Pennington County sees foster home shortage

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In 2015, over 670,000 children spent time in U.S. foster care. Over 1,200 children need that care in South Dakota each year.

There are 92 families who are licensed for foster care and approved for adopting in Pennington County. But there are around 400 children in need of foster families. Because of a foster home shortage, many children must relocate, moving away from their homes, according to family development specialist Ann Lecy.

Local foster and adoptive agencies joined together at the Dahl Arts Center Thursday for “Why Not You?” event to raise awareness about the need for local care in the area.  

“We have kind of pulled together all of our efforts to really bring this big awareness to our community that we need families to come forward and really consider being a foster parent or an adoptive parent,” Lecy said.

Among those at the event was Paul Enos, who has fostered over 20 children and currently has 15 children and 14 grandchildren. He said that fostering is the right thing to do.

“It’s an amazing thing,”Enos said. “And I just know we have a lot of families that just haven’t heard the message. So, I’d love to pass that message that there’s a need - a desperate need - and it can make a great impact on their family.”

Seventy percent of children in the foster care system are reunited with their birth families after being fostered.

Experts say the first thing to do if you’re considering fostering or adopting, is to learn about the different agencies and educate themselves.

The participating agencies include:

Foster One
LSS Foster Care Services
Wendy’s Wonderful Kids
Bethany Christian Services
Catholic Social Services

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