Advocates look for people to become foster parents amid childcare crisis in NC

CHARLOTTE — Advocates are looking for more people to step up to become foster parents as North Carolina experiences a childcare crisis, they say.

“I know exactly what it’s like to be a child in the foster care system and to desperately want a family,” said Mikaila Reinhardt with Children’s Home Society of North Carolina.

“There’s a lack of awareness. I don’t think people really talk about foster care as much as they should,” she added.

Reinhardt’s mission to change that is personal -- she was in the foster care system by the age of 12.

She said North Carolina is in a childcare crisis.

“We have 12,000 children in foster care across North Carolina, and there’s a major shortage of foster parents right now,” she said.

“And children are, you know, sleeping in hotels and shelters and DSS offices,” she added.

She said across North Carolina, Mecklenburg County typically has the most children in foster care. As of November 2022, that number was at 520 children.

“I would say that is probably the worst that a lot of us have seen, yeah, as far as the need for foster families,” Reinhardt said.

“The need has risen because people are phasing out as far as adoption or guardianship,” she said.

Meredith Garrison saw that need and became a foster mom herself.

“It’s been probably the heaviest experience that I’ll ever have, but also the most rewarding,” Garrison said.

Now, she’s hoping more parents will follow her lead.

“So if every family that felt capable and motivated decided to do it, and they took all one child one time, we will not be in a foster care crisis,” Garrison said.

If you are looking to foster, Children’s Home Society offers training classes. You can learn more about fostering by heading over to their website.

(WATCH BELOW: Nonprofit helps provide homes for foster children by easing the process)

Almiya White

Almiya White, wsoctv.com

Almiya White is a reporter for WSOC-TV