Make the Connection,
Division of Human Services
For specific information about foster care in your county, contact your local DSS County Office.
For information about foster care, call 1-888-CARE-4-US.
South Carolina Department of Social Services
Division of Human Services
1535 Confederate Avenue
P O Box 1520
Columbia, SC 29202-1520
What is Foster Care?
Foster care is the temporary care of children whose families are having problems that can lead to or has led to abuse or neglect.
Children, in the legal custody of the Department of Social Services, are placed in a licensed foster home or group care facility that can best neet their needs.
During this separation period, the department works toward returning the children to a safe home environment.
If reuniting with their biological family is not possilbe, then permenancy is sought through termination of parental rights and adoption.
Youths remaining in foster care receive assistance to make a successful transition into adulthood.
Who are Foster Parents?
Foster parents are special people who recognize the special needs of children living in a troubled family.
Through their investment of time, energy, love and guidance, foster parents can make a difference in the lives of the children and families in need.
Individuals or couples can be licensed as foster parents.
Foster parents receive financial reimbursement to meet the basic needs of the children.
Children in the legal custody of the department may also be placed with relatives that can provide full-time care (kinship foster care), protection and nurture.
Licensed kinship foster parents may access the same services for children as nonrelative foster parents.
What do Foster Parents Do?
Provide daily care, guidance, accpetance.
Model a healthy family lifestyle.
Assist with educational and medicinal needs.
Provide transportation to and from school and appointments.
Share information about the child's progress and needs with the department.
Promote and provide structure and appropriate and reasonable discipline.
Visitation and Length of Stay
Children in foster care often maintain contact with their biological parents and siblings during visits arranged by the careworker.
Some children stay with foster parents only a day or two. In many cases, children stay longer, until it is safe to return to their biological homes.
In other cases, children become available for adoption.
Foster parents who want to adopt are not required to complete additional training with the department. The application process is the same for foster and adoptive applicants.
What is Required to Become a Foster Parent?
Complete 14 hours of training through the department.
Complete application with a foster home licensing specialist.
Undergo criminal background check, fingerprinting and check of the Central Registry of Abuse and Neglect for all household members 18 years and older.
Provide copies of birth certificates, marriage licenses, divorce petitions and decrees, military discharge papers and other documents.
Provide three references from those who have known the prospective foster parent for at least three years.
Submit current medical reports for all family members in the home.
Pass fire and health department inspections of the home.
Support for Foster Parents
Monthly board payment to help offset the cost of caring for the foster child.
Quarterly allowance for foster children's clothing.
Allowance for non-routine school expenses for the foster child.
Monthly visits from an agency caseworker.
Training to meet licensing requirements.
Rewards of Foster Parenting
Be a positive influence in the life of a child.
Make a difference in families and communities.
Share in the growth of a child.
Help a child build a foundation on which to be successful in the community.
Contribute to the lives of children and families with a pay off for years to come.