Lynne A. Valenti
Cabinet Secretary

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May 1, 2009

Foster parents make a world of difference for children in South Dakota
Community events celebrate Foster Parent Appreciation and Awareness Month

PIERRE, S.D. Foster parents make a world of difference to children in need in South Dakota. Foster families provide safe homes for more than 925 children across the state, and in honor of their service, May has been designated as Foster Parent Appreciation and Awareness Month in South Dakota.

Lt. Gov. Dennis Daugaard, along with the Department of Social Services, encourages families to open their homes and hearts and give hope to children whose families are in crisis.

“All children need meaningful connections to caring adults who can become a lasting presence in their lives,” said Lt. Gov. Daugaard, who is executive director of the Children’s Home Society of South Dakota.  “Dedicated foster families provide stability, support, and an opportunity for children to realize their full potential.”

Communities across the state are seeking more foster parents to meet the needs of children and youth of all ages, with a greater need for families who will support and care for teenagers and sibling groups. Foster homes allow youth to live together with brothers and sisters, remain in their own neighborhoods, and stay in their schools. Children and youth in foster care need licensed foster parents to provide them with the strength and stability it takes to be successful adults.

“Foster parenting is a rewarding opportunity to help young people while their birth families heal,” said Virgena Wieseler, Director of the Division of Child Protection Services. “This month allows us to recognize incredible foster families who have helped make a difference in the lives of South Dakota’s children.”

Many communities throughout the state are honoring and recognizing foster parents in a variety of ways. Please visit to learn more about those activities and what you can do to get involved. The events and activities occurring statewide during May honor current foster parents and encourage others to become foster parents. Those interested in learning more about foster care can also call the Department of Social Services at 605-773-3227.


*Media Note: View Governor's Executive proclamation