In Some States, an Unpaid Foster Care Bill Could Mean Parents Lose Their Kids Forever

January 19, 2023 | by Joseph Shapiro | National Public Radio

"No one understands it," says Sylvia Cunningham of how she and her husband, Brandon, holding Braxton, 2, got three of their children returned from foster care, including daughter Jordan, 17 (at left), but a court allowed one son to be placed for adoption because the Cunninghams had failed to pay part of the bill for foster care.

In North Carolina and at least 11 other states, parents must pay a debt to the government—or they could lose their children. NPR’s Joseph Shapiro describes what this means for families and the potential path for reform.