Local Agencies Team Up to Host Foster Home Recruitment Fair
On Saturday, March 9th, local agencies will come together to host a Foster & Adopt Fair at Stuart Cramer High School in Belmont. The event, entitled ‘Foster Love Gaston: A Home for Every Child,’ will take place from 1-3 p.m. and include games, giveaways, information on Fostering & Adopting and a special appearance by Derek Clark, The Rapping Dad. Local foster parents will also be on hand to answer questions at an “Ask a Foster Parent” table. The goal of the event is to reach families who are considering or would like to learn more about foster care or adoption.
Gaston County currently has over 340 children in foster care and there are only 43 Gaston County DHHS Foster Homes. There are not nearly enough Gaston County foster homes to meet this need, meaning many local children are placed outside of the county away from their schools, communities, churches, friends, siblings, and extended family. By increasing the number of local foster families, children can stay in county and closer to critical resources; this also improves their chances of returning home to their families.
Many private foster and adoptive agencies, in addition to local resource agencies, will be available during the event to answer questions and provide information to individuals and families who would like to learn more about fostering or adopting. Other participating agencies include the Gaston County Department of Health & Human Services (DHHS), Least of These Carolinas, Pinnacle Family Services, Partners Behavioral Health, First Free Will Baptist, Thompson’s Child & Family Focus, Omnivisions, Carolina Therapeutic, Seven Homes 4 Kids, and Children’s Home Society.
“We are facing a crisis right now due to the limited number of foster homes and the many children in need of placement,” shared DHHS director Chris Dobbins. “When we have to place children out of county, we are removing them from their neighborhoods, their communities, their networks, or potentially their sibling groups, making a horrible experience even more traumatic to the child. We are doing everything we can to increase the number of available foster families and are asking for the public’s help in meeting this need.”
“There is such a dire need in our county right now for foster parents,” shared Susanna Kavanaugh, director of Least of These Carolinas. “It’s time that our community rises to the occasion and we each recognize these children as our children. If we do that, we will have more than enough foster homes. I would beg everyone to please attend this foster fair to find out more about the crisis that our children are facing.”