Non-Profits, DSS Unite to Tackle Foster Care Crisis in Spartanburg and Cherokee Counties

May 19, 2017 at 10:00 am

Six non-profit organizations, several Upstate churches and the USC Upstate Child Protection Training Center have formed a coalition in partnership with the South Carolina Department of Social Services to raise awareness about the critical need for foster homes in Spartanburg and Cherokee counties.  The group will host the Fostering Hope awareness event on May 22, 2017, 6:30 – 8:00 P.M. at the USC Upstate Readiness Center in Spartanburg. The event will highlight different aspects of fostering and provide opportunities for attendees to meet with agencies that recruit and license foster homes as well as support agencies for foster families.

“The USC Upstate Child Protection Training Center is pleased to partner with DSS and these agencies on this important event,” said Jennifer Parker, Director of USC”s Center for Child Advocacy Studies. “A shocking reality is that every day in Spartanburg children are hungry, neglected, sexually and physically abused and growing up in unsafe environments. We have a responsibility to intervene and provide safer environments for our children to grow up and overcome this adversity.”

Spartanburg County has the highest number of children in foster care in the state, with over 400 foster children, but only 129 licensed foster homes. “I’ve known for some time now that we’re in crisis mode when it comes to foster care,” said Tyler Kirby, foster parent and President of the Spartanburg County Foster Parent Association. “This isn’t only an issue for our government agency (DSS). It is an issue for our churches. If one person or family from each of our churches would follow God’s call to foster, we could end this crisis.”

Cherokee County also has a desperate need for foster homes.  Melissa Parker, Cherokee County DSS Director said there are currently 62 children in regular foster care and only 8 homes licensed for regular foster care.  “When children enter foster care, they are typically placed far from their homes, making preserving connections for these children a challenge,” she added.

Collaborating partners for The Fostering Hope event include P.S. I Love You Ministries, Spartanburg County DSS, Cherokee County DSS, Spartanburg Foster Parent Association, USC Upstate Child Proection Training Center, A Home for Me, Miracle Hill Ministries, View Church, Eastside Baptist Church, Come Closer Spartanburg, Thornwell Home for Children, South Carolina Youth Advocate Program, and First Baptist Spartanburg.  Free, secure childcare will be provided by volunteers from DSS and other partners with background checks. Anyone interested in attending can sign up online by visiting Fostering Hope Event Registration or by emailing