A Reader Asks
What does NC do to help youth achieve permanence?

North Carolina recognizes the importance of families and communities working together to raise and promote social awareness throughout the year. We believe every child and youth deserves the chance to grow up in a family that can provide them with love, hope, and stability. This article describes some of the many things North Carolina does as part of its commitment to timely permanency.

National Awareness Months

Several months have been designated to make sure we continuously expand our efforts to raise awareness and support for reunification, kinship placements, foster care, and adoption. Our National Awareness Months include:

  • April: Child Abuse Prevention
  • May: Foster Care
  • June: Reunification
  • September: Kinship Care
  • November: Adoption

The theme of Adoption Month this year is “Engage Youth: Listen and Learn.” During November (and every other month) North Carolina families are encouraged to share their hearts and homes with older youth who are waiting to be adopted and at risk of aging out of foster care.

NC is committed to ensuring every child and youth grows up in a family that can provide them with the love, hope, and stability they deserve.

Many Ongoing Efforts

North Carolina is committed every day of the year to (1) achieving permanence for children and youth in a timely manner, (2) providing them with safe and nurturing environments, and (3) ensuring families have what they need to meet the needs of children and youth.

To pursue these goals our state uses the NC Kids Adoption Exchange Program, the Diligent Recruitment and Retention (DRR) Statewide Recruitment Campaign, the Adoption Call to Action, the Permanency Innovation Initiative, and other efforts. These initiatives create opportunities and strategies for achieving timely permanence. North Carolina also makes funds available to support children with complicated psychological and medical needs (including HIV) and to identify adoptive placements out of state.

The descriptions below offer more information on permanency-related initiatives and programs available across the state.

Court Collaboration. To promote permanency the NC Division of Social Services (NCDSS) collaborates with the court system through an interagency collaborative. Collaborative participants include representatives from NC’s Court Improvement Program, NCDSS, the Administrative Office of the Courts, the Guardian ad Litem Program, the Indigent Defense Fund, the University of North Carolina, the Department of Public Instruction, and county child welfare agencies.

Prevention Collaboration. North Carolina will begin implementing the federal Family First Prevention Services Act in 2021. This law allows states to cover costs related to foster care and adoption assistance. If they wish, states may also extend federal (IV-E) reimbursement to cover certain expenditures and services related to preventing foster care placements. This includes reimbursement for evidence-based mental health, substance abuse, and parenting services to keep children safely with their families. Family First provisions are intended to strengthen families, prevent foster care placements, and limit the time children spend in foster care.

Kinship Guardianship Assistance Program. This program, which is also called KinGAP, offers financial assistance and Medicaid for youth who are ages 14 to 18 and placed with licensed kinship caregivers or foster parents who are committed to being a permanent home for the youth.

Adoption Promotion Program Fund. This program helps identify permanent adoptive homes for hard to place children and youth with special needs in the foster care system. This is achieved through a collaboration between public and contracted private child-placing agencies. Participating agencies develop adoption resources and support families and youth through the adoption process. Examples of funded activities include recruiting and developing adoptive families to meet the needs of youth needing adoptive homes, providing adoption readiness activities for youth and families, and providing adoption competency training to staff.

Post Adoption Support Services (PASS). These services help ensure the permanency and well-being of adoptees and their families. PASS are voluntary and available to all adoptees in North Carolina—regardless of the age of the adoptee or the type of adoption. Services can include but are not limited to building a network of support, case management and service planning, education and training, advocacy services, counseling services, crisis intervention, and support groups for parents and adoptees. PASS also provides education, outreach, and support to families at risk of or experiencing an illegal custody transfer.

Supplement for Children Exposed to HIV. North Carolina provides supplemental board payments for children served by the foster care program and supplemental adoption assistance payments for adopted children who were diagnosed as having been prenatally exposed to HIV or who develop symptoms of HIV/AIDS in foster care. Supplemental payments for HIV positive children may be made to foster/adoptive families, group homes, or childcare institutions licensed by the NC Division of Social Services.

Foster Care 18 to 21 Program. The NC Division of Social Services collaborated with diverse partners and the General Assembly to afford the opportunity for youth who meet program requirements to continue foster care services until they reach the age of 21. State statute also allows adoption assistance payments to continue until a youth reaches the age of 21 if the youth was adopted at age 16 or 17.

Permanency Roundtables. Achieving permanency through reunification, adoption, guardianship, or another lifelong, supportive relationship is one way to mitigate the negative outcomes that are probable for youth who would otherwise “age out” without permanent families or positive connections. By offering a structured, targeted approach, Permanency Roundtables can restore hope for these youth and increase the probability of their achieving permanency.

Purchase of Service Fees (Set Per Child Rate). State funds are available to the county department of social services, if certain guidelines are met, for adoption services from specialized out-of-state providers when adoption resources are not available in state for special needs children.

Response by the NC Division of Social Services. If you have a question about foster care or adoption in North Carolina you’d like answered in “A Reader Asks,” send it to us using the contact form here.