KINSTON, N.C. (WNCT) – Lenoir County is struggling to find families willing to open up their homes to foster children.
Since there’s not enough, some children may be forced to live in other counties in North Carolina.
But the struggle is not necessarily exclusive for that area. Greene County only has two licensed foster homes. Other counties with bigger populations have more support. Pitt County has twenty-four.
Foster parent Megan Hartzog loves being a mom to two little girls.
“It’s rewarding, it’s fulfilling and I love having these kids and knowing all their needs are met,” Hartzog said, but she’s shocked more families aren’t stepping up to the plate and helping a child in need. There are only two licensed foster homes in Lenoir County and it’s the same in Greene County.
“Life happens. Sometimes people move away. Sometimes we have families that decide that fostering is not what they really want to do,” explained Social Work Supervisor Anita Starkey, who added that over forty children from Lenoir County are forced to live elsewhere. “I have to leave my home, and leave school and leave all of my friends that I know and you are placing me somewhere I don’t know these people, I don’t know this school, it’s hurting them even more.”
The Department of Social Services always has low numbers with fostering, but never this low.
“It helps the child out and that’s really what it’s all about,” Starkey said, “Just taking the child in to make sure they are safe and they are able to continue on with life while their parents are working on themselves.”
The ultimate goal is to get the children back with their family.
“It’s difficult sometimes to send them home, but ultimately that’s where they need to be,” Hartzog said. She hopes more people open their homes and hearts to the children who need it most.
If you would like to become a foster family, you can contact you local county DSS or click here.