Buncombe Commissioners Issue Dual Proclamations to Highlight Community Needs, Highlight Foster Care Month and Mental Health Awareness Month
May is a busy month here in Buncombe County! At the May 16th meeting, Buncombe County Commissioners issued two very important proclamations to highlight community needs.
Foster Care Awareness to Acknowledge Community Need for More Foster Parents
Foster care is an important and complex support system that is comprised of foster parents, social workers, families, mentors, volunteers, and other members of the community who help children through challenging times and seek to find permanent, stable homes for them. Buncombe County acknowledges the hard work that goes into foster care and honors that work through Foster Care Awareness Month.
The Buncombe County Board of Commissioners declared May as Foster Care Awareness Month at its May 16 meeting, a sign of appreciation for the service foster parents provide to our community and in recognition of the importance of foster care in the lives of our community’s most vulnerable residents. Read the entire proclamation here.
More about Buncombe County’s Foster Care Services:
Buncombe County’s Child and Family Services helps families through its Permanency Planning Services, providing temporary and safe care for children while working to address concerns and the safe reunification of the family.
FY 2023 has been busy for foster care. Some data points related to their work include:
Licensed 23 new foster care homes in Buncombe County so far in FY23
Doubled the number of kinship homes
Completed 43 reunifications
Placed 16 children in a guardianship home
20 adoptions to forever homes
Licensing more foster care homes within the county helps decrease the number of children placed out of the county. Buncombe County Children’s Services has been able to bring the number of children placed outside the county down by 20% from last fiscal year. There is still work to be done and we need your help. Please considering learning more about fostering at www.buncombecounty.org/foster.
“The ongoing dedication of staff, resource families, and community resources demonstrate our county’s dedication in meeting the needs of our families in their most challenging times,” said Any Huntsman, Foster Care Supervisor. “We want to thank the local Foster Care Community for ensuring the well-being and safety of the community’s youth.” Click here to learn more about the County’s Child and Family Services.
The proclamation can be viewed here.
Mental Health a Focus in May
The Board of Commissioners also declared May as Mental Health Month to highlight mental health and the critical role of mental health providers in our community. Mental health impacts a person’s emotional, social, environmental, financial and overall well-being, with significant disparities among racially and ethnically diverse communities.
Notable statistics include:
Suicide is the leading cause of death for 15-to-24-year-olds in Buncombe County, with an 11% increase in emergency room visits for suicidal thoughts for all people in 2022 from 2019
An estimated 56% of those detained in our detention center self-reported a mental health diagnosis, often with co-occurring substance use disorders
Over 51% of adults in North Carolina with a mental illness and over 61% of youth with major depression did not receive treatment in the past year
Buncombe County serves as a safety net for residents in need, through first responders, medical and behavioral health clinics, housing supports, and detention centers. Victoria Reichard, Behavioral Health Program Manager for Buncombe County said, “We need to talk about mental health. The more you talk about it, the more normalized it will become. This is one of the aims of the month as the stigma attached to mental health has led to countless delays in treatment and research on the matter.”
Several community resources can provide support and assistance if you have a mental health concern. Resources include:
Anyone in crisis or not sure what they need can visit C3@356 at 356 Biltmore Ave., Asheville Sun-Fri 8 a.m.-8 p.m.
Visit the Peer Living Room at C3@356 to learn about resources and connect with others. Mon-Fri 8 a.m.-6 p.m.
WNC Listening Line: Call or Text: (828) 547-4547 (8 a.m.-11 p.m.)
Access to Care Line available 24/7: (800) 849-6127
People can call or text 988 or chat 988lifeline.org for themselves or if they are worried about a loved one who may need crisis support.
Victoria continues, “These partners save lives every day. We are grateful to them for their compassion and skill in the face of critical staffing challenges. While more providers are needed in this important work, mental health remains such an important part of health and wellness for all ages and stages and it truly impacts our future as a community.”
The proclamation can be viewed here.