Appreciate and recognize foster parents in May

Appreciate and recognize foster parents in May Dedicated foster families across South Dakota open their homes and hearts to children whose families are in crisis and play a vital role in helping them heal.

To honor South Dakota's foster parents for their invaluable service to the state and its children, Gov. Mike Rounds has proclaimed May as Foster Parent Appreciation and Awareness Month in South Dakota in conjunction with National Foster Parent Month.

"South Dakota is very fortunate to have so many committed and caring foster parents," said Virgena Wieseler, administrator of the S.D. Department of Social Services' Child Protection Services. "Foster parents provide a safe, stable and nurturing home for children who have been abused or neglected. They work hard to provide consistency and structure for foster children, and they help them through very difficult times."

On average, 870 South Dakota children and youth require placement in family foster homes each month as a result of chronic or continuing abuse or neglect. Currently, 918 licensed family foster homes provide 24-hour care and supervision.

Foster family homes are approved by the Department of Social Services, tribal programs and licensed child placement agencies including Abbott House, Bethany Christian Services, Black Hills Special Services Cooperative, Capital Area Counseling Services, Casey Family Programs, Catholic Family Services, Catholic Social Services, Children's Home Society, Lutheran Social Services, New Horizons Adoption Agency, Northeastern Mental Health Center and Volunteers of America, Dakotas.

"South Dakota's foster families not only provide temporary homes, safety and nurturing to our children, but they also help birth families by working with them to ensure that children can be safely reunited with them," Wieseler said. "And when reunification is not possible, many of our families choose to adopt these children who have been placed in their homes, offering permanency and stability for a lifetime."

For more information on family foster care or how you can become a licensed foster parent, contact the Department of Social Services office in your area. Or you can contact Child Protection Services in Pierre at (605) 773-3227.

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