Need for foster homes growing in S.C. - FOX Carolina 21

Need for foster homes growing in S.C.

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(Source: Wikimedia) (Source: Wikimedia)
PIEDMONT, SC (FOX Carolina) -

Cathy Farr has been a foster mom for 17 years.  Some children have stayed with her for a few days.  Others have lived with her for years.  In her Piedmont home, she says the secret to being a good foster parent is love.

She said, "Every time I take in a child, it's like, that's one more child that's not going to get hurt.  I can guarantee him as long as he's in my house and I have control over it, he won't be hurt and I can take care of him as good as I can, as best as I can and I know they're safe."

Cathy is an example of how successful fostering can be, but the need for more parents is great.  South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley and DSS Director Susan Alford kicked off a state-wide effort to recruit more foster parents earlier this year.  They said too many children were having to go to other counties or group homes.  Their hope is that more families would open their doors to foster children.  They have even worked to make the application process a little easier and shorter.

While DSS licenses all foster homes in the state, potential foster families can go through a number of organizations to help with the application, the training, and the placement.  One of those is the South Carolina Youth Advocate Program.  They have staff at their Greenville office to walk parents through the process.

Recruiter Betsy Manning said, "It's not difficult.  There is paperwork involved, there's training involved, there's working with other entities involved.  But it's not difficult.  It's going through any process that you want to get licensed, there's work."  Of course, it is important to make sure a family is ready for the responsibility.

"We want to make sure that you can actually do that and you are equipped to do that because the children you're taking in have been hurt, they've been neglected and abused and we have to provide special training to you but also to make sure you are ready to take on such a charge," said Manning.  At SCYAP, they license parents for therapeutic foster care.

That means they are prepared to welcome children who may have emotional or behavioral problems, or who may have developmental delays or require some type of medical care.  The organization helps with everything from setting up therapy appointments to transportation.

For Cathy Farr, being a foster parent has been a blessing.  After her own children grew up and moved out of her house, there was a void.  On the suggestion of one of her sons, she looked into foster care and has never looked back.  Speaking about one of her foster sons, who has lived with her for years, she said, "He hugged me and I hugged him and we haven't quit hugging yet."

For more information on SCYAP, visit their website or call 864-676-0210.

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