Lynne A. Valenti
Cabinet Secretary

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November 1, 2007

November is Adoption Awareness Month

PIERRE, S.D. - This November, the South Dakota Department of Social Services will join thousands of individuals, government agencies and child advocacy organizations across the nation in promoting the National Adoption Month 2007 campaign. The goal of the campaign, “Answering the Call: You Don’t Have to Be Perfect to Be A Perfect Parent,” is to spread awareness to recruit and retain foster and adoptive parents for children who are waiting for a place to call home.

“There continues to be a need for families in South Dakota to step forward and become foster and adoptive parents. This includes other relatives of the child or other South Dakota citizens who are willing to provide a warm and loving home,” stated Gov. Mike Rounds.

Currently, there are 18 children that do not have an identified adoptive family. These children range in age from 6 to 16 and have a need relating to their physical or emotional condition, mental disability, or being part of a sibling group, which sometimes makes it more of a challenge to find homes that best meet the needs of a child. The priority is to place children in homes to provide for their needs on a permanent basis. While the children awaiting adoption are legally clear for adoption, they live in foster homes, group homes or other facilities. These children need someone who can understand and meet their needs; someone they can depend on for stability and a permanent parent-child relationship.

To help raise awareness on the need for adoptive parents, this year during National Adoption Month many local events will take place throughout the state to recognize current foster and adoptive parents and recruit those who are interested in becoming a foster or adoptive parent. One major event taking place is the Second Annual Sioux Empire Adoption Fair at the Ramada, in Sioux Falls on Friday, November 2, 2007, from 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. This event is free and open to the public. It includes panel discussions, round table sessions, vendor booths and guest speaker Dawn Cheshier; foster care alumna, adoptive parent, and Wendy’s Wonderful Kids Adoption Recruiter for South Dakota. For more information, call Crystal Wilkinson at 605-965-3135.

The Department of Social Services continues to provide foster and adoption services to families all over South Dakota. Since November 2006, 160 children in South Dakota were adopted from the Department of Social Services and even more children were adopted through independent and private agencies.

The Department of Social Services also offers support services that include child care assistance, medical expenses, transportation, special needs and more. For more information about the National Adoption Month 2007 Campaign or the Department of Social Services, call 605-773-3227 or visit Adoption.

Media Note: View Executive Proclamation.