Dept. of Social Services: Too many foster kids in Aiken Co, not enough families

By: Sheli Muniz Email
By: Sheli Muniz Email

News 12 at Six O' Clock/ September 30, 2011

AIKEN CTY, S.C.--Dozens of Aiken County kids are living in limbo. They're victims of bad decisions they didn't make so they'll have to live with a foster family.

The problem is that there aren't enough. Right now, there are 68 kids in need, but only 36 foster families in the county.

Kids go into foster care for a lot of reasons. They are victims of abuse, neglect or even drug-related crimes.

Picture this--a scene of a meth bust. Police seize the goods, arrest the perps, but sometimes within those homes turned crime scenes live some of the most innocent, children.

Aiken County Department of Social Services foster family recruiter Cortina Samuel said, "Children come in because of the choices that the parents are making."

When bad choices are made and there is no other family to help, the kids then go here.

Kids who may suddenly have to change schools, home, and who now wait for a temporary one, a foster family.

Tod and Gretchen Sawyer fostered a child last year. They said, "Fostering for us is a way to share our blessings."

In this family of four, they welcomed one more for several months.

They said, "It's hard to give them back because they are part of the family, but keeping in mind the goal is to reunify with their parents."

This couple recently did reunite their foster child with his biological mother, but the county needs more foster families.

Samuel said, "We don't have enough foster homes to accommodate the children that's in care so that means they are in group homes."

So here is what the department is doing. Samuel said, "We are asking that somebody in that church will step up and be that foster parent."

They are going to the more than 200 worship centers in the county and asking for at least one family.

Samuel said, "Our goal is to make sure that each child that comes out of a home goes into another home."

It's a decision the Sawyers made and the department hopes you do too.

Department of Social Services stresses the importance of knowing the difference between adopting and fostering. Being a foster family is only a temporary living situation until the biological parents can take custody again.

If you want to learn more information, just go to
https://dss.sc.gov/content/about/counties/counties.aspx?ID=2


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