The need for foster parents is growing in Onslow County

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JACKSONVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) – The need for foster parents in Onslow County is growing. In a Facebook post, the county says there are a lot of kids in the county right now who need a safe and loving home.

According to the Onslow County Department Of Social Services, they have about 42 licensed families in the county, but they are looking to at least double that number to make it over 100. 

“We have a huge need for foster parents, foster parents who are willing to work with children five years and older, up to adolescence,” said Foster Care Licensing Supervisor John Heinzman. 

Officials say because of the pandemic and the fact Onslow County is a military community, recruiting new parents has been an ongoing effort.  

They say because of the small numbers of parents, they have had to place a good percentage of children outside the county through private agencies.  

“It’s already traumatic for a child to be removed from the home, but not you know, for them not to be able to go to the same school, be close to family be close to that support system, is even more challenging for them,” said Heinzman. 

Mallarie Mathews is a foster parent in Onslow County. She told 9OYS she’s been one for over a year now and she says her advice to anyone who is interested in fostering kids is to just do it.  

“The worst that can happen is you can say all right, you know, we’re not cut out for this. But as long as you at least try it, you know, you might learn so many things about yourself,” said Mathews. 

She said the biggest thing she’s learned from fostering so far is that these kids just want to be loved. She also offers one more piece of advice to future foster parents: have a trampoline ready. 

“I feel like after we go outside and go jump on the trampoline, that’s when they just like, totally open up and you know, have fun and just, you know, get to be themselves and enjoy being a kid again,” said Mathews. 

If you’re interested in fostering a child, click on the county website here. You can also call or email John Heinzman at 910-219-1956 and John_heinzman@onslowcountync.gov. 

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