Lynne A. Valenti
Cabinet Secretary

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November 8, 2010

November is Adoption Awareness Month

PIERRE, S.D. – The South Dakota Department of Social Services (DSS) will join thousands of individuals, government agencies and child advocacy organizations during the month of November to promote the critical need for adoptive parents. To help recruit and retain foster and adoptive parents for children who are waiting for forever homes, Gov. Mike Rounds has declared November as Adoption Awareness Month.

“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.

Since July 1, 2009, 185 children in South Dakota were adopted through the Department of Social Services; several other adoptions also took place through independent and private agencies. Currently, DSS is in the process of identifying adoptive resources for 116 children. The children range widely in age and may have physical or emotional challenges, developmental disabilities or are part of sibling groups, who all need a place to call home. It is a DSS priority to place children in homes that provide for their needs on a permanent basis. Children awaiting legal clearance for adoption live in foster homes, group homes or other facilities. They need families that can understand and meet their needs, provide stability, and offer permanent parent-child relationships.

“The lives of these children can be brightened forever by just one person or a family taking them in and providing unconditional love and care,” Gov. Rounds stated.

In honor of National Adoption Month in November, the Dakota Heart Gallery, a unique photo exhibit of children in South Dakota currently waiting for adoptive families, will be available for viewing from Nov. 1-15 at the Empire Mall in Sioux Falls. Free information and materials regarding adoption of children from foster care will also be available with the Dakota Heart Gallery exhibit. If anyone is interested in hosting the Dakota Heart Gallery exhibit at their church, business, or event; please contact the Children’s Home Society at 605-965-3172.

The Department of Social Services offers services to adoptive families to help them meet the unique needs of the children adopted through the department. For more information, visit Adoption.