PIERRE — Gov. Kristi Noem’s initiative to recruit 300 new foster families in South Dakota is more than halfway to its goal. Since the Stronger Families Together project launched in May, 169 families have become licensed foster parents through the Department of Social Services (DSS) and many more have inquired about the process.
“Families in South Dakota are coming together to help children in need and keeping us on track to reach this important goal of 300 new foster families,” Noem said. “Foster parents provide stability to the children in their care during a difficult time, set an example of healthy family life, and inspire hope for a young person’s future. Stronger families serve as the foundation for building a better future for our entire state.
Stronger Families Together’s goal is to recruit 300 new foster families per year for the next four years.
“Some of the rewards of being a foster parent include knowing that you were there when the kids needed you, provided them with a safe place, and showed them you care. them,” said DSS Cabinet Secretary Laurie Gill. “If you want to make a difference, caring for children in need is a great opportunity.”
Foster care is meant to be temporary, but the positive impact foster families have on children’s lives can last a lifetime. The ultimate goal is to reunite children safely with their biological families, but while a child is in the care of foster families, they help young people develop interpersonal skills that help them with friends, family members family and school.
Foster families can provide young people with the support and guidance they need as they go through the trials and tribulations of adolescence. Debbie and Dan Nichols, adoptive parents from Sioux Falls, are an example of lifelong impact.
“Our adopted daughter came to live with us when she was 15 years old. We had three biological children ages 6, 3 and 2 months,” the Nichols said. “A few months after living with us, our bonus girl got pregnant. We were able to provide her with the support and resources she needed throughout her pregnancy.
They made a difference not only in the life of their adopted daughter, but also in the life of the next generation.
“Today, we are part of the lives of his children. We are that home for her and her children,” they said. “It was not easy, but it was worth it!
To learn more about becoming an adoptive or adoptive parent, please call 605-221-2390 or toll-free at 888-201-5061 or visit www.StrongerFamiliesTogether.com and complete the online “Pledge to find out more”.