Lynne A. Valenti
Cabinet Secretary

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May 5, 2015

May is Foster Parent Appreciation & Awareness Month

Visit to commit to know more about becoming a foster family

PIERRE, S.D. - In honor of foster parents across the state of South Dakota, Gov. Dennis Daugaard has declared May as Foster Parent Appreciation and Awareness Month.

Each month, there are approximately 1,000 children and youth in foster care from public, private and tribal agencies in South Dakota. The South Dakota Department of Social Services encourages families to open their homes and hearts, and commit to know more about becoming foster parents.

“Foster parents provide the care and support children need to feel safe and secure while their families work through difficult situations,” said State Department of Social Services Secretary Lynne Valenti.

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 and medically fragile children. There is also a need for Native American families who can care for children who are Native American.

“It’s important that children have the opportunity to stay connected with their family, friends, culture, tribe, school and community,” said Secretary Valenti. “Foster families play an important role in making that happen.”

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 Parent Appreciation and Awareness Month allows us to recognize the incredible foster families who make a difference in the lives of children in South Dakota,” said Virgena Wieseler, director of the Division of Child Protection Services. “Foster parenting is a significant and rewarding opportunity, and the Department of Social Services encourages families to consider becoming a foster family.”

To learn more about becoming a foster parent, visit or call the Department of Social Services at 605-773-3227.