MCDOWELL COUNTY, N.C. (WSPA) – In McDowell County there are more than 100 children in the county’s foster care system, but less than 35 foster families licensed to take children.
Jenny Millsaps, McDowell County Department of Social Services head of Foster Home Licensing Social Work, said the need is critical for parents as the goal is to keep them in the county.
“Kids lose a lot by just coming into foster care. One thing we don’t want them to lose is their home county. We don’t want them to have to change schools if they don’t have to. So many times, if we don’t have enough homes in our county, we have to place kids out of county,” Millsaps said.
The department is hosting a foster family orientation on Monday, Feb 17th, starting at 6 p.m. All are welcome and there is no pressure to sign up to be a foster parent.
No matter if you’re interested in becoming a foster parent, on the fence, or just want to learn more about the entire process, Millsaps added, you’re welcome to come.
“We don’t expect anyone to be a perfect parent. No one is going to be a perfect at this and we’ll help you along the way,” Millsaps said.
In addition to the orientation, McDowell County has a Facebook page where they’re looking for parents as well.
McDowell County Chairman of the Board of Commissioners, David Walker, has been a foster parent with his wife for the past six years.
He admitted to wanting a large family when they began fostering.
“I told my wife, I said, ‘I want to adopt five kids.’ I said I wanted five. After three, no I’m not going to adopt any more,” Walker said.
He joked that he was done, but said as the family continues to foster. They get attached and think, ‘maybe we give this child a loving home?’
While the goal of fostering is to give a break to families going through a tough time, and a child or children are in need. Walker admitted there will be times you won’t want the child to go back.
Years ago, he and his wife fostered a baby girl for a little over a month.
When the time came for her to go back to her family, his wife was understandably sad because the family had formed a close bond.
“But, my wife saw that grandmother, so happy and crying the closer she got to our house and to that door. The more that grandmother was crying, immediately, just like that, I was good. I was good with the child going back. I knew the child was going to be with relatives who would take care of the child and that’s what it’s all about,” Walker said.
While it’s hard, he added, it’s worth it.
Millsaps explained the more that family members of children currently in the system obtain their license, it can bring the family closer together.
“I want kids to feel like someone loves them. I want them to feel like they have a place that they can call home,” Millsaps said.