South Carolina Department of Social Services

09/01/2023 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 09/01/2023 09:53

SCDSS Recognizes Kinship Care Month

SCDSS Recognizes Kinship Care Month


Contact: Will Batchelor

[email protected]

Sept. 1, 2023 - Governor Henry McMaster has declared September as Kinship Care Month in South Carolina.

During this month, the South Carolina Department of Social Services (SCDSS) would like to celebrate grandparents, aunts, uncles, relatives, and family friends who step in to take care of children and youth who might otherwise go into foster care.

Kinship care refers to a temporary or permanent arrangement in which a relative or non-related adult, also known as fictive kin, has assumed full-time care of a child whose parents are unable to do so. According to the latest available KIDS COUNT data, about 6 percent of all children in the state live with a relative with no parent present.

"Being temporarily separated from a parent can be traumatic for a child," said DSS State Director Michael Leach. "That's why kinship caregivers are so important. They provide familiarity and comfort when it's needed most. More than 25 percent of children in foster care in South Carolina are placed in licensed kinship care settings and that number continues to rise as the agency moves forward with a 'kin first' mindset."

To hear more from Director Leach on the importance of Kinship Care, please click here.

In 2022, South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster signed legislation, which expands the definition of kinship care to now include fictive kin, defined as an adult that is not related to the child by blood, adoption or marriage but has an established, significant relationship with the child. The new law allows fictive kin caregivers to receive support and resources from the state to help them, as well as access services, such as being able to obtain a copy of the child's birth certificate with a court order.

In recognition of Kinship Care Month, a series of events are being planned throughout September:

  • 8th - DSS will celebrate Grandparents Day and encourage people to wear the color gold. Gold is the chosen color to represent the value of these caregivers and the fact many are often in their "golden years" when they take on these responsibilities.
  • 21st - DSS will host a Kinship Care Resource Fair at First Baptist Simpsonville at 3 Hedge Street in Simpsonville, S.C. The fair will be 11:00 am - 2:00 pm. It is an opportunity to share information with the community on education, support, and guidance available for kinship caregivers. The event is open to the public.

Be sure to check out the DSS website for resources to support kinship caregivers in this state.

# # #