CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Samantha Haun and Grant Haun have rearranged rooms inside their home for 22 foster children in the last four years.
The couple says fostering wasn’t always on their radar.
Samantha Haun is a teacher and says she didn’t learn about the foster care system until one of her own students was at risk.
“I immediately came home that day and told Grant, my husband, that I told the school counsellor one of my students could come live with us and stay with us,” she said.
They say even with intentions to open their home for any child in need, the process was difficult.
“We just found the system was so overwhelming. What to do and where to go and whom we should contact with and when appointments were, when visits were,” Samantha Haun said.
They say for these reasons many parents stop fostering after one child. However, they’re hoping the new Foster Parent Bill of Rights will provide clarity for some of their concerns along with transparency.
“Sometimes finding actual written policy and regulations that the department follows…it can be difficult to find access to those policies,” Samantha Haun said.
The bill would give foster parents more information about the child’s history, the ability to provide their observations of the child’s well-being directly to the court, more decision making rights with the child and transparency in eligible reimbursements.
With the support of local organizations like Foster Village, which drops off meals and necessities, they say the process has been easier. However, they’re hoping the Foster Parent Bill of Rights will make changes on an institutional level, recognizing the importance of foster parents and giving them a voice.
For more information about volunteering or receiving assistance from Foster Village Charlotte, head to their website.