GREENVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) — Nearly 500,000 children nationwide are in the foster care system with about 11,000 of them being right here in North Carolina. Now, one non-profit is calling on those who can help to become foster parents.
“Anytime we can bring on passionate people that want to serve kids in our community, all for it,” said Kristen Windsor, the Greenville Licensing Coordinator for “Easter Seals UCP.”
Easter seals u-c-p is a non-profit providing a variety of services, one of which is foster care. Myra Mercer is the program manager for the Greenville branch. She says the work being done is to help these kids during tough times.
“Foster care is a temporary arrangement that gives a child or teen a safe place to live when their parents or primary caregivers are going through a crisis situation,” said Mercer.
She notes that when kids enter the system, the ultimate goal is to reunite them with their loved ones. In order to do so, foster parents must step in and make sure the child has stability during these stressful times.
“A lot of these children have been through very traumatic situations, some very horrific situations, so it is our goal to recruit, train, work with our families to provide that nurture and support and that loving environment while still being a teacher and mentor for these kids as long as they’re in their home,” said Mercer.
Kristen Windsor is a Licensing Coordinator for the Greenville branch of Easter Seals UCP. She notes that it is a big commitment to become a foster parent because there truly is no time limit on how long the child or teen will need.
“It could be a very short time, a few weeks. It could be a long time, several months to a year or more. It all depends on what the legal guardian has in store if reunification is happening or whatever that child’s plan may be,” said Windsor.
Both saying that if it weren’t for these foster parents stepping up to the plate, they don’t know how they would be able to carry out their services.
“Foster parents are the very foundation of all of our services. They’re the ones that are living with the children, providing a safe and stable environment for the children so we have a crucial need to have foster parents,” said Windsor.
Annually, Easter Seals UCP assists around 275 families in need. Click here if you would like to learn more.