DSS: 571 children adopted in 2019, highest number in over five years

The Department of Social Services said it was the highest number of adoptions in over five years.

Columbia, S.C. (WOLO) — In 2019, 571 children found their forever homes across the state.  The Department of Social Services said it was the highest number of adoptions in over five years. That’s a 23% increase in adoptions from 2018 to 2019. But thousands are still in the foster care system, and hundreds need to find loving families to adopt them into forever homes.

“We have children in the state who don’t have anybody,” said Michael Leach, State Director of DSS. “Some really good recruitment efforts, I think some improvement in some of our processing to decrease the timeliness of what it takes to adopt.”

“I think foster parents have just really opened up their hearts, and realized that if this child cannot go home then we need to give it a home,” said Mary Brown, a local foster and adoptive parent.

Despite the high number of adoptions, there’s still a need for foster and adoptive parents.

“They may be sibling groups, they may be teenagers. And we need to make sure that they get into a family-like setting; a family, a stable, connected, caring adult who wants to make sure that they grow and develop and become strong, young adults,” said Leach.

Mary and Carl Brown have a huge family, thanks to all the kids they’ve fostered and adopted.

“We’ve fostered over 200 children, and we’ve adopted 7 and we have three birth children,” said Mary.

The couple does all they can to help the kids while they’re in their home.

“When a child comes into your home as a foster child, they’re temporary. But when you adopt a child it’s once and forever.”, said Carl.

“Every child needs to feel safe and loved and secure, and I feel like foster parents can give a child that,” said Mary.

They hope to inspire other families to open their doors and hearts to kids in need.

“Just the fact that we know that we have helped a child, that we made that child feel safe and loved. It’s worth it all,” said Mary.

The goal of foster parents and DSS is reunification; they want a child to go back to their birth parents. But sometimes, that’s just not possible. That’s why there’s hundreds of kids that need permanent homes and families right now.

If you’d like more information on fostering, click here.

For information on adopting, click here.

Categories: Local News, News, State