County needs licensed foster homes

Published 4:25 pm Monday, July 7, 2014

The Beaufort County Department of Social Services Foster and Adoptions Unit is campaigning to get more people to foster children in the county.

DSS is hosting MAPP classes, a guide designed by the state of North Carolina for those interested in becoming foster parents, said BCDSS Foster Home Licensing Social Worker Shirley Williams.

The classes, offered in the fall and spring, are a 10-week, 30-hour series of programs designed to prepare candidates to become excellent foster parents for children who are placed in foster care. Traditionally, the classes are held on Tuesday from 6:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m., Williams said. However, this fall the BCDSS hopes to format the schedules so more people can participate. This spring, the classes will be offered for five Saturdays, all day.

Williams said the classes give those interested a way to decide if fostering is something they really want to do. It gives them a chance to see what a child may go through and it gives the BCDSS a chance to connect with candidates.

“You’re dealing with a child that has been put in different situations,” Williams said. “It teaches you about the loss and gains a child may go through. They may be gaining your home, but they may feel they are losing their home as well as other things.”

When a child is placed in foster care, they are not only losing their home and family, but also, depending on their placement, they may be losing their friends, teachers and even their environment, Williams said. Forty-nine percent of Beaufort County children in foster care are placed outside the county. The program teaches fostering candidates how to identify behaviors and attachments a child may have, as well as how to help the child adjust to a new environment.

Williams said becoming a foster parent is part of a team effort, meaning the fostering parents must work with not only the child, but also with the birth parents, teachers, counselors and social workers. The program shows you how to work as a team player towards reuniting the child with his or her family. Many times a child may be placed in foster care while social workers work closely with the birth parents, helping them set and meet goals to be able to take back control of caring for their child, Williams said.

“Fostering is a temporary placement,” Williams said. “We work with the birth family towards reunification.”

Williams said the BCDSS looks for those interested in becoming licensed in fostering who are over the age of 21, have at least a high school diploma and have enough income to support themselves. They would also need stable housing and transportation and be able to pass a background check.

For more information about the MAPP classes offered through the Beaufort County Department of Social Services or to sign up, please call Shirley Williams at 940-6023 or email at