Next Readers for Change event addresses need for more foster families

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, August 30, 2022

SALISBURY — A newly established group, Readers for Change, that meets each month at the South Main Book Company, is taking a look at the need for more foster families in North Carolina.

On Wednesday, Aug. 31, at 6 p.m., the group will gather at the store, 110 S. Main St., to learn from local experts how they can help some of the most vulnerable citizens — children in foster care. Representatives from the Rowan County Department of Social Services (DSS), the Guardian ad Litem (GAL) Program, the Terrie Hess House (formerly Prevent Child Abuse Rowan), Nazareth Child and Family Connection will be among those in attendance.

No advanced reading is required for participation, but the book, “Stranger Care” written by Sarah Sentilles, will be encouraged for further study.

“Research demonstrates children raised in foster care often contend with some of the most negative health and behavioral outcomes of all members of a community, and the numbers of vulnerable children in this community are expected to rise as reproductive rights are increasingly regulated by state governments,” according to a release on the event.

Rowan County’s Department of Social Services (DSS) reports there are currently 176 youth in custody (an increase over fiscal year 2021-22 when they averaged 169), yet there are currently only 40 licensed foster homes, also a slight increase over the 34 homes they averaged last fiscal year. Foster youths are housed in a variety of placements, including with relatives; however, 38 foster youth are currently placed outside of Rowan County due to the lack of foster homes available in the vicinity.

Anyone interested in becoming a foster parent is welcome to begin the application process at https://www.rowancountync.gov/1569/Fostering

DSS has their next foster parent training session scheduled to begin in September.

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