GREENVILLE, S.C. (WSPA) – Wednesday, the month of May is National Foster Care Awareness Month. In South Carolina alone, there are more than 4,600 children in need of a foster home.
Foster agencies, like South Carolina Youth Advocate Program, SCYAP, said this month highlights the importance of level support and care a child in need should get from the system.
But in many cases, they don’t always get it. Statewide there are nearly 2,700 foster homes available, a shortage of at least 2,000 homes in South Carolina.
Being a foster parent helps give a child a sense of normalcy, when their entire world is changed, said Kim Young, South Carolina Youth Advocate Program, Licensing Coordinator. *
Young noted that myths like age requirements, marital status, residency tend to scare off potential parents. But, she says those are just that myths.
There are classes, home checks, and criminal background checks, but no major hurdles; especially since close to 3,000 kids need foster parents now more than ever, according to the South Carolina Department of Social Services.
“The ability to have stability while they’re in foster care, in a really hard time in their lives. They need to be able to be a kid. They need to have the opportunities that may not have been presented to them,” Young said.
The trauma of being taken to a brand new place, sometimes with little to bring with them, is a lot for any kid to handle.
So agencies like SCYAP gives duffle bags, blankets, toiletries, and toys, items they can call their own. Also, a way to show the kids this situation is not their fault.
Tia Lomax, SCYAP’s Treatment Coordinator, said changing that mindset of fault is important for everyone, because sometimes life happens.
“When we think of foster care, we think of the bad kids, or the kids that have something wrong with them. But, all of our kids struggle with different things. So, I think just allowing that kid to be a kid, and embracing them in every moment and helping them through their struggle is the greatest success,” Lomax said.
To learn more about the foster care system or how to be a foster parent pick some of these options: