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Celebrating graduation of youth in foster care and adopted youth

For Immediate Release: Tuesday, May 24, 2022
DSS Media Contact: Steve Long, steve.long@state.sd.us or 605.773.5465


Celebrating graduation of youth in foster care and adopted youth

PIERRE – May is a time of celebration for many families across South Dakota as students graduate from high school.  For some that means a diploma, for others a GED, but either way it means crossing a finish line that’s more than a decade in the making.  This celebration includes foster families and families of youth adopted though the foster system.


Governor Kristi Noem has named May as Foster Parent Appreciation Month as an expression of thanks to South Dakota families who have stepped up to help young people succeed.


Foster and adoptive families play a huge role in the success of the young people in their care. Students in these families have often faced extra challenges along the way.  Congratulations to these graduates who have succeeded despite those additional hurdles.  


“Foster and adoptive families provide stability, support, and love that helps children to thrive,” said Department of Social Services Cabinet Secretary Laurie Gill. “The impact of having a family that believes in your potential can be motivating and life changing.”


Parker Schatz of Mitchell graduated from high school this May. When asked who has made the most positive impact in his life he chose his foster parents, Autumn and Charlie Dalton.  “They took me in and they’ve been supporting me and helping me out and just making sure that I can lead a nice life,” Parker said.


Tasia Miller of Aberdeen also graduated from high school this month.  When asked the same question, Tasia named her adoptive parents, Katie and Brent Miller.  “Because they make sure I accomplish things and tell me that I can accomplish things,” Tasia responded.


The responses of these two newly graduated students puts an exclamation point on just how much impact foster and adoptive parents can have. However, there is a need for more foster families all across our state.


Congratulations to Parker, Tasia and their families, and to all students across our great state who are graduating this spring.


To learn more about becoming a foster parent visit www.StrongerFamiliesTogether.com.