The Process

A child enters foster care when they can no longer live safely at home and there is no relative or kin to care for them. Foster care is a temporary family or group home, licensed by DSS, where children can live safely and peacefully while parents work with DSS to solve issues that prevent the child from living at home.

These children are in the legal custody of DSS and are placed with a family or group home that can best meet their individual needs. DSS first works closely with the parents during this time of separation toward returning a child to a safe home environment. However, if reuniting with their biological family isn’t possible, then permanency is sought through termination of parental rights and adoption. Youth remaining in foster care receive assistance and support to help them make a successful transition into adulthood.

Licensing Flow Chart

As part of its reform efforts, SCDSS entered into a Final Settlement Agreement regarding the Michelle H., federal class action lawsuit and has committed to short-term, intermediate, and long-term systemic improvements for children in foster care.

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