State

SC needs foster families. This NFL Hall of Famer wants to help

You’ve seen this NFL Hall of Famer on television as a football coach and then as an analyst.

Now, former Indianapolis Colts coach Tony Dungy is planning stops in South Carolina and will appear in a statewide ad campaign encouraging S.C. families to consider adopting or fostering children in need.

“As the father of seven adopted children, I believe there is no greater calling for my wife and I than helping other families adopt and foster children,” Dungy said in a news release.

Dungy is the national spokesman for All Pro Dad, a program of Family First, which is partnering with the state Department of Social Services to raise awareness about adoption and foster family recruitment.

The state consistently has far fewer foster families than children in need despite recruitment efforts. None of those efforts has tapped a celebrity to help spread the word.

As of Sept. 1, the state has 1,626 foster homes and needs 1,310 more so that there is a home for every child in need. The counties of greatest need for foster homes are Anderson, Charleston, Greenville, Horry, Lexington, Richland and Spartanburg.

Social Services is spending $250,000 on the campaign, which will include TV and radio public service announcements, outdoor and digital ads, op-ed content by Dungy and Social Services Director Susan Alford, Father & Kids Experience events and All Pro Dad’s Day chapters in schools across the state.

Dungy is donating his time, according to Social Services.

Alford praised Dungy, who came to South Carolina in 2010 to speak to inmates in Columbia, for partnering with the the agency and for setting an example as a foster and adoptive parent.

“All children deserve to grow up in a family who loves and supports them,” Alford said. “(Dungy) knows firsthand the blessings of fostering and understands the great need to grow our network of families in South Carolina.”

Want to help a child in need?

Learn more about foster care or adoption at AllProDad.com/Foster

Find out how to become a foster parent at SCFamilies.org

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