The first of its kind in South Carolina, Helping and Lending Outreach Support (HALOS) serves families who are providing a home to child relatives so that foster care placement is not required.

In recent weeks the Sisters of Charity Foundation of South Carolina, in partnership with The Duke Endowment, approved a grant for HALOS to improve outcomes for children in kinship care through the project, Improving Outcomes for Children in Kinship Care.

IMG_0001“We are truly grateful to the Sisters of Charity Foundation of South Carolina for their continued support and The Duke Endowment for recognizing the program’s value to our state’s children,” Kim Clifton, Executive Director of HALOS, said.

Funds provided by the Sisters of Charity Foundation of South Carolina will be used to support a HALOS Success Coach and an emergency fund to meet family needs. HALOS will be eligible for up to two subsequent additional years of funding contingent upon successful completion of prior year goals. The total grant award over three years of $1,017,014 is funded jointly by The Duke Endowment and the Sisters of Charity Foundation of South Carolina. The Annie E. Casey Foundation is also a philanthropic partner providing in-kind staff and consulting expertise around HALOS program development.

HALOS initially came to the attention of the Sisters of Charity Foundation of South Carolina in 2005 when Clifton received a $1,500 Caritas grant to provide back-to-school supplies for abused and neglected children in foster care. HALOS later received a two-year Responsive Grant to fund their Kinship Care Resource and Support Program. Over the years, HALOS has received more than $200,000 in grants from the Sisters of Charity Foundation of South Carolina.

In 2012, the Foundation hosted a Listening Session with twenty-one kinship caregivers joined by HALOS staff and representatives of the Foundation to explore each kinship caregiver’s story, present needs and hopes for the future of the children in their care. A Listening Session report, Unsung Heroes, captured themes that emerged among these kinship caregivers who stepped forward willingly on a moment’s notice to help as an alternative to children being placed into foster care (a practice commonly known as diversion). During the Listening Session participants heard about the significant financial strain many kinship caregivers face which require them to stretch their resources and often struggle to make ends meet for their families.

As an outgrowth of our Listening Session with HALOS and further research on the needs of children in kinship families, the Sisters of Charity Foundation of South Carolina launched a Kinship Care Initiative in September 2014. The Kinship Care Initiative provides grants and convenes a statewide Kinship Care Advisory Council to examine how to better serve kinship families, both within and outside the child welfare system. Continued funding of HALOS was a perfect fit for our Kinship Care Initiative.

“The HALOS grant is a perfect example of the leveraging power of Foundations when we collaborate together for strategic impact,” Tom Keith, President of the Sisters of Charity Foundation of South Carolina, said.