jordan Institute for Families at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill.
“Ten-thousand children who do not have a permanent family is not acceptable,” said Susan McDonald, board chairman of Children’s Home Society North Carolina. “One child without a permanent family is just not acceptable.”
Jordan Institute and UNC-CH data also reveal over 500 foster children aging out and facing adulthood without finding permanent homes, and about 130,000 children with investigated reports of abuse and neglect in North Carolina each year during the past five years.
“When children are forced to deal with the basic needs of having safety, a permanent home and a loving family, how can they possibly reach their potential?” asked Brian Maness, ppresident and CEO of Children’s Home Society. “We can do better and change these statistics here in North Carolina.”
“Last year alone 2,500 children were referred to CHS because they needed a family,” said Maness. “Because of financial constraints, we were only able to serve 694 of them. Every year, more and more young people enter the system, and we are not able to help them.
“There are no unwanted children, just unfound families,” added Maness, quoting the National Center for Adoption. “What will we do together for these children?”
To meet Maness’ challenge, the leadership team and Board of Trustees of Children’s Home Society forged and approved a five-year, $25-million campaign to expand capacity and services for families and children in North Carolina.
According to Maness, expanded capacity will enable CHS, the largest private adoption agency in the state, to dramatically boost the number of completed adoptions and increase the size of its enhanced foster care to permanency program.
“The Promise of Family campaign will raise funding to bolster the right of every child to a permanent, safe, and loving family, and sustain the important work of Children’s Home Society throughout North Carolina,” said McDonald.
McDonald, campaign co-chair with husband Mackey McDonald of Greensboro, launched the drive with a $2-million contribution.
Founded in 1902 to rescue homeless children from the streets of Greensboro, Children’s Home Society now serves over 20,000 children and families in all 100 counties in North Carolina with adoption, foster care, family preservation, and teen pregnancy prevention services. More than 15,000 children have been adopted through Children’s Home Society North Carolina.
“We believe in the importance of family, not only in the life of a child but also in the foundation of a community,” said Maness.