Lynne A. Valenti
Cabinet Secretary

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May 5,2017

May is Foster Parent Appreciation & Awareness Month

Visit 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. 

DSS has seen an increase in the number of children who need a safe and stable placement while their families heal. In March 2017, there were over 800 children placed in family foster homes. DSS, along with its partners, encourages families to open their homes and hearts, and commit to know more about becoming foster parents.

“Foster parents play a critical role in ensuring children have a safe and stable home where their needs can be met while their parents are working to resolve issues impacting their child’s safety,” said state Department of Social Services Secretary Lynne Valenti. “In addition to a safe and nurturing environment, foster families provide opportunities for children and youth to stay connected with their families, friends, culture, tribe, school and community.”

There is a critical need for foster families 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 also great need for American Indian families who can care for American Indian children.

“Foster Parent Appreciation and Awareness Month allows us to recognize and applaud the families who have opened their hearts and their homes to make a difference in the lives of children,” said Virgena Wieseler, director of the Division of Child Protection Services. “Children and youth in foster care need foster families to provide them with the strength and stability they need to be successful adults.”

In addition to becoming a foster parent, there are several ways to help support children, youth and their families, especially those involved in foster care. Some ways to help include:

  • Volunteering as a court appointed special advocate (CASA) for children
  • Being a mentor or “supportive adult” in a youth’s life
  • Joining or hosting a fundraising event
  • Donating services, goods, computers, etc. to older youth in foster care
  • Lending a hand to help current foster parents and caregivers with their day-to-day needs.

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