Lynne A. Valenti
Cabinet Secretary

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May 1, 2007

Make a Difference, Change a Lifetime and
Become a Foster Parent
Visit to find out how

PIERRE, S.D.Do you often wonder what you can do to make a difference? By becoming a foster parent to a child, you can help shape their lives and get them on the right track toward a successful future. May is Foster Parent Appreciation and Awareness Month in South Dakota and Gov. Mike Rounds, Lt. Gov. Dennis Daugaard along with the Department of Social Services encourage community involvement to help our citizens better understand the importance of the need to recruit foster families.

“Children in foster care need help from people with open hearts and open minds,” said Lt. Gov. Daugaard.  “There is a need in nearly every community throughout South Dakota for foster and adoptive families. Please consider becoming an adoptive or foster parent in your area and make a difference in a child’s life."

On average, 959 South Dakota children and youth require placement in family foster homes each month as a result of abuse and/or neglect, according to the Department of Social Services. Currently, 939 licensed family foster homes provide 24-hour care and supervision for these children.

Communities across the state are seeking more foster parents to meet the needs of children and youth of all ages; there is especially a need for families who will support care for teenage youth and sibling groups. Foster homes allow youth to live together with brothers and sisters, remain in their own neighborhoods, and stay in their schools. They need licensed foster parents to help them heal and prepare for success as adults; potentially changing a lifetime.

“Foster parenting is a significant and rewarding opportunity that helps shape bright futures for youth in South Dakota,” said Virgena Wieseler, Director of the Division of Child Protection Services. “Make a difference in your community and become a foster parent.”

Many communities throughout the state are honoring and recognizing foster parents in various ways. Below is a portion of activities happening during the month of May:

  • Sunday, May 6, 1-3 p.m. (CDT), Sioux Falls – 2nd Annual Foster Care Information Fair
  • Thursday, May 10, 5:30-8:30 p.m. (MDT), Spearfish – Foster Parent Appreciation Dinner
  • Thursday, May 17, 6-8 p.m. (CDT), Aberdeen - Foster Parent Appreciation Dinner
  • Friday, May 18, 6 p.m. (MDT), Martin - Foster Parent Appreciation Potluck Dinner

There are many other events occurring statewide during the month of May to bring awareness and honor current foster parents and encourage others to become foster parents. For a more detailed listing and to find out what is happening in your community and how you can help, log onto or call (605) 773-3165.