Becoming a Foster Parent

No matter what the age, all children in foster care need meaningful connections with caring adults who provide a supportive and nurturing presence in their lives.

Understanding Needs in South Dakota

Foster families are needed for children of all ages, sex, race, and ethnicity. When there are more families to help, children can be matched with families who are best able to meet their needs and support their family. Additionally, the families below are in greatest need at this time.

  • Native American foster families
    Indian Child Welfare Act is federal law which establishes foster care placement preference for Native American children. The law designates preference to 1. family members 2. tribal members and 3. other Native American foster families. Native American families who can maintain cultural connections for tribal children are in great need.
  • Teens
    There is a shortage of foster homes for older children and teens in South Dakota. These youth need families who will provide stability and structure, while helping them maintain important connections and build a healthy identity.
  • Brothers and sisters
    Brothers and sisters are often the longest lasting relationship most children have in their lifetime. When it is necessary for children to be removed from their family home; children deserve to remain together with their siblings, their closest family, whenever possible.
  • Children requiring specialized care for medical, mental health, or behavioral needs
    Some children require specialized care with families who have training and experience to meet their specific needs. Training and support is available to individuals and families who can provide the extra “TLC” required to care for these children. If you have experience providing specialized care or willing to learn new skills, please reach out to find out more about how you can help.

The Process:

If you are interested in taking the next step toward becoming a foster parent, the Department of Social Services (DSS) will work closely with you to answer your questions, help you understand the process requirements, and commitment necessary to become a licensed foster parent.

  • Upon completion of the Commit to Know More form, DSS will contact you to provide more information.

  • If you choose to continue the foster parent licensing process, a home consultation will be completed. You'll receive more information about becoming a foster parent and a preliminary safety check of your home will be completed.

  • The next step is Foster and Adoptive Parenting training.

  • Upon completion of the training, a final assessment is completed to determine if you meet licensing requirements.

  • If requirements are met, a license is issued.

  • If a child is in need of a foster home and your home is a good match for the child, DSS will contact you to discuss placement.

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