Foster Care

About Foster Care

Foster care is a temporary living arrangement for abused, neglected, and dependent children who need a safe place to live when their parents or another relative cannot take care of them. Often their families face issues such as illness, alcohol or drug addiction, or homelessness.

When Moore County Department of Social Services (MCDSS) believes a child is not safe, and a judge agrees, MCDSS takes custody of that child and finds a foster home for him or her. The length of stay in foster care varies from a few days to much longer.

Foster families are recruited, trained, and licensed to care for abused and neglected children temporarily, while their parents work with social work professionals to resolve their family issues. Relatives may be licensed as foster parents.

The foster family, MCDSS, and the birth family work together to return children to their own homes as quickly as possible. In cases where the child becomes free for adoption, foster parents may be considered as adoptive parents.

About the Children

Thousands of children in North Carolina enter the foster care system each year, and range in age from infants to 18 years old. All foster children have unique backgrounds, experiences, personalities, strengths, and needs.

Some children in foster care require extensive care for physical or emotional handicaps and disabilities.

Some also require help with undisciplined and delinquent behaviors. Most foster children do not have a strong sense of belonging or self-worth. Many have been victims of physical or sexual abuse. All children who are in foster care require special care, support, and nurturing.

Financial Compensation

Foster parents receive financial compensation from the placement agency for a child's room, board, and other living expenses. Sometimes there are supplemental payments for the care of children with special needs.

Although the amount of the financial compensation payments may vary from agency to agency and sometimes based on the individual needs of the foster child, the current state-recommended rates are as follows:

  • $702 - children ages 0 to 5
  • $742 - children ages 6 to 12
  • $810 - children ages 13 and over

Who Can Be a Foster Parent

Foster parents must:

  • Be at least 21 years old
  • Have a stable home and income
  • Be willing to be fingerprinted and have a criminal records check
  • Maintain a drug-free environment
  • Complete all required training and be licensed by the state of North Carolina
  • To find out more on how to become a licensed foster parent, please contact our office at 910-947-2436. MCDSS can offer information that will help you decide if foster parenting is right for you.

Foster Parents License

Yes, North Carolina state law requires that all foster parents be licensed to care for children in their care. These licenses are issued by the NC. Department of Health and Human Services. County Departments of Social Services and several private child-caring agencies are authorized to work with potential foster parents to assist them with the licensing process and to provide supervision and support for the foster parents.

Potential foster parents receive 30 hours of training. The training covers topics such as child abuse and neglect, working with birth parents, and helping foster children deal with the issues they face. It also helps potential foster parents think about how parenting another child may affect their family.

How to Become a Foster Parent

To find out more on how to become a licensed foster parent you can visit our licensing web page, view the orientation video from the state State Foster Parent Orientation, call NC KIDS at 1-877-NCKIDS (877-625-4371, or contact MCDSS at 910-947-2436. MCDSS can offer information that will help you decide if foster parenting is right for you.