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By Haylie Robinson

Photos Courtesy of the Boys & Girls Homes of North Carolina

In North Carolina, there is a need for loving, caring, and stable foster parents who can provide a nurturing environment for children in need. Boys & Girls Homes of North Carolina (BGHNC) is committed to finding individuals and families who can open their hearts and homes to foster children. With a mission to support vulnerable children and youth, BGHNC is actively searching for foster parents to help provide temporary care and support to children in the state’s foster care system.

Becoming a foster parent is a significant commitment, and BGHNC has established requirements to ensure that the children receive the best possible care. Prospective foster parents should:

1. Age and Marital Status: Be at least 21 years old and single or in a committed relationship for at least one year.

2. Financial Stability: Demonstrate a stable financial situation or work history to ensure the ability to provide for the foster child’s needs.

3. Residency: Have lived in their current home, whether rented or owned, for at least six months to ensure stability.

4. Transportation: Possess a valid driver’s license and have access to a reliable vehicle for transportation needs.

5. Education: Hold a high school diploma or GED to demonstrate the capacity to guide and support a child’s educational journey.

6. Background Checks: Undergo a thorough criminal background check and federal background check (fingerprinting) to ensure the child’s safety.

7. Health Requirements: Provide a completed physical examination from a doctor to ensure physical well-being.

8. Housing Standards: Ensure their residence passes a fire inspection and has adequate living space for foster children.

9. Training: Complete 40 hours of licensing training to equip them with the necessary knowledge and skills to be successful foster parents.

10. Personal Qualities: Possess teamwork, determination, patience, and a sense of humor, as fostering can present unique challenges.

11. Love for Children: Display genuine love and care for children and a willingness to create a nurturing environment.

The duration of a child’s stay in foster care can vary significantly, ranging from a few days to several months or even years. BGHNC recognizes the importance of providing children with a stable and supportive environment during their time in foster care, regardless of the length of their stay.

Becoming a foster parent with Boys & Girls Homes of North Carolina is straightforward and typically takes around seven weeks, roughly equivalent to the duration of the licensing classes. Prospective foster parents can take the following steps:

1. Contact BGHNC: Interested individuals can contact the Boys & Girls Homes Agency, contact Erika Johnson, Foster Parent Recruiter, at (910) 619-3358 or via email at erika.johnson@bghnc.org. You can also go to their website, boysandgirlshomes.org, for more information.

2. Attend Licensing Classes: Upon contacting BGHNC, prospective foster parents will sign up for the foster parent licensing classes. These classes provide essential training and information to prepare individuals and families for their fostering journey.

“It varies on how long it’ll take for a trying foster parent to be approved, but normally it takes seven weeks. About the same length of a licensing class, so about two months.” Johnson stated.

BGHNC emphasizes the significance of fostering within local communities. Johnson stated, “Becoming a foster parent in our communities is what we need. There is a need for some caring foster parents in our local communities to keep children that come into custody in their home community.” By keeping children in their home communities, foster parents play a vital role in offering stability and continuity during challenging times in a child’s life. Becoming a foster parent is an opportunity to positively impact the lives of vulnerable children and provide them with the love, care, and support they need to thrive.

Becoming a foster parent with Boys & Girls Homes of North Carolina presents an opportunity to transform the lives of children in need. Individuals and families can provide a safe and loving environment for foster children to grow and flourish by meeting the specified requirements and completing the necessary training. If you have the heart, determination, and commitment to make a difference in a child’s life, consider reaching out to BGHNC and embark on a journey that can be both challenging and immensely rewarding. Together, let’s foster a brighter future for the children of North Carolina.

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