Being a foster parent takes a special kind of person. It takes someone who is strong, patient, loving, and assertive to stand up for the needs of the children. As the use of drugs and alcohol in our country continues to rise, the need for more and more foster care families is becoming critical.

This is true across the country, but especially in Madison County, North Carolina, according to this local news article. There are only five licensed foster families in that county, with more than 80 children needing care. Because of these numbers, the children are having to move outside of the county, which means uprooting them from their known environment, school, and friends. This can cause more trauma, in addition to what they have already experienced.

Also, it hinders the path to family reunification, as traveling makes it harder for visitations. Madison County’s Department of Social Services is working hard to increase their number of foster families. They are offering free training for families to become licensed as a foster family and even offering one-on-one training if that works best for prospective foster parents.

Foster families are able to specify the age of children to be placed in their home, whether they want an older or younger child. If there is a financial concern of providing for a child in your home, stipends and assistance for daycare are provided if you work full time. Both married and single people can foster.

Bethany Wyatt, a worker at the department of social services stated in Madison County stated, “We know it’s a difficult decision to become a foster parent. We’re not saying it’s going to be this great easy thing. However, when we consider what these children are going through and the hard things they are having to do, if people can look within themselves and see if it’s something they can do to put a child’s needs before their own.”

There are many reasons people should become a foster parent. The most obvious reason is to provide a stable, loving environment for children. Most of the children in foster care have experienced a lot of trauma and instability and they need an environment where they will feel safe and secure. Not only can foster parents make a difference in the life of the child, they may also make a positive influence in the lives of the child’s parents and extended family. They can be an extension of support for the whole family. Foster care is a calling and takes a special person. Will you be that person for a child?