COVID-19 relief funds headed to group homes across SC

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ANDERSON COUNTY, SC (WSPA) — Children in the foster care system across South Carolina will be getting a boost for their education.

Steve Dean is the CEO of New Foundations Home for Children in Anderson County. He said the nonprofit specializes in helping children in the foster care system. They currently have more than 50 group home beds.

According to Dean, due to the pandemic, they had to invest in some educational materials and additional services for their children. They’ve also had to have staff 24 hours a day. He said, “We didn’t budget for having ten additional staff members Monday through Friday. So it’s created a big financial strain for us there.”

There is some help on the way for group homes like Dean’s.

Earlier this month, Governor Henry McMaster (R-South Carolina) announced he was allocating nearly $5 million from the Governor’s Emergency Education Relief (GEER) fund. He had originally wanted to use most of the money in that fund for private school tuition grants.

This allocation for the group homes will help almost 600 children and youth state officials said.

Kim Beaudoin with the Palmetto Association for Children & Families said, “Any additional resources we can get right now and provide some stability and quality in the services is deeply appreciated.”

According to the Governor’s Office, this money will help pay for additional instructional materials, tutoring services, and technology improvements at these homes.

Beaudoin said, “If you’re pouring additional resources than you’re going to increase the quality of the type of services these youth are getting.”

This will also help out nonprofits, Beaudoin said. Due to the pandemic, nonprofits have not been able to hold their normal fundraisers.

Dean said their ultimate goal is preparing these children for a good home and a successful future. He said, “They’ll help us not only meet the need but exceed the need and our outreach.”

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