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Think of the children

Every child deserves a loving, stable home environment that provides the basics of shelter, food, clothing and warmth.

But that’s not always the case.

More and more, children in Beaufort County and the nation as a whole are being denied that sense of stability, and a lot of it has to do with drug abuse on the part of parents.

From 2000 to 2016, the Department of Health and Human Services reports that foster care entries associated with parental substance abuse have jumped from 10% of all cases to just over 30%.

Right now, there are 131 children in the foster care system locally. While about 69 are being taken care of by family members or foster families in the area, 62 Beaufort County kids are in the care of agencies as far away as Raleigh, Charlotte and South Carolina.

These are children who grew up right here in Beaufort County and have been removed from everything they know and love. While not all of these removals are related to drug use among parents, many are, according to Department of Social Services personnel.

It’s a tragic situation, one that is bigger than Beaufort County. Setting aside the lives ruined and lost because of drug abuse, the issue sends ripples throughout the entire community, and the children are the ones most impacted.

Maybe you’re not at a point in your life where becoming a foster parent is feasible. Perhaps you’re not ready for a child, or feel those days are long behind you. That’s completely understandable.

But here’s how you can help: talk to your friends about the issue. Keep the conversation alive about how this drug epidemic is affecting people other than drug users.

If your heart feels led to do so, consider being that source of stability for a child who needs it most. Foster parent orientation and classes are coming up in Beaufort County, and people willing to love and care for a child are more in demand than ever.

If you think you might have what it takes, visit www.ncdhhs.gov/divisions/social-services/child-welfare-services/adoption-and-foster-care to learn more. If you want to take the next step, call 252-940-6023 or 252-940-6028. You’ll be making a difference in a child’s life and helping ease a little bit of the world’s suffering.