DSS to Pay S.C. Foster Families More Money to Address Shortage of Over 1,000 Homes

The S.C. Department of Social Services will reportedly institute a rate increase for foster homes throughout the state. DSS to Pay S.C. Foster Families More Money to Address Shortage

The DSS reported nearly 4,600 children in state custody in late June, but there are currently less than 3,200 foster families available in South Carolina. According to The Post and Courier, this increase is to encourage more families to participate in the foster program to combat this shortage.

Based on the age of each child, the report states that the current daily rate ranges from $16.67-$19.63. This is a major improvement to the average daily rate, especially since some South Carolina families only received $13.46 per child.

Agency Director Michael Leach stated that the agency still has “a little ways to go” – especially since they need to “make sure our foster families have a board rate that meets USDA guidelines for the cost it takes to raise a child.”

In addition to the rate increase, the DSS will also eliminate regulations that target homes with lead paint. Leach stated that this regulation adjustment was implemented to allow families hindered by it in the past to register within the foster system. He further explained that the lead paint rules are not enforced “at the federal level” which is why he chose to “be in line with best practice.”

The increase of the board rate along with the other changes were brought on by a class-action settlement agreement filed in 2016. The agreement was the result of a lawsuit filed against the DSS by several children who allegedly suffered from the “dangerous deficiencies” of the agency – such as sibling separation, solitary confinement, overmedication, and abuse.

To maximize exposure and generate more interest in the foster program, the DSS has expanded its advertising opportunities and action plans in recent years. For instance, the agency has invested in published news articles, TV spots, a full-time foster care recruiter and other marketing campaigns.

The agency has also created a new job opportunity (foster family liaison) for an individual who will report to its director.

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