Number of foster parents here at all-time low

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By Johnathan Ryan

Lancaster County could use at least 10 new foster families, said a local Department of Social Services official.

There are 23 foster families right now, who serve across many need areas for the department. The number of foster families here is at an all-time low, and some children are now staying in temporary facilities for extended periods of time, said foster care caseworker Craig Casey.

"We need homes of all types," Casey said, noting that families from all areas of the county and people of all ages are needed to be foster parents.

DSS not only has fewer foster parents, but older foster parents who are not as willing to do the continued training that licensing requires, he said.

Casey said parents are particularly needed for teens and infants, as many prospective foster parents tend to shy away from these age groups.

Families are needed in the eastern and southern parts of the county particularly, Casey said. Children entering foster care from the Buford, Kershaw and Heath Springs areas tend to have less of a chance of getting placed since fewer foster parents come from there.

DSS tries to keep a foster child within their same community and school, since that is most familiar for them and makes transitioning to a new home easier.

"If push comes to shove, we can send them somewhere else, but we try to put them somewhere in their own community because that's where their ties are," Casey said.

For those interested in foster parenting, call Casey at 285-1428.

He will send a package of information on getting the certification-process started, which will include a two-day training session, background check and a home visit. Craig said upcoming recruitment events are being planned. The certification process usually takes three to four months.

"They (foster parents) should obviously be people who enjoy children and who can support their own families," Casey said.

Contact Johnathan Ryan

at 416-8416 or