The Cumberland County Board of Commissioners met Monday morning to startling news — there are currently 733 children in foster care in the County — the highest number for an individual county in North Carolina. Another concerning number commissioners learned, or a number that should be larger was that Cumberland County only has 51 foster families.
Delores Long, the assistant director of Social Services, told the board that out of the 733 children who are in foster care, 275 have been placed out of county and 42 were placed out of the state.
“So you can see with the number of children we have out of county and out of state, there’s truly a need for foster families within Cumberland County,” Long told the commissioners.
When asked what could possibly be the cause for the high number of foster children, Long said it largely has to do with having a large military installation in the county.
“We have a lot of families who come here and they do not necessarily have direct, natural support here in the community. So that has the tendency to increase the number of times children have to enter foster care because they lack the natural supports in the community to prevent it,” Long said.
The Department of Social Services is collaborating with the county for a “Not Perfect…Just Willing” campaign. This campaign aims to create more awareness for families and adults in Cumberland County to take an interest in being a foster family. The goal for Long is to raise the number of foster families from 51 to 115.
The campaign will kick off on March 26 at the “Vax Your Vet, Vax Yourself 2.0” event.
“To be a foster parent, you don’t have to be perfect. You just have to be willing,” Loren Bymer, the Deputy Public Information Director, said. “Our goal is to increase foster families within Cumberland County so we don’t have to send anyone outside our county.”