Needed Now: Foster and Adoptive Parents

A diverse group of school friends wearing backpacks and smiling

A child’s life is a story just beginning. You can help write a happy ending.

This month, in conjunction with National Foster Care Month, Mecklenburg County launches a campaign to recruit foster parents who can offer safety, hope, love, peace, and healing to children who need it most. The campaign coincides with the introduction of a new online application system and process, which streamlines the process and makes it easier for new foster parents to get licensed.

A foster parent provides a temporary home for children until they can return to their home or until a permanent home is found. Children typically enter foster care because of abuse, neglect, or dependency. In many cases, older youth and siblings need to stay together. Mecklenburg County has just over 400 children in custody at any given point and works with licensing agencies and emergency providers across the state to house them. But with only 67 foster families licensed by Mecklenburg County, more are needed. Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, Mecklenburg County has seen a marked decrease in the number of families willing to foster children.

“Charlotte-Mecklenburg holds a reputation across the nation as a family-oriented community where neighbors take care of one another. We see it every day in the dedication of our existing foster parents,” said Kimberly Henderson, director of the Department of Child, Family, and Adult Services. “Our foster children deserve every opportunity for stable, enriching lives. Our County is full of neighbors who are ready to embrace the challenges and rewards of helping to raise children and bring out their full potential. We ask them to step up and show that this community has what it takes to nurture and care for these special children.”

Wear Blue on May 7: May is National Foster Care Month and the first Tuesday of the month, May 7, is National Foster Care Day. Mecklenburg County residents are encouraged to wear blue to support our community’s foster care youth and the parents who care for them. They can share their experiences and photos online with #FosterCareBlue.

Easier Application: The process for becoming a licensed foster parent comprises multiple steps: orientation and training; home visits and interviews; reference, financial and criminal record checks; safety inspections; and more. The new online portal modernizes the foster parent certification process, making it more straightforward for prospective foster parents to apply and for current foster parents to recertify. The technology was established through a partnership with Binti, an online software company dedicated to helping every child have a safe and loving home. The new technology also facilitates better matches between children and potential foster homes, based on a child’s unique needs.

“I always wanted kids in my life, so that’s the core reason I became a foster parent,” said Carly Baker, a foster parent licensed by Mecklenburg County. “Now I have children to raise, plus I’m giving those kids that second chance. And there’s so much support from Mecklenburg County, with people to turn to and an ear if you need advice.”

To learn more about becoming a foster or adoptive parent, or to begin the application process, Mecklenburg County residents can visit or call 704-336-KIDS (5437)

Watch a Video Testimonial