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October 30, 2008

November is Adoption Awareness Month

PIERRE, S.D. –This November, the South Dakota Department of Social Services will join thousands of individuals, government agencies and child advocacy organizations across the nation in promoting the critical need for adoptive parents. Gov. Mike Rounds has declared November 2008 Adoption Awareness Month, to help recruit and retain foster and adoptive parents for children who are waiting for a place to call home.

“There continues to be a need for South Dakotans to become adoptive and foster care parents for children in need of a loving home,” said Gov. Rounds. “Every child deserves to be part of a family where they can grow up in a warm and loving environment.”

Currently, 26 children in custody of DSS do not have an identified adoptive family. These children range in age from 2 to 16 and have a physical or emotional condition, mental disability, or are part of a sibling group, which can makes it more challenging to find homes that best meet the children’s needs. It is the priority of the department to place children in homes to provide for their needs on a permanent basis. While the children awaiting adoption are legally clear for adoption, they live in foster homes, group homes or other facilities. These children need someone who can understand and meet their needs; someone they can depend on for stability and a permanent parent-child relationship.

This year communities throughout South Dakota will host events to raise awareness about the need for adoptive parents. In Sioux Falls, the third annual Sioux Empire Adoption & Foster Care Fair will be held at the Good Samaritan Society Jerstad Center on Saturday, Nov. 8, from 8:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. The fair will include panel discussions, round table sessions, vendor booths and guest speaker Lisa Stellinga, a Sioux Falls-based therapist. For more information on the fair, call 605-221-2351 or visit siouxempireadopt.org.

The Department of Social Services continues to provide foster and adoption services to families all over South Dakota. Since July 2007, 188 children in South Dakota were adopted from the Department of Social Services and even more children were adopted through independent and private agencies.

The Department of Social Services also offers support services that include child care assistance, medical expenses, transportation, special needs and more. For more information visit www.dss.sd.gov/adoption.

Media Note: Executive Proclamation available here.

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