CHARLOTTE – With the number of children in foster care on the rise, Children’s Home Society of North Carolina with the state Department of Health and Human Services has expanded its prevention program, Intensive Family Preservation.
CHS has added 12 new staff positions statewide, including five in the Charlotte area, to address the critical needs of families in crisis. Family preservation occurs as the prevention step prior to removing children from their homes.
“Nearly 12,000 children are in foster care in North Carolina. The first priority is to keep children safely with their families when possible,” said Rebecca Starnes, vice president of programs for Children’s Home Society. “Our program works with families whose children are at imminent risk of removal to prevent placement in foster care.”
CHS’s Intensive Family Preservation team spends 10 hours a week in the home with each family to evaluate what is needed to keep children safe. They spend a total of 28 days with each family. The program helps families increase their strengths, enhance their children’s development and remain together. Often families need help obtaining housing or employment to provide basic needs or they may need help developing parenting skills. Workers connect families to resources like food banks, housing, education services and mental health services.
“The safety and well-being of the children always comes first,” said Lisa Cauley, child welfare director for the N.C. Division of Social Services. “The value of keeping children in their families is reflected by outcomes that include fewer teen pregnancies, fewer children ending up in the juvenile justice system and more of them likely to successfully find and keep a job.”
Last year, this program kept 775 children with their families, saving the state $15.2 million in foster care costs. Of these families, 97 percent were still intact after one year.
Last year, Children’s Home Society served nearly 18,000 North Carolina children and families in its mission to promote the right of every child to a permanent, safe and loving family. This included providing a safe haven for more than 400 children with foster care families on any given day, giving 178 children a permanent family to call their own through adoption, and providing educational services to nearly 13,000 teens, parents, and professionals.
Call 800-632-1400 or visit www.chsnc.org for more information on Children’s Home Society, becoming a foster or adoptive parent, volunteering or providing financial support.