Governor McMaster issues executive order regarding migrant children and state’s foster care system

Local News

GREENVILLE, S.C. (WSPA) – A new executive order from the Governor will keep undocumented, migrant children from entering South Carolina’s foster care system.

“South Carolina’s children must always be given first priority for placement into foster care and the State’s strained resources must be directed to addressing the needs of its children. Allowing the federal government to place an unlimited number of unaccompanied migrant children into our state’s child welfare system for an unspecified length of time is an unacceptable proposition. We’ve been down this road with the federal government before and the state usually ends up ‘on the hook.”

Governor Henry McMaster

That’s the message Governor Henry McMaster sent out in an executive order signed on Monday.

CBS news reports as many as 19,000 children have been detained at the border.

South Carolina’s Department of Social Services said the federal authorities contacted them at the beginning of April asking if there were any potential resources in the state for placement of unaccompanied, migrant children.

That’s when the State Director for D.S.S., Michael Leach, reached out to the Governor’s office with an update on the matter. In part of his letter, Leach shared concerns over things like how long the children would remain in the state, and the challenges of placing them with families.

The Department of Social Services sent a statement to 7 News saying in part, the move “could have detrimental impacts on the child welfare system including the health and safety of children already placed at these facilities and the potential displacement of South Carolina children who need services. “

The statement then goes on to say if federal funding were withdrawn while those children remain in the state, it “may leave these unaccompanied minors solely the responsibility of the state child welfare system.”

The department said is already taxed for resources.

Miracle Hill Ministries Director of Foster Care Brenda Parks said the Governor is right and that the state doesn’t have the resources available.

“We have not been able to be successful to find enough families for the children that are currently needing placement,” Parks said. “Older children, sibling groups. We don’t have enough families.”

She said it goes beyond just providing a roof over their heads.

“Those children coming in certainly will have trauma that needs to be appropriately addressed,” Parks said. “Beyond just giving them a bed, giving them something to eat, and a roof. We’ve got to make sure that we are caring for the actual child.”

If you’re interested in opening your home to a foster child in need, click here to learn more.

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