DSS help goes beyond offering adoptive services - wistv.com - Columbia, South Carolina

DSS help goes beyond offering adoptive services


Outside the courtroom, a group of restless kids and elated adults are now becoming families after months of wishing, hoping, and finally, the signing of paperwork.

But 5-year-old Ryan and 3-year-old Jack don't seem to know what all the paperwork and pretense means.

Monday marks an end to an unstable upbringing for the pair -- one their new families have been waiting for since 2012.

"There were issues with his parents not being able to take care of him sufficiently," said Jack's adoptive mother, Claudia Pound.

"We're happy we have him, but there's still that sadness," said Jim Pound, the adoptive father. "Who'd want to give up a child?"

More than 1,800 in state Social Services Department care have been adopted since 2011, but recently state leaders have expressed concern that children were being pushed into permanent placements to meet agency goals.

"The families truly have a choice," said Dawn Barton, regional adoption administrator with DSS. "They're presented with all the background information. They're also given all the child's medical records.

The Pounds say this was the right choice for them.

"I definitely didn't feel pushed. We had him for a good while," said Claudia.

DSS staff say the number of adoptions that have fallen apart is as low as four for the past three years, and the agency's help doesn't end once the child is out of the system.

"Offering a behavior modification person to come in to the school or home, family therapy, individual therapy, just a variety of support services to try and preserve the adoption," said Barton.

Ryan's grandparents are happy taking things one day at a time. But they and the other parents here today know their road will be a long one.

"To be taken from your mom and not be able to have contact with the mom and losing his dad last year, he blames himself for that," said Bennett. "We're trying to get him help to realize its not his fault."

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