Foster care serves as a way to build stronger South Dakota families

As we round out the month of June, it serves as an important month recognized as National Reunification Month in the foster care world. Foster families play on important role in helping children return safely to their birth parents.

SPEARFISH, S.D. — Amanda Jackson and Maggie Becker consider each other extended family ever since Amanda’s twin girls, Faith and Charity, went into foster care in the Becker’s home for 6 months when they were 14 months old.

Amanda Jackson, Faith, Charity and Maggie Becker

Amanda Jackson, Faith, Charity and Maggie Becker

Amanda Jackson, Faith, Charity and Maggie Becker

Years later, the Beckers still serve as a support system for Amanda and her family.

Maggie says, “We also knew when the girls came to our house, right away that their goal is reunification, and that the social worker who brought them and talked to us about it anticipation this going well and so we knew right away that this is what we were going to be working towards and that was helpful to us to see that as a goal and to be thinking about it and while the girls were in our house. We loved them completely and we also knew that we would continue to love them after they went home and I think that feeling has just extended to the whole family for us and so it‘s really been a very special way to expand that family we are involved with.”

Maggie, Amanda, Charity and Faith

Maggie saw the importance of maintaining a strong birth parent connection for the children to thrive, adding, “6 months is a really long time for kids to be away from their mother and so that aspect was really important to us – really helpful. Keeping that connection and talking about reunification was really important I thought.”

Support from a foster family is a key component to making reunification work and Amanda’s motivation to get well really helped the process move forward.

Amanda says, “It made me strive more, I still today am sober with their help.”

Maggie and Amanda

Amanda says being away from her children was scary at first but when she met the Beckers’ she was relieved.

“We need more foster parents, we need more good people out there – like when I was struggling and stuff, it was good to have them (foster parents) so I could focus on myself and I could get myself when I needed to be so I could take care of them, sober,” Amanda says.

Amada call that time in the family’s life a drop in the bucket – and says it was a blessing in disguise, adding, “But I’m thankful for it, very thankful for it, glad it happened because who knows where I’d be.”

foster care

Reunification is more than a goal; it is a reality. It happens every year for hundreds of children and families in the state of South Dakota. With foster and birth parents working toward the same goal – the support is important to have in place.

Amanda adds, “It means a lot to me that I can turn to them whenever I need anything, even still to this day- back them I could text her or call her and say I’m struggling and she’d be like, what do you need me to do, you know, just talk about it.”

DSS Logo

The Department of Social Services in partnership with South Dakota Kids Belong is working to recruit, prepare, and support more foster and adoptive families in our state through the Stronger Families Together campaign.

Maggie adds to anyone interested in foster care… “I really encourage people to explore it and to find out about what might work for them or what feels right for their family.”

For more information about Stronger Families Together and how to get involved, visit FosterOne.sd.gov.

People interested in becoming a foster or adoptive parent can visit FosterOne.sd.gov and fill out the short online “Commit to know more” card.

Categories: Local News