The Sisters of Charity Foundation of South Carolina is pleased to share Governor McMaster's proclamation declaring September 2017 Kinship Care Month across the Palmetto State. The proclamation is supported by members of the Foundation's Statewide Kinship Care Advisory Council, including South Carolina's Lieutenant Governor's Office on Aging and South Carolina's Joint Citizens and Legislative Committee on Children. The official proclamation reads as follows:
"State of South Carolina – Governor's Proclamation
· Whereas, South Carolina is steadfast in its commitment to promote the safety and well-being of our children, including providing a loving, stable, nurturing home for all youth in which they can be nurtured, succeed and thrive; and
· Whereas, relationships with family are crucial for children and it is our responsibility to promote and preserve kinship, sibling and other familial connections for children helping them retain their cultural heritage, family and community ties while preserving their safety and protecting them from abuse and neglect; and
· Whereas, more than 57,000 children throughout our state are raised in grandparent-headed households and other kinship families where no parent is present, including being cared for by aunts, uncles, other extended family members and relatives, close family friends or fictive kin, such as godparents or other non-related adults; and
· Whereas, kinship caregivers have stepped forward out of love and loyalty taking on primary responsibility for the care of these children, providing them connection, security, positive identity, belonging and higher levels of permanency; and
· Whereas, kinship families residing across all of South Carolina often face daunting challenges; therefore partnerships among the education, legal, social services, mental health, justice, child welfare, medical and other systems are important to ensure access to services that can enable kinship youth to flourish in all facets of their lives; and
· Whereas, Kinship Care Month helps increase awareness and understanding of the positive family environment that kinship families offer many children in the Palmetto State.
· Now, therefore, I, Henry McMaster, Governor of the great State of South Carolina, do hereby proclaim September 2017 as KINSHIP CARE MONTH throughout the state and encourage all South Carolinians to honor kinship caregivers and lift up the accomplishments of countless youth throughout our state who, with the support of kinship caregivers, have successfully navigated trauma and parental separation."
Foundation Vice President of Initiatives and Public Policy, Dr. Stephanie Cooper-Lewter states, "We appreciate Governor McMaster's recognition of the important role kinship caregivers play in our state and will continue through our Foundation's Kinship Care Initiative to work to increase permanency, stability and livelihood of kinship families so that children in our state live in safe, loving homes."
Throughout the month of September 2017, kinship families will be celebrated and recognized in South Carolina. The Palmetto Association for Children and Families (PAFCAF), alongside the South Carolina Department of Social Services, Helping and Lending Outreach Support (HALOS), The Duke Endowment and the Foundation will hold three Kinship Care Summits for kinship caregivers and child welfare providers in Columbia (September 12, 2017), Greenville (September 13, 2017) and Charleston (September 15, 2017). At each Kinship Care Summit, the Foundation will present Unsung Hero Awards to outstanding kinship caregivers from across the State to honor the crucial positive impact they have had on the lives of the children in their care.
Download a PDF of the Official Proclamation here.
About the Sisters of Charity Foundation of South Carolina
The Sisters of Charity Foundation of South Carolina, established in 1996, is a ministry of the Sisters of Charity Health System. The Foundation is committed to addressing the needs of the poor and underserved in all 46 South Carolina counties, and strategically uses resources to reduce poverty through action, advocacy and leadership.