Where is it that you feel safest? While many people have the luxury of answering “at home”, others are constantly worried about what awaits them- for some, home is not where the heart is.
Thousands of children in North Carolina enter foster care each year because they are no longer safe in their homes and are in need of a foster family to care for them and, during this transitional and fragile time in a child’s life, Carolina Family Connections (CFC) is there.
CFC recruits, licenses, trains, and supervises family foster homes to provide out-of-home placements for children who have been abused and/or neglected. Their social work staff are dedicated to both the children and foster families and advocate for all possible resources necessary to meet their needs.
Melisa Patterson, a social worker for CFC, says “We at Carolina Family Connections desire more than anything to see the children placed with our agency succeed and thrive, and we are dedicated to doing whatever we can to empower foster children to reach their goals.”
Shakil is a perfect example of how CFC contributes positively to children’s lives.
Shakil is a former foster child placed by CFC who recently graduated from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro with a BA in Sociology and a concentration in Criminology.
Laine Clontz, President of Carolina Family Connections, recalls "I first met Shakil when he was placed in a Carolina Family Connections foster home in July of 2012. Shakil was a rising high school senior. He excelled as an A/B Honor student, mentor to children at the middle school and outstanding member of the football team.”
CFC did not abandon Shakil at the age of 18 as is standard with many other agencies, Clontz explains “Although he was accepted to UNC-Greensboro the county with custody decided not to continue supporting Shakil after he reached the age of 18. Carolina Family Connections however did not share that sentiment and continued to support Shakil throughout his college experience with constant communication and encouragement, college “care packages”, fast food gift cards, apartment rent and tuition.”
CFC’s efforts paid off as in addition to his studies, Shakil maintained a part-time job throughout college, pledged a fraternity, and in May of 2018, Shakil graduated from UNC-Greensboro. CFC equipt Shakil to achieve his dream of a college degree in the absence of familial support and, today, Shakil is currently pursuing a career in law enforcement in the Washington, D.C. area.
Patterson says of Shakil, “We are so proud of him for persevering through the challenging circumstances that brought him into foster care and are honored that we could be a small part of helping him achieve success.”
And what does Shakil have to say about CFC himself? Read his full testimony:
"My experience with Carolina Family Connections has been one of the best things that ever happened to me since I have been in foster care.” Carolina Family Connections has a connection with us that surpasses just being a child with a case worker. Ever since I have come in contact with them I have felt as if I was granted another set of parents. The support system they provide is out of the world. I can call them and I know they will be there for me when I'm angry, sad or happy. Through anything I know I can depend on them. There is never a need that goes unmet when it comes to this great group of people. I've been granted with a lifetime connection and people who genuinely care for their kids as if they birthed them themselves. The support system they provide just makes you want to be successful and with them in your corner that's the only option you have. Carolina Family Connections and the people that make it up have truly changed my life for the better and I am truly grateful for these genuine, caring great people.”
Thank you Carolina Family Connections for the hard work you do and thank you Shakil for allowing us to SHARE your story.
Want to know more about Carolina Family Connections? Visit the official website here.
Would you or someone you know make a great foster parent for a child in need? Click here.