HENDERSON CO., NC (WSPA) – For Kristin Dunn, serving as a foster parent is in her blood.
Her mother and aunt had foster children over the years and now, she and her husband open their home to those in need.
“I just knew that I was going to be able to honor that legacy and do something in honor of her life,” says Kristin.
There’s a growing need for foster parents in the Carolinas.
According to Chrysti Shain with the South Carolina Department of Social Services, Spartanburg County leads the state in both the number of children in foster care and the number of homes needed to care for those children.
As of September 1, 2017, the number of children in foster care in South Carolina breaks down like this:
Spartanburg County: 428
Anderson County: 259
Greenville County: 410
Homes needed in South Carolina for foster children break down like this:
Spartanburg County: 191
Anderson County: 103
Greenville County: 10
In North Carolina, in Henderson County, there were 217 kids in the system in 2017.
The county offers free classes every quarter in hopes of inspiring more people to take in children in need.
Kevin Marino with Henderson County DSS says, “in class you’re learning what it means to be a parent, how an agency works, we talk about how a child comes into your home.”
For nearly 10 weeks potential partners are taught everything they need to know about caring for kids.
“We have a very high reunification number with our parents,” says Marino, “Our reunification numbers are almost the bulk of what we do with parents.”
Until those parents are ready to welcome kids into their home Kristin and her husband will be filling the gap.
“When we see these fragile neighbors in our community we just want to lift them up, that’s one of my biggest values,” says Dunn.
Program organizers say they really need foster parents willing to take in children who are bilingual or who have special needs, but most of all, Marino says “you need to have a loving heart and willing heart and a passion to serve and love these children.”
The Henderson County Foster Parent Association is hosting a golf tournament to raise money.
It’s happening this Saturday, September 30th at Cumming’s Cove Golf and Country Club. Registration starts at 10:30am. To participate contact Henderson County DSS.