Lynne A. Valenti
Cabinet Secretary

DSS Mobile Logo Mobile Menu Button
May 3, 2016

May is Foster Parent Appreciation & Awareness Month

Visit www.FosterOneSD.org to commit to know more about becoming a foster family

PIERRE, S.D. – The Department of Social Services (DSS) has designated May as Foster Parent Appreciation and Awareness Month for South Dakota. 

Each month, there are approximately 1,000 children and youth in foster care placed with public, private and tribal agencies in South Dakota. DSS, along with its partners, 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. “It’s important children have the opportunity to stay connected with their family, friends, culture, tribe, school and community, and foster families play an important role in making that happen.”

Children and youth in foster care need licensed foster families to provide them with the strength and stability it takes to become successful adults.

“Foster Parent Appreciation and Awareness Month is an opportunity 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 DSS encourages families to consider becoming a foster family.”

Foster families are needed in communities across the state to provide care for children and youth of all ages. Families who will support and care for teenagers, sibling groups and medically fragile children are especially needed. There is a great need for Native American families who can care for children who are Native American. Staff from DSS and tribal child welfare agencies are working together to recruit additional Native American foster homes through a number of efforts. 

“Our tribal and state recruitment project for Native foster families has brought our agencies together to advocate for Native children in order to maintain their cultural identity,” said Jessica Morson, ICWA director for the Flandreau Santee Sioux Tribe and co-chair of the State-Tribal Recruitment Workgroup.  “The South Dakota ICWA Coalition, comprised of the ICWA directors from the nine Tribes, remains positive about the future of our project and our collaboration with the Department of Social Services’ Foster One recruitment campaign.”

Information about the State-Tribal Recruitment Workgroup and their upcoming events can be found on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/South-Dakota-Native-Foster-Care-781478311971953/?fref=ts.

-30-