SCDSS recognizes November as National Adoption Month With emphasis on older youth in foster care
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Will Batchelor
SCDSS recognizes November as National Adoption Month
With emphasis on older youth in foster care
As National Adoption Month begins, 154 children in the state’s foster care system are legally free for adoption and waiting for a permanent place to call home – a “forever family.”
All year long, SCDSS works diligently with community partners to find families that best match the unique needs of every child and youth awaiting adoption. November offers the chance to join the USDHHS Children’s Bureau’s efforts to increase awareness and bring attention to the need for permanent families for children and youth in foster care. This year’s national theme, “Youth Voices: Why Family Matters,” emphasizes the need to secure safe and stable family connections for older youth and teens.
To highlight the significance of the month, Gov. Henry McMaster issued a proclamation declaring November as Adoption Month.
“There are currently 154 young people in foster care in South Carolina who are in need of permanent families,” said Governor Henry McMaster. “A loving home can make all the difference to a child’s ability to tap into his or her greatest potential. South Carolinians are a caring and compassionate people who want the best for their neighbors, and I ask that everyone consider whether adoption is a possibility for your family.”
“Every child deserves the chance to grow up in a home where they feel safe, loved and protected and many waiting children in our system are ready to benefit from adoption,” DSS State Director Michael Leach said. “It’s a fact that fewer families adopt sibling groups and older youth and teens, who linger in foster care and are most likely to age out of the system without the support and safety net they need to flourish as young adults. This is our greatest need. As an agency, we want to change that and help youth secure stable connections to become independent, productive adults through permanency. Our society as a whole benefits when that happens.”
“The pandemic has not stopped our work to help children and families,’ Leach said. “I urge families to consider the joy an older youth can add to your life and the chance you have to make a life-changing difference in theirs.”
Here are key steps in becoming a forever family for a young person:
- Make the call to HeartFelt Calling, (888) 828-3555, and fill out an application or visit heartfeltcalling.org
- Attend training to help identify what makes your family the best fit for a waiting young person.
- Meet with an adoption specialist for interviews in your home. Submit medical forms and references. Complete your home’s fire and sanitation inspections.
- A selection committee matches a young person with your family and shares their full background and unique needs.
- Meet the young person and begin getting to know each other with visits and overnight stays. You are now on the way to your final adoption day!
Families interested in adoption can view online profiles of South Carolina’s waiting children at SCDSS Adoptions, the SC Heart Gallery, and AdoptUSKids. In November 2019, SCDSS implemented a new Centralized Recruitment program that has improved services and timeframes by creating a new system that responds to families within three days of an initial inquiry. Now, families already approved to adopt are notified within two weeks if they are a potential match with a child and final selection from all potential matches are made within 30 days. Since launching this new system in November 2019, SCDSS has had over 1675 inquiries and 157 matches.
# # #