Agency RSS

Family key to providing safety, stability to children

For Immediate ReleaseMonday, September 13, 2021
DSS Media Contact: Steve Long, steve.long@state.sd.us, 605.773.5465

Family key to providing safety, stability to children

PIERRE – Family connections are critical to healthy child development and a sense of belonging. When children must be removed from their families for safety, kinship care is the preferred placement.

Kinship care is an arrangement in which children live with and are cared for by a family member or people who have an emotionally significant relationship with the child.

“Family is key to providing safety and stability to children,” said DSS Cabinet Secretary Laurie Gill. “This can be especially true when a family is in crisis. Having the children cared for by other family members or loved ones helps minimize the trauma for everyone.” 

Family connections are so important that earlier this month, Governor Kristi Noem proclaimed September 2021 as Kinship Appreciation and Awareness Month in South Dakota.

Kinship care improves children’s well-being, preserves sibling ties, promotes permanency, and helps preserve the child’s identity as well as family and cultural traditions.

“Kinship care is important because of the fact that all children gravitate back to where they came from; they want that,” said LaCosta McGhee, a South Dakota foster parent and a member of the Crow Creek Sioux Tribe. “But most importantly they NEED that connection.”

DSS has a team of kinship locators in South Dakota who are dedicated to seeking and contacting possible kinship placements for children in the custody of DSS. Kinship care can be a formal or informal arrangement. Licensure is not required to provide kinship care through DSS.

DSS works with families, tribes, and public and private agencies to ensure children have the support they need to remain with kin. The goal of foster care is for families to make changes so the children can safely return home. When that is not possible, adoptive kinship families are needed.

“Family supporting family is a tradition in South Dakota,’” Gill said. “DSS believes in building stronger families. Family being there when children need them builds strength and can make an impact that lasts a lifetime.”

To find out more about becoming a foster parent or helping support foster parents in your community, visit https://fosterone.sd.gov/ and fill out the online “Commit to know more” card.