We receive many questions at the Department of Social Services about adoption and foster care. Below are the most common questions we receive with their answers.
Each answer will provide you with additional information and resources if available.
Prospective Foster Parents must attend an orientation meeting. The orientation meeting is where you will find out more about:
See Basic Requirements to become a licensed foster parent in North Carolina.
Orientations are held at our Charlotte East location, located at 5800 Executive Center Drive. The orientations will begin at 6:30pm. The orientations are held the fourth Tuesdays of each month, with the exception of November and December due to the holiday season. Please review the orientation schedule.
You must be employed or receiving retirement or disability.
Yes. Licensed foster parents receive a monthly stipend based on the child’s age. The age categories are as follows:
Yes. Married couples are expected to participate in the MAPP training together.
Once you are licensed you are required to receive continuing education training every two years. The continuing education training can be taken separate or jointly from your spouse or partner.
No. You cannot receive public assistance, such as food stamps, Temporary Assistance, Work First benefits or public housing to be a foster parent with Mecklenburg County.
See additional criteria for foster parents.
First, one must have the willingness and desire to open his or her heart and home to care for a child. The adoption process requires a thorough assessment of prospective families. They can be single or married and may own or rent their home. In addition, they must meet the following requirements:
In North Carolina, you do not have to foster in order to adopt. However, our agency strongly encourages prospective adoptive parents to become licensed.
Adoption is a legal process, and there are some legal fees associated with the process. However, if you choose to adopt children in custody, most of these fees are reimbursable through non-recurring fees.
Every child who is legally cleared for adoption is assessed for eligibility for adoption assistance. The prospective adoptive parent will be informed of the child’s eligibility at the time the child is presented to you for consideration of adoption.
Adoption assistance has five (5) specific benefits for children who are determined to be eligible.
Children of all ages are available for adoption. However, infants and toddlers in foster care are often placed with relatives or adopted by their foster parents if they are not able to be returned to their parents. The ages for the majority of the children who are available for adoption in Mecklenburg County are 11 years and older. In many cases, these are siblings who need to be placed together.
On average, the typical adoption from placement to finish takes six months to a year.
Our agency only completes pre-placement assessments for prospective adoptive families who have identified a child in our custody. The Pre-Placement Assessment is free of charge.
No. While fostering would give you great experience with parenting, it is not necessary or required before adopting.
There is no cost to families for post adoption services.
The Phoenix Project is Mecklenburg County’s name for Independent Living services.
LINKS is the name the state of NC uses for Independent Living services. LINKS, The Phoenix Project, and Independent Living are synonymous.
It is not an acronym; LINKS represents "linking" youth to the resources they need for self sufficiency.
The Phoenix Project provides individual guidance, consultation, community linkages, and group programming for the purpose of preparing youth for the transition to adulthood.
Some of the program offerings include Lifeskills training (pre-employment skills, financial literacy, housing, transportation, etc.), Softskills group (goal setting, values clarification, self-esteem, sexuality, etc.), vocational exposure/career planning, educational planning (college applications, FAFSA, financial aid& scholarship information, etc.), opportunities for volunteerism and leadership.
Youth who are in custody of DSS as teens (age 13+) up to age 21. Youth who have been adopted at the age of 12.
Teen youth who are in DSS/YFS custody are automatically included in the programming and services offered by The Phoenix Project. For those youth who are no longer in custody but have not yet reached the age of 21, they can contact The Phoenix Project office at 704-336-3290.
More information is available at:
For information on scholarships available to current and former foster youth search online links at www.ncreach.org and www.statevoucher.org.
A CARS Agreement is a contract between DSS and the youth who is aging out of foster care (at age 18) in which the youth is requesting to remain in foster placement while working towards the transition out of care. The youth must be enrolled in an educational or vocational training program and be making progress towards achieving his/her goals.
All adoptive children and parents who have adopted from the Department of Social Services or private agency in North Carolina or another state, but have relocated on Mecklenburg County.
The agency currently offers:
A Confidential Intermediary is a licensed child-placing agency that acts as a third party to facilitate the sharing of adoption information between a biological parent, an adoptee and/or other eligible family members.
Effective October 1, 2010 an adoptee who has reached the age of eighteen (18) may participate in CI services.
Effective October 1, 2010 the following individuals are eligible to participate in CI services:
For the purposes of CI services, the definition of "family member" includes a spouse, child, stepchild, parent, stepparent, grandparent, or grandchild.
Mecklenburg County is currently not charging a fee at his time.
A birth, death, and/or marriage certificates will suffice.
No, Mecklenburg County only provides Confidential Intermediary Services for those individuals who adoption was completed by our agency.
You may review the list of other county/private agencies that provide Confidential Intermediary.
The consent of the party being sought is required in al CI searches. If the individual being sought fails to give their consent the searchee will be notified and the case will be closed.
The written consent of the biological parent(s) must also be obtained prior to the search of a sibling or family member. If the biological parent (s) cannot be located, or refuse to submit their consent, the searchee will be notified and the case will be closed.
The agency will provide a copy of the death certificate to the individual who initiated the search.
No. Adoption records remain sealed and can only be release upon order of the Court in the original county of jurisdiction.