Make a difference in kids’ lives

“DSS dropped off a 4-day-old baby girl today.” A huge smile crept across my face, and at the same time, tears filled my eyes in a mixture of both joy and sadness when I read that in a text message. Sadness about whatever unknown situation had a 4-day-old baby needing a safe and secure home, and joy that my friends would get to be her foster parents. Last fall, I had the pleasure to serve as a reference for this dear family who, despite having a house full of four very lively little boys, knew they had room in their home, and in their hearts, to provide for another child. In my world of providing services and support to children and families, it is well known that there is a great need for licensed foster parents to provide homes for children in Henderson County as well as families who can provide respite care for foster parents. Currently, the county holds custody of 158 children; however, there are only 58 foster homes in our county to serve them. When homes are not available, children are placed in homes in neighboring communities, disrupting school, community and support systems for the child. All children need caring adults in their homes, and throughout their community, to take an interest in their well-being. According to the N.C. Pediatric Society (state chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics), foster children “demonstrate disproportionately high rates of physical, reproductive, oral/dental, developmental, behavioral/emotional, cognitive, educational and social dysfunction compared to the general child population.” Abused and neglected children are 11 times more likely to be arrested for criminal...