FORT PIERRE – To help address the need for more foster and adoptive families for children in South Dakota, Governor Kristi Noem is kicking off an ongoing recruitment initiative called Stronger Families Together.
The Department of Social Services (DSS) in partnership with South Dakota Kids Belong aims to recruit, prepare, and support foster and adoptive families throughout South Dakota.
“South Dakota was built by families supporting families,” said Noem. “No one epitomizes that spirit of support better than our foster and adoptive families. We need more families to open their hearts and homes to children across the state looking for help.”
The goal of the Stronger Families Together campaign is to recruit 300 new foster and adoptive families per year for the next four years. But it goes beyond recruitment to finding individuals, families, businesses, community organizations and faith communities to help support foster and adoptive families.
“Stronger Families Together is a call to action,” said DSS Cabinet Secretary Laurie Gill. “Foster care and adoption are absolutely essential to protecting the health and well-being of children, but they also play a major role in strengthening the fabric of our families and communities in South Dakota. Encouragement, support, and services are needed for parents, kinship families, foster families, and adoptive families to provide the best care possible for children.”
Stronger Families Together looks to partner with community members, businesses, and faith leaders to find creative ways they can help foster and adoptive families and to raise awareness of children in need of foster care or forever families.
“We all have a role to play in supporting foster and adoptive families,” said Noem. “I am asking everyone to seriously consider what you can do to help – not just by becoming foster and adoptive families, but how you can use your resources to support our fellow South Dakota families.”
As of April 30, there were 833 foster families in South Dakota. As of April 30, there were 1,738 children in the custody of the Department of Social Services in South Dakota. Of the 1,738 children, 995 are currently living with foster families. Foster parents are needed in communities across the state especially for teens, sibling groups, Native American youth, and children with special needs. There are also currently 79 youth legally free and available for adoption.
For more information about Stronger Families Together and how to get involved, visit FosterOne.sd.gov.
People interested in becoming a foster or adoptive parent can visit FosterOne.sd.gov and fill out the short online “Commit to know more” card.