CHARLOTTE, N.C. — There's a growing need for more foster care parents in Mecklenburg County.
There are a lot of good parents in Mecklenburg County, but all a foster child needs is just one.
“We are advocating for our people to step up and step out and provide us with the services and stability that our children need," Mecklenburg County Department of Social Services senior social services manager Rekita L. McDuffie said.
Right now, there are 452 children ages 0-17 in the foster care system, but only 91 licensed foster families as of May 29, according to Mecklenburg County.
To fill that gap, McDuffie, said they need help now.
“We encourage our community to look at this as an issue, that is a community issue," McDuffie said.
It's a community issue as the kids and teenagers in the foster care system are innocent victims.
“Some of the reasons we see are -- traditionally -- abuse, neglect, and dependency," McDuffie said.
WCNC Charlotte's Lexi Wilson spoke with a foster mother who is encouraging others to make a difference.
“It’s no fault of these children's own that they’re in foster care, as a foster parent, we make sure they are safe and well taken care of,” Mecklenburg County foster parent Rosa Patterson said.
Patterson answered the call. She is currently fostering a 12-year-old girl.
Patterson said they work as a team and spend time together doing fun activities like ice skating. The child she is fostering is also musically talented.
“This child is a very happy child, she is reliant, I’m very proud and pleased to have her in my home," Patterson said.
It's not a role just anyone can take on, some requirements include being 21 years old and having no criminal record.
The kids or teens could stay for weeks, months, or even a year, but the goal is to eventually get them back to their family, or transition into an adoptive family.
“It’s a wonderful thing to do -- it is certainly something that is very much needed, there are so many children out here who need our help," Patterson said.
It does take several weeks of training to become a foster parent.
To learn more about adopting or foster parenting, you can contact Mecklenburg County at 704-336-KIDS (5437) or visit this link.