Over 1300 foster children get permanent families | Families
The South Carolina Department of Social Services (DSS) has met and exceeded another “Wildly Important Goal.” On June 25th, DSS increased by more than 50 percent the number of children in long-term foster care (on average waiting 3.5 years) to get permanent families.
“We set an ambitious goal,” explains Lillian Koller, the new DSS State Director, “to get, within one year, as many as 1,184 long-term foster children into permanent families” -- 385 through reunification with their biological families and 799 through adoptions with new families. “And we exceeded that goal, even ahead of time!” Koller points out.
As of June 30, 2012, there were 467 reunifications and 836 adoptions, exceeding the goal by more than 100 foster children. “That’s a total of 1,303 children who are now safe and thriving with life-long families,” Koller sums up.
DSS achieved this success with the cooperation of many people and organizations outside the agency. For example, the collaborative efforts of the State’s foster and adoptive parents, family court judges, public and private attorneys in child protective services and adoptions, child placement agencies, group homes, Guardians Ad Litem, the South Carolina Foster Parent Association, and the Foster Care Review Board, just to mention a few, all played an important role in establishing this outcome.
Most of all, DSS staff worked together, some for the first time, at the State, Regional and County levels, as a single, committed and energized team to get as many foster children as possible out of State custody and into safe and stable families as soon as possible.
Isabel Blanco, Deputy Director for Human Services, explains, “Many of these are children have been waiting a long, long time to belong to a family again -- it's truly wonderful for them! The celebration is not ours but theirs.”
“We’ve succeeded at providing these children with the lasting love and the stability they deserve,” Koller adds.