Lynne A. Valenti
Cabinet Secretary

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May 5, 2010

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, providing safe homes for more than 985 children across the state. 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 the Lieutenant Governor. As former executive director of the Children’s Home Society of South Dakota, Daugaard continues to advocate for children and youth in difficult situations. “Dedicated foster families provide stability, support, and an opportunity for children to realize their full potential.”

Communities across the state are seeking more foster families to meet the needs of children and youth of all ages, with a greater need for families who will support and care for teenagers, sibling groups, special-needs and medically fragile children, as well as Native American children. 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 families 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 children in South Dakota.”

Many South Dakota communities are honoring and recognizing foster families in a variety of ways.

The events and activities occurring statewide during May honor current foster families and encourage other families to open their hearts and homes to provide for children and youth in need. Those interested in learning more about foster care can also call the Department of Social Services at 605-773-3227.

Media Note: Governor’s Executive Proclamation.