For potential foster families, there are advantages and disadvantages to each. The primary difference between the two is that with a Public Agency, it would be rare to have a child placed with you from outside the county where you reside, whereas, in a Private Agency a child from any of the 100 counties can be placed in your home. It is important to research which type of agency would work best for your family.
In North Carolina you can become a foster parent through a Public Agency or a Private Agency. The Public Agency will be the Department of Social Services in the County where you reside. The Private Agency can be any agency in North Carolina that is licensed by the state as a Child Placing Agency.
Once you have decided which Agency Type you prefer, then you have to decide what type of family license you want to pursue. In North Carolina there are two types of license; Family Foster Care, sometimes referred to as traditional, and Therapeutic Foster Care. It is important for you to learn the difference between the two license types. Factors that can help determine which license type is best for your family are; The age of the child you are hoping to foster, The age of your children if any who may be in your home, your employment and flexibility with family leave, and any desires to adopt.
It is our policy at Seven Homes not to license any new Foster Families as therapeutic. Our belief is that foster parents need experience working with traditional foster children and their needs before stepping up to a therapeutic level providing care for children with the most challenging needs. That being said, if you are a new family and want to pursue therapeutic care, there is nothing wrong with that, it is just our philosophy not to.
Another factor in deciding on an agency type and license type is your desire to adopt. If you are hoping to foster with the possibilities of adopting then you need to select a Private Agency that is licensed as both a child placing agency for foster care and adoption. If you are looking at your Public Agency, have a conversation with the licensing worker to see how they view adoption. Most counties will support their families adopting and will work closely with you. Other counties would like to, but manpower and other factors limit their ability.
Please note: Deciding which agency you want to work with might be the most important decision a new family makes in their journey to becoming a foster family. The relationship you have with your licensing agency is so important. Look for an agency that you are comfortable with, an agency that shows as much interest in you and your children as you do in them.
Visit the State listing page for all Private Foster Care and Adoption agencies in North Carolina. The Agencies are listed by the County they have their Principal office located in, and does not mean they only work in that County.
Seven Homes does not provide the above link because we are not interested in licensing your family. We provide the link because we want your family to have the information you need to make an informed decision. We hope that you select Seven Homes, but more important for us, we want you to feel confident with whatever agency you ultimately decide to license with.