Improvements Needed to Mecklenburg’s Child Welfare System, Study Says

Last year Mecklenburg County, NC commissioned Eckerd Kids, a Florida-based human services nonprofit, to assess the Department of Social Service’s child welfare work. The county is home to the city of Charolotte, NC and has custody of 550 to 600 children at any given time.

“By and large, there’s a lot of great work being done,” study lead and Eckerd Kids employee Ron Zychowski told county commissioners.

The seven-month study praised DSS for the few children who return to foster care after finding permanent homes, timely adoptions and the absence of abuse among foster children. But, Eckerd Kids found problems with children finding long-lasting new relationships, or being adopted, after being removed from their homes. The percentage finding “permanency” within 12 months is among the lowest in the nation.

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