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South Dakota:
Under God, the People Rule

Highlighting Foster Care

Foster care is an issue I've cared about for a long time. Growing up, I had a brother who joined our family through foster care. He made a big impact on my family and taught my siblings and me a different kind of love, compassion, and strength I don't know if I would have otherwise understood. We learned that family is more about what's in your heart than in your bloodstream. And those lessons have shaped how I live my life and how I now lead South Dakota.

I'm committed to using my microphone and my influence to educate people about the need for more foster families. The next generation of South Dakotans will not thrive if they don't have a home. A place to grow up. A family to love them.

I want our state to be an example of strong families who help struggling families to create a better future. But there's a lot of work to do. In total, over 900 children are in foster care. Foster families are needed to provide a support system for families who are working to reunite with their children. Families are also needed to adopt children who need a permanent home. There are 85 children available for adoption without an identified adoptive family. Sadly, life within the foster care system is difficult for many. More than half of the children in foster care experience at least seven school changes while in the child welfare system. The instability has a tremendous impact on their education, health, and outlook. The good news is that children in foster care who are in stable homes are much more likely to graduate from high school, go to college, and have a successful future.

While the staff at the Department of Social Services can raise awareness about the need, get the facts out, and debunk some of the myths people may believe, they can't put children in a home if no one is willing to provide one. There's a significant need.

If you're interested in influencing the next generation of South Dakota’s children and their families through foster care, I encourage you to visit fosterone.sd.gov where you can learn more, ask questions, and start the process of becoming a foster family. And if you are a foster family, I'd love to hear your story. Please consider sharing your journey with me by sending an email.

I'm confident that South Dakota can be a leader to our nation in how we prioritize families and help children who are the most vulnerable. Because every child deserves love, and every child deserves a home.

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