May is being observed as National Foster Care Awareness Month and the South Carolina Department of Social Services is using the opportunity to draw attention to the need for more foster parents.
Children need foster parents when their biological parents are unable to safely care for them and there are no alternatives for placement.
Children in foster care can live with relatives or with foster parents who are unrelated. Foster care can also include other placement settings like residential care facilities, group homes, emergency shelters, and supervised independent living for older youth.
At the start of the month, there were more than 4,400 children in South Carolina’s foster care system.
SCDSS State Director Michael Leach said foster parents provide temporary loving homes when children need it most. He said May was about recognizing those individuals who open their homes and hearts to vulnerable children and youth.
He noted that his department had taken proactive steps to support foster parents and group home providers during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Leach said the crisis presented new challenges for case management, but licensed providers and foster parents were stepping up.
The director added that efforts to recruit new foster home would not stop during the pandemic. He pointed out that South Carolina needs more homes so children can stay in their original counties, siblings can remain together, and teens can get a loving family.
SCDSS will continue to license families who are interested in fostering. The process can be started online, and training is being offered virtually.
Since 1988, United States Presidents have issued annual proclamations to recognize National Foster Care Month as a way to show appreciation to foster parents across the country.
There are more than 437,000 young people in foster care in the US.
If you’re already a foster parent and you want to learn about the adoption process or some other family-related matter, a Greenville family lawyer can help.