South Carolina Department of Social Services  
P O Box 1520 • Columbia, SC 29202-1520  
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Funded in part by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Adoption Opportunities Grant - "Linking Children With Families: the New Millennium Challenge."

Toll Free Numbers

(800) 768-5700
- TANF/Food Stamps
Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, Client Services

(800) 922-2504
- Adoption & Birth Parent Services
(800) 422-4453
- Child Abuse Hotline (National)
(800) 722-2737

(800) 768-5858
- Child Support Enforcement
(800) 637-7606
- Sistercare Hotline
(800) 922-4406
- Women Infants & Children (WIC)
(800) 942-3425
- SC Dept. of Alcohol
& Other Drug Abuse Services
(800) 922-7319
- Palmetto AIDS Life Support Service PALSS
(800) 326-8621
- Parents Anonymous 24-Hour Hotline
(800) 868-0404
- First Nine Careline
(Prenatal Care Info)

Linking Children with Families Adoption Album

Adoption Guidelines
and Steps to Adoption

The Children Who Need Families

Although there are some children under school age available for adoption, most of the children who need permanent homes fall into the following categories: sibling groups, children older than 6, and children with physical, emotional or mental handicaps. There is especially a need for families for children nine years of age and older.

The Adults Who May Adopt

Children need families who accept them and have the capacity to cope with their individual needs. Both married and single persons are encouraged to apply for adoption. When an individual or couple express an interest in adoption, adoption staff are available to answer questions and provide information about adoption

Adoption Guidelines

Residence and Citizenship

Prospective parents may live within the state or live elsewhere.

United States citizenship is not required, but the status of non-citizen applicants is investigated.


By law, prospective parents must be of legal age to adopt. We encourage persons older than 40 to apply for adoption; they are given consideration for older and special needs children, depending on the preference of the applicant.

Marital Status

DSS encourages both married and single persons to adopt. The security of the marital relationship and the commitment of both partners to adoption are explored with adoption staff. DSS recognizes the ability of single parents to provide a good home. For some children, a single parent might be preferable.


The ability to manage money is more important than how much money an adoptive applicant has. It is necessary to have enough income on a regular basis to ensure reasonable financial security in providing for the family and the child's care. Financial assistance may be available to help care for children with special needs.


Prospective parents do not have to own a home in order to adopt. Living arrangements should offer enough space and ensure the health, safety and well-being of the family and the child to be adopted.


Physical health and life expectancy, as well as emotional health, are important. Parents should be physically and emotionally able to hande the everyday responsibilities of raising a child. Although length of life cannot be guaranteed, the agency generally seeks parents who would be expected to live to see the adopted child reach adulthood.


A family’s values and beliefs are influential and significant in a child’s development. However, adoptive applicants are not required to claim certain religious faiths. The main concern is the provision of a wholesome environment in which the child is accepted and nurtured.

Steps to Adoption

  1. Inquiry
    Applicants may call the appropriate regional adoption office for their county of residence. See listing in next section.
  2. Application
    They should complete an application and return it to the regional adoption office.
  3. Assessment
    The applicants, together with an assigned adoption worker, decide if they should pursue adoption.
  4. Preparation Workshops
    Adoptive applicants participate in an adoption preparation workshop where they share experiences, discuss parenting and coping skills, find out about children available for adoption and determine their readiness to adopt.
  5. Home Visits
    An adoption worker visits the applicant’s home to further explain adoption, answer questions and complete the adoptive home assessment.
  6. Preplacement Investigation
    An adoption specialist writes a report on the applicant’s readiness to adopt from information gathered from the application and assessment process. This report is required by law and is submitted to the court at the time of the adoption petition.
  7. Placement Committee
    A committee of adoption professionals selects an adoptive parent or parents based on the needs of the child or children eligible for adoption.
  8. Placement
    The adoptive parent or parents and the child usually visit before placement. When the child and family are ready, the child is officially placed with the adoptive parents.
  9. Supervisory Assistance
    Generally, adoption staff will assist adoptive families during an adjustment period of three to six months following placement. This period is sometimes longer depending on the needs of the child and the family.
  10. Legalization
    When DSS and the adoptive family agree that the adoption should be made final, the family hires an attorney to file the adoption petition.

    Financial assistance is available to help with the cost of adoption of a child with special needs.
  11. Post Adoption Services
    Adoption is a lifelong process. After the adoption is final, DSS will provide counseling, referral services and other assistance upon request from the adoptive family.

For additional information, please call 1-888-CARE-4-US or contact the regional adoption office in your county of residence.


Area Adoption Offices

Area A

714 North Pleasantburg Drive
Suite 300
Greenville, S.C. 29607
(864) 241-1070 / 1-800-868-6595
Anderson, Cherokee, Greenville, Oconee, Pickens and Spartanburg counties

454 South Anderson Road
Rock Hill, S.C. 29730
(803) 329-9626 / 1-800-922-1537
Chester, Fairfield, Lancaster, Union and York counties

Area B

Children's Center of South Carolina
2638 Two Notch Road, Suite 220
Columbia, S.C. 29204
(803) 929-2555 / 1-888-711-7095
Abbeville, Edgefield, Greenwood, Kershaw, Laurens, Lee, Lexington, McCormick, Newberry, Richland, Saluda and Sumter counties

Aiken DSS Office
P.O. Drawer 1268
Aiken, S.C. 29802-1268
(803) 502-1826 / 1-888-866-8852
Aiken and Barnwell counties

Area C

3346 Rivers Avenue
Suite F
North Charleston, S.C. 29405
(843) 953-9750 / 1-800-922-1518
Allendale, Beaufort, Berkeley, Charleston, Colleton, Hampton and Jasper counties

Orangeburg DSS Office
P.O. Box 1087
Orangeburg, S.C. 29116-1087
(803) 515-1846
Bamberg, Dorchester, Calhoun and Orangeburg counties

Area D

181 East Evans Street, Suite 112
Florence, S.C. 29501
(843) 661-2495 / 1-800-763-6637
Chesterfield, Clarendon, Darlington, Dillon, Florence, Georgetown, Horry, Marion, Marlboro and Williamsburg counties

For more information on adoption in South Carolina, please call 1-888-CARE-4-US.

Introduction | FAQs | Steps to Adoption | Financial Info | Adoption Preservation | Events | Interest Form | Photos

Adoption Preservation
Interest Form (COAC)
Photos (COAC)