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'There is a placement crisis': WCNC investigation uncovers shocking secret about kids in foster care

"Oftentimes, we think there is somebody else handling this. There isn't anyone else." The shocking secret about kids in foster care in Mecklenburg County.

Michelle Boudin

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Published: 3:23 PM EDT May 4, 2023
Updated: 3:23 PM EDT May 4, 2023

A WCNC Charlotte investigation uncovered a shocking secret about kids in the foster care system in Charlotte. Some are being forced to sleep at the Youth and Family Services office because there's no place else for them to go. 

"It breaks your heart because I just want to keep doing more," Robin Leonard said. 

Leonard and her husband, Beau, were licensed foster parents waiting to finalize the adoption of their youngest daughters when a social worker called them about another young girl who needed help. 

"There was a child staying at the YFS officer over a weekend," Beau Leonard remembered. "This was about a year ago, and they put out a call to foster families if they could let this child visit their home a couple of times over the weekend to shower and have a break from getting out of the office." 

The couple welcomed the teen into their home with open arms. 

"And it was just the saddest story," Beau said. "She was a 13-year-old girl, sweet and mannerly, but had nowhere to go for that weekend. She was eating out of a vending machine and sleeping in the YFS office." 

"It was nice to be able to do something to help," Robin added. "It's a huge need in our city, for sure." 

But just how bad is it? As it turns out, the situation is worse than you could ever imagine. 

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