There are more than 10,000 children currently in foster care in North Carolina, but only about 5,500 licensed families who can take them in, according to the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services.


What You Need To Know

There are more than 10,000 children in need of a home in the state of North Carolina, but only 5,500 licensed foster families

Mecklenburg County is using a new system to streamline new applications for foster parents

State lawmakers recently passed legislation that’ll pay up to $405 a month per child to guardians caring for relatives in the system


Moneque Heyward is one of about 70 foster parents in Mecklenburg County — stretched thin for the county’s 400+ children in need of a home.

Andre was one of the first kids she welcomed into this space when he was just 4 years old.

Now, he’s 13 and officially her son.

“That baby face is not so baby anymore,” she said while looking at Andre’s baby pictures. "I’m pretty sure I saw a mustache yesterday and I almost burst into tears.”

Last month, Mecklenburg County launched a campaign to find more foster parents like Heyward. It includes a new online system called Binti that streamlines the application process, cutting out hard copies for applicants who prefer working online.

Mackenzie Brailsford with Mecklenburg County’s Department of Social Services says it’s more user-friendly than the traditional physical applications.

“It allows the department to be more efficient in our response in pursuing individuals interested in fostering,” he said.

Heyward says it’s more efficient for existing foster parents, too.

“So, for me using Binti for my license renewal, I would say it cut my time down in half, just being able to submit the documents while the kids are sleeping,” she said.

She’s encouraging more people to sign up and learn the truth about the process, rather than get scared away by misconceptions.

“I think the biggest one is that you know, the families are just these horrible people and they’re going to like harass you and come stalking you. That’s not what happens,” said Heyward. “Sometimes it’s financial. Sometimes it’s medical. If they have a medical emergency and they don’t have local family to care for their children, they can come into care.”

In addition to a call for more foster care parents, North Carolina lawmakers recently passed legislation incentivizing relatives caring for children in the foster care system. The state would pay up to $405 a month to guardians for each child under their care.