Supporting foster and kinship care in North Carolina

Children in the foster care system are often at increased risk for developing physical health complications and behavioral health concerns. One in three children enters foster care with a chronic medical condition. Additionally, 60% of children in foster care under age 5 have developmental health issues, and more than 40% of school-age children face educational challenges.1

To advance stability and provide critical resources for children in foster and kinship care, UnitedHealthcare Community Plan of North Carolina will provide $275,000 in grant funding to three organizations in the state.

Grant funds will help Methodist Home for Children, Boys & Girls Homes of North Carolina, and Foster Family Alliance of North Carolina expand or introduce new offerings for foster and kinship families. Kinship includes relatives related by blood or marriage and fictive kin who are unrelated but have a close relationship. 

The grants include:

  • $125,000 to Methodist Home for Children to enhance programs that stabilize placements with families for children with dual diagnoses.
  • $75,000 to Boys & Girls Homes of North Carolina to increase preventive and aftercare services for families and to support kinship placements.
  • $75,000 to Foster Family Alliance of North Carolina to increase support groups, kinship navigation and resources for kinship families.

“UnitedHealthcare’s generous grant will provide much-needed support to our ongoing efforts to stabilize struggling families in North Carolina,” said Marc Murphy, CEO, Boys & Girls Homes. “Children in foster care often come to us having experienced trauma and are behind their peers in so many key developmental areas. This collaboration will enable our staff to expand services to improve health outcomes for more children and families in our area.”

Supporting families who care for foster children

Foster parents and kinship families provide consistency and structure for foster children and must act quickly to understand each child’s physical, emotional and social needs. The grant support will help organizations enhance programs and resources that help to stabilize these placements.

Stable relationships and home environments are crucial for healthy child and youth development. In the United States, over a third of foster children and youth experience more than two placements each year, meaning their living arrangements change at least three times a year.2 In North Carolina, 45% of foster children and youth experience more than two placements each year.3 Child welfare agencies and community organizations are working to minimize these moves as they are disruptive, stressful and often traumatizing.

Kinship care has become a preferred option in most child welfare systems in the United States because it offers the most family-like out-of-home placement for children. Children in kinship care environments have fewer disruptions and overall better permanency outcomes than those in nonfamilial placements.4

“Kinship families deserve to be supported in their child welfare journey, just as foster parents are,” said Gaile Osborne, executive director, Foster Family Alliance. “Collaboration with UnitedHealthcare has allowed our organization to increase capacity across the state to help kinship families navigate physical and mental health services.”

Committed to caring for children in foster and kinship care

UnitedHealthcare Community Plan of North Carolina is committed to addressing the challenges to health and well-being experienced by children in foster care. A combination of grant support and community collaborations help to create stability and permanency for foster children, increase access to care and build healthier communities.

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