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Clarendon desperate for foster families

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Children are placed into a foster care situation when their biological families are unable to provide acceptable care for them. These children may sometimes be abused, neglected, or at risk of harm. Children can be taken into state custody and placed into foster care. Once in foster care, the children will be placed in an alternative living environment, such as a foster home. Foster care is meant to be temporary, lasting only as long as it takes the family to make the needed changes so that the child may return to a safe and stable environment. If the decision is made that the child cannot return home, he or she may remain in foster care until placed in the care of a relative, adopted or emancipated.

An ideal foster parent is a person who has a heart for children. This person truly loves children and wants to help the child heal from their traumatic past. 

Associate Executive Director South Carolina Youth Advocate Program, Lurline Jerry, said “An ideal foster parent is a loving, kind person who has the capacity to accept a child just as they are and provide a loving, stable, and safe environment.” 

The process to become a foster parent starts with making a phone call to the South Carolina Youth Advocate Program (SCYAP) at (843) 661 7070, or toll free at 800-882-5513. You can also visit the website at WWW.SCYAP.COM

The process is designed to allow SCYAP to get to know the applicant and the applicants to get to know SCYAP. 

Jerry explained, “The process allows us to determine the type of youth that would be a best fit for that family.” She continued, “it is also a time for the applicant to get to know more about foster parenting , our organization, and how foster parents make a difference in the lives of children, families and even their own community.”

Children who come into foster care are in the custody of the state, and the state then provides the medical and educational care for the foster children. The length of time a child is in a foster care home varies by the circumstances that led to the child being placed into custody of the state. There are many factors that go into determining how long a child will remain in foster care, such as the recovery of the child’s biological parents from whatever led to the child’s removal from their care, and the stability of their biological parent (employment, the ability to support their children). The safety of the home is also a factor, like whether or not the home is safe, whether or not the home has water, electricity, and sufficient food supplies. The home must be clean and free of debris.

One can not say how long a child will remain in foster care because of the varying circumstances. It may be as short as a couple of months or as long as years. 

When children leave the foster home, most are able to return home to their biological families, while some are placed with biological relatives. Many are adopted and many age out of foster care. A child ages out of foster care between ages 18 to 21 and becomes independent. Before leaving at this age, these youths have the opportunity to receive housing assistance, furniture, and help with utilities. 

At time of print there are 38 foster families needed in Clarendon County. Jerry said, “This is nothing new. The need for foster families exists all over South Carolina and the need is prevalent because the abuse keeps happening. More and more children are being abused in South Carolina every day, more children are taken into care everyday. It is a statewide problem, and more children come into foster care than there are available foster homes for.” 

  A note from Lurlin Jerry

Most people do not decide to become a foster parent immediately. They normally have to think about it a while. They have to think, how this will affect my family? How will my children or relatives feel about the addition of a foster child in the home? 

It is not a decision that you make without great consideration. This is understandable because your decision also affects the foster child. The foster child must feel wanted. The child must feel safe and cared for. They are coming into a home that is strange to them. They have been removed, in most circumstances, against their will, and now are in a new environment. This new home is not like their home, this is not their bed and these are not their parents. The child is scared. 

Becoming a foster parent means that you must be willing to open your heart and heal a wounded child. A child who is hurt and does not trust you so quickly. A child that is looking for a safe place with someone who will love and accept them. If only we could truly see how hurt that child is, if we could truly feel the pain in their hearts, and the fear, and many times, the hunger that they have endured. We would understand and reach out and care for these children. Becoming a foster parent is one of the greatest things you can do in life. It’s truly giving back. It’s truly paying it forward.

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