Cabarrus County Seeing Rise In Foster Care Cases Since Pandemic

CABARRUS COUNTY — A disturbing trend in Cabarrus County.  The number of children in foster care is on the rise.  And, expert believe the pandemic is to blame.

“We are getting an increase number of parents bringing their children to the Department of Human Services, and leaving them.  Hear me say that, they are leaving them,” says Paula Yost with the Cabarrus County Child Protection and Fatality Team.  She told Cabarrus County School Board Members that since the start of the pandemic, the county has averaged 150 to 160 kids in foster care.  Typically, the county sees between 110 and 120 children in foster care.

“Some of these parents may have an addiction issue where they need to go to an AA meeting, a lot of parents do that when they’re children are in school.  We have children who are not in school, or children who are frustrated using the computer system, or parents who are frustrated with the kids trying to do their work,” says Yost.

Earlier this month, the Cabarrus County School Board voted to send students in grades Pre-K through 3rd grade to school two days per week for in-person learning beginning Monday, October 19.

During Monday’s board meeting, many parents pleaded with leaders to return to full, in-person learning.

The Department of Health and Human Services is trying to keep families together.  Yost says many parents who are unemployed, mentally ill, or addicted to drugs feel they have no where to turn.

Yost believes the school system should return to full, in-person learning.  But, she says leaders must first find a way to do so, safely.

Board President Rob Walter says the board hasn’t received any data on foster care numbers in Cabarrus County.  But, he says the school system works closely with social service agencies to ensure students are receiving the services they need.