The primary purpose of Foster Care service is to provide a safe temporary placement for children who cannot remain safely in the home of their parent(s). The children are in the custody of the Department of Social Services by court order.
The goal of foster care is to implement a plan for permanency for each child. The plan is intended to last through the child/youth’s adulthood and with the child out of foster care, agency custody, and state oversight. If the child cannot be returned home to the parents, another permanent planned living arrangement is made. Permanency plans, with priority from the most to the least permanent by federal law are:
Permanency plans are developed by conducting a comprehensive family assessment and providing services to enhance the capacity of parents to care for their children. Services that address the educational, mental and physical well-being of the children are provided or arranged for foster children.
The Department provides foster care services to:
Foster care services are provided by 46 County Department of Social Services offices. Intensive foster care and clinical services are provided by regional offices. In addition to services by the Department of Social Services, services are provided to families by other public and private providers to address needs identified in a comprehensive family assessment and individualized case plan.
Foster Care services include joint assessment and development of individual case plans by parents, children and DSS staff. DSS offers services to children to reduce the detrimental effects of abuse and neglect and to address needs related to their educational, mental and physical well-being.
Parents are offered services aimed at changing the behavior that caused the child to be unsafe in the home and which must be successfully changed for the child to be safely returned home and to end DSS services.
Youth who emancipate after age 18 can contact the county DSS office in whatever county they are currently living and request Aftercare Services. Youth participate in an Aftercare assessment interview to help determine needed services.
Meet Patrick Plunkett, DSS’ First Carolina Life Scholarship Recipient Receives Certificate from USC
The number for the Foster Care Helpline is 1-800-645-9789. It was established to answer calls 24 hours a day from children and youth in foster care.
See the section on Foster Care Licensing for information on becoming a foster care provider.