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Governor recognizes service of foster families

Governor recognizes service of foster families

PIERRE – Foster families play an important role in caring for children in communities across South Dakota and Governor Kristi Noem has proclaimed May as Foster Parent Appreciation and Awareness Month to recognize their selfless dedication.

“My goal is to make South Dakota stronger for the next generation, including those in foster care,” Noem said. “Every child should have the opportunity to learn, grow, and thrive in a safe environment. We’ve made improving South Dakota’s foster system a priority so that these children can have the safety and stability to reach their full potential.”

The Department of Social Services (DSS) works to create collaborative partnerships with foster families, public and private agencies, as well as birth families to ensure children are safe, supported and successful. DSS licenses foster parents who must meet basic standards and complete a 30-hour education and training program.

Foster care goes beyond just providing a safe environment for children. Foster families help birth families heal and thrive so children can be safely returned home. When a child can’t safely be reunified with their birth parents, foster families help children transition to permanent homes through adoption or guardianship.

“Foster families open their homes and hearts giving hope to the children of South Dakota whose families are in crisis,” said DSS Cabinet Secretary Laurie Gill. “We have a great need for foster families for older youth, children with complex needs, and siblings, specifically.”

Governor Noem also extended special thanks to foster families who have stepped up during the COVID-19 pandemic. “During these uncertain times when the risk of exposure to the coronavirus is very real, families have stepped forward to provide care that children need,” Noem said. “I greatly appreciate their sacrifice and compassion.”

To learn more about foster care, please visit fosterone.sd.gov.