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Foster Home Licensing and Adoption

Thank you for your interest in fostering or adopting in Gaston County! Please read through these frequently asked questions below, and do not hesitate to reach out to us for more information at fosteradopt@gastongov.com.

Why are children in Foster Care?
What is the goal of Foster Care?
What happens when a child cannot be reunified?
Who can become a Foster Parent?
What are the types of Foster Care?
How do I get started?
The truth about Foster Care.

Why are children in Foster Care?
Children come into care through involvement with Child Protective Services due to allegations of abuse, neglect and/or dependency. Children may also come into care through court orders and involvement of the Office of Juvenile Justice.

What is the goal of Foster Care?
Foster Care provides a temporary, stable, loving home for a child until reunification with the biological family or caregiver can be established.

What happens when a child cannot be reunified with their parents?
Gaston DHHS works to identify permanency through adoption, kinship placement, and guardianship.

Who can become a foster parent?
You may become a foster or adoptive parent if...
- You are single, married, or divorced
- You are of any race, gender, religion, or ethnic origin
- You are over the age of 21 years old
- You have stable income & can meet your own financial needs
- You have stable & appropriate housing
- You do not have to meet any education requirement but must be able to demonstrate the ability to read & write
- You can be a working parent
- You must pass criminal background checks
- You must be able to meet the needs of the children in foster care
- Your home has adequate space for each child (maximum of 5 youth including your own children)
- Relatives may also be foster parents if all criteria is met

How do I get started?
Step 1: The online orientation created by the State of North Carolina is a good way to see if you are ready to foster a child. Please visit: www.ncswlearn.org/foster
Step 2: Complete the Foster/Adoptive Parent Screening Application.

What are the types of foster care?
Gaston DHHS has 3 types of Foster Homes:
Family Foster Homes provide care of a child, incorporating the child as a part of the family until permanency can be obtained. This could be a few days to a year or longer.
Emergency/Respite Foster Homes provide care for a child for a brief period of time. The reasons vary from pending relative home studies, emergency removal by protective services, an existing placement may need a break or have a family emergency, or the current placement disrupts.
18-21 Program Foster Homes provide housing for a foster youth that is transitioning from the foster care system to adulthood. Youth in the 18-21 program are typically attending college/technical school or have a job. These youth need someone to mentor, encourage and support them as they work to become productive members of society.

Myths about Foster Care and Adoption
Myth: You must have parenting experience.
Truth: Many foster/adoptive parents have had no parenting experience and have gone on to be wonderful adoptive/foster parents.

Myth: I have raised children, so I do not need training.
Truth: Parenting children in foster care is not the same as parenting a biological child. Once you participate in the training, you will agree.

Myth: The younger the child, the less problems they will have.
Truth: Each child in foster care has experienced trauma and will respond in different ways, often communicated through behaviors. Younger children often have a difficult time communicating feelings.

Myth: As a foster parent, I will not have to interact with the birth family.
Truth: The birth family is an important part of the child's life. The more a foster parent interacts with a birth family, the easier the transition to permanency will be.

Myth: All these children need is love.
Truth: Most of these children have someone who loves them. They need safety, stability, rules, patience and understanding.