Foster Family Frustrations Expected To Take Center Stage At Meeting

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by Kirk Hawkins
by Adam Stevens

GASTONIA, N.C.--Dale Schiff has fostered six children since last August. "In this past year, this journey has not been pleasant. I have witnessed and seen things that have bothered me," Schiff said.

Schiff says a law that established a foster care ombudsman in Gaston County earlier this year isn't working. "All I've ever wanted to do is take care of kids. I do not understand  why fostering has to be this difficult. This hard," Schiff said.

The ombudsman and pilot program were supposed to make it easier for foster parents to work through a dispue about care or placement. "It's frustrating because this shouldn't be happening,"
said a foster parent who says it hasn't helped. She wanted WCCB to conceal her identity. She says she's been waiting for foster children to be placed in her home since April. Instead, she says they've been placed outside of Gaston County. "It makes you infuriated because there's no sense in it," she said.

Advocates of the newly renamed Gaston County Department of Health and Human Services say
the agency isn't overlooking local homes. They say D.H.H.S. doesn't have enough homes with the right match within the county. Instead of waiting for that matching process to be complete, Dale is having second thoughts. "I'm not sure that I would do it again, honestly." said Schiff.

The Gaston County Board of Health and Human Services is scheduled to meet on Thursday at 6 p.m. at the Human Services Center Auditorium in Gastonia.

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