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SC foster families needed desperately as some children wait for homes in county offices

DSS and other agencies are calling on families to help, with some kids left to sleep in county offices as they wait for a home.

COLUMBIA, S.C. — More than 3,900 people are in foster care in South Carolina, according to the State Department of Social Services (DSS).

DSS and other agencies are calling on families to help, with some kids left to sleep in county offices as they wait for a home.

News19 asked the agency if the offices have beds, but didn't receive a clear response.

"It’s important to know that children and youth do come into DSS custody at all hours of the day and night," DSS Spokeswoman Connelly-Anne Ragley said. "They’re not meant to stay in the offices as a permanent solution…. While it’s not an ideal situation, we are working around the clock to make sure that we’re able to provide care for these children.”

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Roughly a third of the children in foster care are teenagers, DSS data shows.

"When those children come into foster care, many times at no fault of their own, they need higher level care. They need group home care. They may need a Psychiatric Residential Treatment Facility bed," DSS Spokeswoman Connelly-Anne Ragley said. "Not only in South Carolina, but across the country there are needs for families that are willing to step up and some of the groups that are needed the most, frankly, are families that are willing to open their homes to teenagers and sibling groups.”

The Epworth Children's Home in Columbia says its working to help by trying to recruit families to assist.

"We need all types of homes, homes for teens, therapeutic homes," Epworth CEO Beth Williams said, "...meaning that they may have some higher level of challenges for behavioral needs."

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Roger Brasley, a Columbia resident, says he was trained for therapeutic foster care and has been helping teens 16 and up for the past four years.

"My grandmother and grandfather were foster parents.... I kind of felt like it was something I needed or had to do," Brasley said.

He's hoping others will also offer their time to help others too.

"Definitely do so, because the children need us," Brasley said.

Those interested in becoming a foster parent can learn how by visiting heartfeltcalling.org.

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