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North Carolina sees a crisis in foster care

North Carolina is facing what many now call a crisis in its foster care system. Sadly, this is echoed across the United States. Many children are entering foster programs only to stay in foster care until they age out, which is a growing concern.

In North Carolina, there are 11,000 children living in foster care. That number has grown 25 percent in five years. In certain counties, like Brunswick and New Hanover, there are hundreds of children waiting to be adopted or in foster care. Many times, they come from homes where their parents struggled with mental health issues or substance abuse.

In Cumberland County, the issue has come to a head as an average of 872 children are in foster care yearly. That's a 40 percent increase in five years. There are dozens of reasons that can be blamed for this increase, from the opioid epidemic to domestic violence, but what stands out is that there is little funding for preventing the problems that lead to a family falling apart.

Normally, the goal of foster care is to reunify children with their parents. That doesn't always work out, and sometimes reuniting children can lead to their deaths. Those who stay in the system are more likely to age out than ever before; state figures have shown a 10 percent increase in the number of children aging out between 2015 and 2016.

If you're considering fostering a child or are looking to adopt, now is the time to talk to your attorney. With so many children waiting, this could be the ideal time to expand your family.

Source: Star News Online, "Advocate: North Carolina faces foster care crisis," Greg Barnes, Sep. 27, 2017

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