Grant awarded to state Dept. of Social Services to strengthen families

Published: Sep. 13, 2023 at 12:20 PM EDT|Updated: Sep. 13, 2023 at 12:47 PM EDT
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CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - A grant awarded to the South Carolina Department of Social Services will go towards establishing a program to aid in the reunification of children in the foster system.

The grant from the BlueCross BlueShield of South Carolina Foundation with go towards the development and implementation of a peer parent mentoring program.

“The South Carolina Department of Social Services is thrilled to begin this work in partnership with the community and individuals with lived expertise thanks to the funding provided through this grant,” Michael Leach, DSS State Director, said. “Research shows that implementation of Parent Peer Support Models, like the Iowa Parent Partner Approach, increase the likelihood of reunification for children and youth in the foster care system, often reduce the time in care for these children and youth, and decrease the likelihood of re-entry into foster care, or recurrence of experiences of neglect and abuse.”

Eligible families will be provided social support, guidance on navigating the reunification process and working with social workers for needed resources.

Officials say the program will be modeled after the Iowa Partner Parent Approach that “demonstrated a favorable effect on the target outcomes of child permanency and reunification.”

The effective implementation of the program leads to reduced trauma and decreased recurrence of abuse and neglect, officials said.