One of the sad realities of the foster system is that oftentimes siblings are separated and sent to different homes in different places.
It’s rare that a foster family has the means or the ability to take on entire families instead of one or two children, but the impact that has on the siblings is quite detrimental.
In the state of North Carolina, a foster family is limited to five children under one roof, according to Fox News — but the number of people willing to take on that many is obviously low.
While the issues making fostering multiple children are many and complex, one very practical issue is housing: Many potential foster parents simply don’t have the space for entire sibling sets.
So some people decided to do something to change that. During the pandemic, Alex Williams founded “Fostering Hopes,” whose goal is to “Empower, Encourage and Sustain the work of the local community in the growing Foster Care need,” according to its Facebook page.
Williams is uniquely attuned to the needs of this particular community, having worked in foster care for ten years.
The North Carolina nonprofit has hit the ground running in its efforts, expanding its reach by forming an exciting partnership with H3 Collective, whose mission as stated on Facebook is to “provide homes where kids can experience hope and healing.” Together, they’re building a new home for a foster family in North Buncombe County.
Buncombe County is especially in need of more foster parents, as Williams told WLOS that of the county’s 320+ children in foster care, over a third are sent to other counties because there just aren’t enough families in Buncombe County.
There are many benefits to keeping siblings together in the county they’re familiar with, as it can lessen the trauma they’d experience upon separation, keep them in familiar areas and increase the chances of a healthy reunification with their parents.
So Fostering Hopes and H3 Collective hope to bring a solution to that problem by creating “professional foster parenting homes” — homes designed with the specific needs of foster families in mind.
The house is a generous 3,600 square feet, has five bedrooms, two bonus rooms, and is big enough to comfortably hold the max number of foster kids allowed by the state. The building has been years in the making, as documented by H3 Collective’s Facebook page, and has been funded primarily through donations.
The house is over halfway done and when it’s complete, it will be given — for free — to a licensed foster couple willing to accept the task of fostering a large group of foster siblings.
“It’s very, very difficult to find a family that’s got the capacity to take two, certainly three, children,” Williams said.
“The intention is to provide hope to children who typically find themselves without it,” Williams continued. “We hope to keep siblings together, to keep children in their home communities and provide dedicated families or parents for children who need them the most.”
This is the first house of what Williams hopes will be three on the same plot of donated land in Buncombe County, which is 10 acres. He also hopes this type of practical solution will take off in other areas, as well, and hopes to expand this ministry into other counties that lack foster parent resources.
This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.