Lexington County, SC - Richland and Lexington counties need more than 270 more foster families to care for the increasing number of vulnerable children who come into care and keep those children close to their home communities.
Children enter foster care when they can no longer live safely at home, and there is no other relative to care for them. Foster families provide these children with a safe and nurturing environment.
“When children come into care, it’s important to keep them close to home if possible,” said Dawn Barton, Regional Director over the Midlands. “That allows them to stay in the same school, attend the same church and other activities and be near their support network, however tenuous it might be.”
The focus on Richland and Lexington counties is part of a public awareness campaign to concentrate recruitment efforts on local levels, showing specific needs in towns, school district boundaries and zip codes.
“You pass these children and families in the grocery store, at church and at the ballpark,” Barton said. “People better understand the need when they see what it looks like in their neighborhood, their school, their community.”
Foster families provide that temporary, safe, loving home for a child who needs one. They step in during crisis in a child’s life and try to bring normalcy.
There is a specific need in the Midlands for families who can care for sibling groups. Most children come into care with at least one sibling.
“We make every effort to place them together as a group, but that’s not always possible because of the shortage of families who can care for more than one child,” Barton said. “Often, those children are the only support network for each other.”
It takes an average of four months to become licensed as a foster parent. You have to be able to demonstrate the ability to care for a child, attend some training, undergo a background check and have a home inspection. You don’t have to be married or own your home.
To begin the process of becoming a foster parent, visit www.scfamilies.org or call Heartfelt Calling at (888) 828-3555.