The Sisters of Charity Foundation announced the start of a Kinship Care Initiative in South Carolina and released a Research Mini-Brief to the public during the month of September. Currently, over 50,000 children are in public and private kinship care within the state. The Initiative will support the growing number of relatives raising a loved one’s child that are not a part of the state’s foster care system. The Research Mini-Brief, A Place to Belong: A closer look at kinship care providers and their families, illustrates the challenges that kinship families face. Included in the brief are recommendations for South Carolina to improve services to these families.  Research has shown that kinship care is a better alternative than placing youth in foster care and yields higher rates of permanency. The Research Mini-Brief, authored by Foundation Program Manager Tamara Peterson, addresses a broad range of issues and challenges that impact the well-being of these families. “We need more people involved to support kinship caregivers. If other people saw our faces and heard our struggles, maybe then they would help us keep our families together,” said one Grandmother in the Helping and Lending Outreach Services (HALOS) program.

The Foundation hosted a Kinship Care Summit on September 10th as part of the Initiative’s launch. The Summit featured a panel of industry leaders, a guest speaker who presented national data on kinship care, and participation by kinship care stakeholders from throughout the state and beyond. Representatives from the Annie E. Casey Foundation and the Duke Endowment were also part of the discussion. The purpose of the Summit was to bring together community stakeholders, identify key issues and, develop strategies for better serving kinship families across South Carolina.

“The Foundation is pleased to announce this Initiative in response to the growing need of kinship care providers across the state of South Carolina.” Tom Keith, President, Sisters of Charity Foundation of South Carolina. The next steps for the Initiative include the development of a Kinship Care Task Force and awarding multiple grants and significant dollars to support programs and services for kin caregivers and the children that are being served.