Photo Credit: Walt Stoneburner, Flickr Creative Commons
By Michelle Crouch, The Charlotte Ledger, July 5, 2023 -- With foster homes in short supply, more than 55 children over the past year have spent at least one night sleeping on an air mattress in a Mecklenburg government conference room; “It’s as bad as it’s ever been.”
Dozens of children have been forced to sleep on the floor of Mecklenburg County offices over the past year because of a severe shortage of foster homes and crisis beds, according to the county Department of Social Services.
The children, who come into county custody after allegations of abuse, neglect or abandonment, sleep on air mattresses in two conference rooms, said Charles Bradley, the county’s youth and family services division director.
Bradley said the situation is “as bad as it’s ever been” in his 19 years at the department.
Since July 2022, 55 foster children have slept in county offices, he said. Most are age 12 and older, Bradley said, but a few have been younger. Some have stayed as long as a few weeks.
“Any night they are in the office is an unfortunate situation because we know each and every one of our children that come to us has a history of trauma, abuse or neglect,” Bradley said. “We are in desperate need of more foster families to step up and welcome children into their hearts and their homes.”
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