S.C. Gov. Nikki Haley and the state’s child-welfare director announced an new campaign to recruit foster families.
“Right now, 54 percent of our foster children are not placed in their own county because we don’t have enough foster families within those counties to take care of them,” Haley said at a State House news conference Wednesday.
Joining Haley was S.C. Department of Social Services Director Susan Alford and more than 15 foster parents.
Alford said Social Services has taken steps to provide more support for foster parents as they navigate the child-welfare system and has worked with other state agencies to speed up the process of licensing foster parents. The agency also is partnering with universities and community organizations to recruit foster parents.
The agency has struggled to recruit foster families. Last year, Alford said there were more children in need than homes available for them. On Wednesday, Alford said the shortage was a crisis similar to the agency’s problem retaining and recruiting child-welfare caseworkers.
Haley said the goal of the Champions for Children recruitment drive is “to find families who are willing to share their love, share their homes and share their life with children that are in need. These children are vulnerable.
“They’ve been through a traumatic situation, but they are lovable and they want a home and they want a place that they will feel protected,” Haley said, calling on families to think about whether they could take in one more child.