AGAPE OF NORTH CAROLINA is a non-profit, professional Christian agency sponsored by the churches of Christ. AGAPE is licensed by the state of North Carolina department of health and human services as a private child placing agency. AGAPE has been providing services to children and families since 1982. AGAPE recruits, trains and licenses only the most compassionate, Christian, loving and nurturing foster families. AGAPE offers foster families twenty-four hour support, initial and on-going training and financial reimbursement. AGAPE employs social workers to provide case management, support and continuing education services to children and families associated with the agency.
What is Foster Care?
Foster care provides children with an alternative to living in an unsafe environment. It is a system in which minor children are placed either with a relative or close family friend, in a group home, residential facility or in the care of a child placing agency-licensed foster family as a substitute for a child’s unsuitable living situation. Becoming more common in recent years, children have been formally placed in foster care with a relative, such as grandparents, this is called kinship care. Foster care can also be used for children who have suddenly lost a parent or are homeless.
Requirements for becoming a foster parent
- Must be 21 years of age (No top age limitation)
- Be in good health and free from communicable diseases
- Can be single or married (if married must be married for at least 3 years)
- Member in good standing in your local congregation for at least 1 year
- Agency policy states must agree not to engage in health threatening activities such as smoking etc.
Facts about Foster Care
The Media often portrays foster care in a negative light, reporting only on the adversities of the child welfare system. Foster care gives children a second chance and an opportunity to be raised in a stable environment. Here are the facts that you should know about foster care.
Who is in Foster Care?
Nationally, 400,540 children spent time in the foster care system. In North Carolina there were 66,000 reports of child abuse and neglect from July 2013-June 2014 and of those reports 8,400 were substantiated. The age ranges that are affected by abuse and neglect include 52% 0-5 years old, 32% 6-12 year’s old and15% 13-17 years old. The majority of the children in foster care are boys, at 52%, while 48% are girls. For race demographics, there are more children of color in the system compared to the overall U.S. population, but child abuse and neglect occur at about the same rate in all ethnic groups.
What happens once in the foster Care System?
Once the NCDHHS takes custody of the children 11% return home within 90 days, 89% of children remain in foster care for over 90 days and 53% remain in custody for over 540 days. Subsequently, 34% of children in foster care remain in care an average of two years prior to social services terminating parental rights and making the children available for adoption. These facts are an overwhelming indication that Agape’s mission to provide compassionate Christian outreach to children and families is whole heartedly necessary.
Reasons for Foster Care
There are many reasons why foster care would be needed for a child. Foster care placement may be required due to accusations of physical, emotional or sexual abuse, substance abuse on the part of the parent or primary caregiver, or neglect of the child. An adolescent with repeat run-ins with the law may also result in placement into foster care.
Goals of Foster Care
The ideal goal for a child in foster care is permanency whether through:
- Reunification; to reunite children with their parents or principal caretakers once the situation is deemed appropriate and safe for them to be returned.
- kinship care
- Other common goals include: establishing guardianship, emancipation
- In rare cases long-term foster care.
Choosing the Best Foster Home for a Child
Physical, emotional, and safety needs of the child are some of the main considerations when choosing a foster home for a child in need of foster care placement. Other reasons include proximity to the child's family and school, keeping siblings together, and the special skills or attributes of the foster family.
Steps to Becoming a foster parent
Thank you for your interest in becoming a foster parent with AGAPE. Caring for the rising number of abused and neglected children requires a serious commitment. However, the personal satisfaction that comes from providing a stable, nurturing, and secure environment to a child in crisis is beyond measure.
- Here is how you begin the process:
- Click on this hyperlink www.ncswlearn.org review the short tutorial on steps to becoming a foster parent and please print out certificate of completion at the end.
- Call the main office in Wake Forest NC @ 919-673-7816 or email firstname.lastname@example.org and inform of your interest in becoming a foster parent. They can share general information and get you assigned to a social worker to start the process.
AGAPE will support you through your journey!