Foster care program recruits local parents
SPRUCE PINE – Gastonia-based foster care program Carolina Therapeutic Services Tuesday, June 19, hosted a foster parent recruiting event at Spruce Pine First Baptist Church.
CTS Program Manager Debrah Clark spoke to two local couples about the program’s mission, requirements for becoming a foster home and the importance of foster care and adoption. The visiting couples to the recruiting event were different ages, but Clark explained CTS works with all types of foster parents.
“We have single females, single males, same-sex couples and people from various religious backgrounds,” she said.
CTS currently serves about 90 families in North Carolina, Clark said. Mitchell County has one CTS family and another family in the area is training to become one.
The goal of CTS is keeping children in their community, which is why the organization intends to become more prominent in Mitchell County. CTS has served more than 1,000 children throughout Western North Carolina since being granted its foster care license in 2015.
“Our goal is to reach the Tennessee line,” Clark said. “If we can provide homes in the communities that the children come from, it’s going to be better for the children as well as for the foster parents.”
Mitchell County resident Nikki Ward serves as the CTS placement coordinator. She stressed the importance of providing more foster care options for local children, saying there are more than 80 children currently in the custody of the Mitchell County Department of Social Services and about 25 percent of them end up staying in the county through the adoption or foster process.
“The rest of them are sent out to other places because there aren’t enough local resources to house them,” Ward said. “The perfect situation is to keep kids in their home community so that they don’t have to change schools and can make friends. Unless there’s a true safety concern, it’s perfect.”
CTS is in the process of becoming a licensed adoption agency, giving interested parents another option outside of adopting through the state via the Department of Social Services.
“North Carolina really wants people to foster and eventually adopt and we will work with you all the way through that process,” Clark said. “Foster parents can continue working with us through the entire adoption process. We would take care of all of the adoption paperwork in house.”
Call 704-864-1477 or visit www.carolinatherapeuticservies.org for more information about CTS.