Foster Families Being Sought

South Carolina DSS is participating in a National observance of “Foster Care Awareness Month.” The agency is attempting to draw attention to the need for foster parents across the state. As of May 1st, the agency reports, there were more than 4,500 children in foster care in South Carolina, and the state needs about 1,600 more quality homes to care for all the state’s children.

Because of the shortage of Foster Care Families, more than half of the children who come into DSS care have to be placed outside their home county. This means children who already experience the trauma of being separated from their parents are also being separated from all of their other support systems – their school, church, sports teams and everyone they know.

DSS Director Susan Alford said, “These children want to grow up with their brothers and sisters. They want to stay close to their friends, their schools, their places of worship and all other institutions that have meaning to them. They deserve our best efforts to improve their health, safety and well-being as they strive to become loving, healthy adults.”

To help raise awareness for the need for more foster parents in South Carolina, DSS has been conducting a statewide foster care recruitment campaign. As part of the campaign, the Department has partnered with “All Pro Dad,” an organization that promotes fatherhood and strengthening families, to recruit new families and also celebrate current foster families. NFL Hall of Fame coach Tony Dungy is the national spokesman for All Pro Dad and is the father of seven adopted children. He will be featured in public service announcements and other promotional materials in an effort to encourage families to take the next step and learn more about fostering.

DSS Director Alford noted, “I believe that South Carolinians are generous people and view our children as our most valuable resource.” In a plea to residents across the state, she said, “If you are able, please consider opening your home to become a foster parent or find ways to support foster parents in your community.”