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The need for foster families continues to grow significantly across the Charlotte area

Some children are having to be sent hours away from their homes to secure a permanent placement.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — There are hundreds of kids in both Mecklenburg and Gaston counties needing foster families but each county has only less than a hundred foster families available to host children. As a result of the shortage, children are being sent to other counties to receive the temporary homes they need.

In Mecklenburg County, there are about 98 licensed homes and 500 kids needing homes. In Gaston County, there are more than 400 kids in need of a home and only 49 active foster parents.

"It’s very concerning and scary," Candice Williams, a recruitment social worker in Gaston County, said.  "It's still increasing steadily, it really hasn’t slowed down."

She said things are overwhelming, and the number of kids in need of a home is concerning.

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With some of their 49 active foster parents in the county already at capacity, the county is having to look for other options.

RELATED: 'There's a village behind the children' | More Guardians ad Litem needed in Mecklenburg, Gaston counties

"A lot of our kids are having to go to different counties, hours and hours away,  and that’s something that we are trying to stop," she said.  

One solution, Williams said, is offering families different options including temporary care.

"We have options where families can take a child for a couple of weeks," Williams said. "Some families are comfortable with providing emergency care."

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In Mecklenburg County, officials are working with about 98 licensed homes and 16 different agencies to meet their needs.

"Give it a true moment of thought and think about how you can impact the life of a child wanting to be adopted,"  Bobbette Willis, a Mecklenburg adoption supervisor, said. "I would love to see the number [of children needing homes] decrease."

RELATED: 'Think about the impact you could have' | Parents of newly-adopted siblings advocate for adopting, foster care

They said larger sibling groups and older teens are harder to place. They are encouraging anyone who is interested in becoming a foster parent or providing emergency care to visit their website.

Contact Tradesha Woodard at twoodard1@wcnc.com and follow her on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram.

WCNC Charlotte is committed to reporting on the issues facing the communities we serve. We tell the stories of people working to solve persistent social problems. We examine how problems can be solved or addressed to improve the quality of life and make a positive difference. WCNC Charlotte is seeking solutions for you. Send your tips or questions to newstips@wcnc.com. 


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