September has been named as Kinship Appreciation and Awareness Month in South Dakota. What a wonderful opportunity to recognize the many families who have opened their homes to care for kin in times of need. Kinship care is a living situation in which a relative takes primary responsibility for the care of a family member, most often a child. Kinship care enables family members to live with people they know and trust, provides a sense of hope and reinforces the family member’s sense of personal and cultural identity.
LSS has had the honor to work with many of these families through Kinship Home Study and Kinship Locator services. We work in conjunction with the South Dakota Department of Social Services (DSS) to provide these services to families of children in the custody of DSS. Both LSS and DSS are committed to keeping children with relatives/kin when they are not able to remain with their parents. In the past year LSS has completed 192 home studies for kinship placement through Kinship Home Study services. LSS has completed 97 searches for relative placement options and connections through Kinship Locator services. These searches results in 142 potential relative placement options and 214 potential family connections for children in the custody of DSS.
It is very rewarding to be just a small part of providing children with a home where they are safe, nurtured and supported while keeping their connection to family. We appreciate and thank the family members who do the challenging work of providing these children a safe, nurturing, supportive environment which allows them and their families to heal.
So to all you Grandmas, Grandpas, Aunts, Uncles, Cousins, Siblings……. THANK YOU! You are a valuable asset to the lives of children.
To learn more about kinship care, contact your local Department of Social Services office or visit http://dss.sd.gov/ .
Submitted by Dede Mogck, Kinship Program Manager