More than 1,500 foster families needed in South Carolina

State - Regional

SPARTANBURG, SC (WSPA/WBTW) – There are nearly 4,641 children in the foster care system in SC, the South Carolina Department of Social Services says.

The nonprofit Care2Foster says the state needs more than 1,500 foster parents right now.

The Tucker family in Spartanburg has been taking in foster children for the last six years.

Since 2013, they’ve opened their home to nearly 100 foster children.

Carrie Tucker says she and her husband planned to foster eventually. But, they kept seeing signs telling them to foster.

Carrie Tucker pointing out the children’s heights on the wall

“We just decided to inquire and after that, I mean three months later, we had three little kids at our house,” Carrie Tucker says.

As of October 2019, Carrie Tucker and her husband had three biological children, one adopted son, two pending adoptions and two foster children.

“I can’t say, ‘Oh it’s a piece of cake, you know, because I was called to do it.’ That’s not what it is. I do have hard days. You know, I do eat a lot of chocolate,” Carrie Tucker says.

She explains that being a parent is never easy. But, the good days with all the children always outweigh the bad.

Madison Tucker and Alyssa Tucker say they just see a normal family full of friends to play with.

“It’s loud,” Madison says.

“Fun!” Alyssa adds.

Carrie Tucker says her kids have big hearts. Alyssa is the greeter for every foster child that comes into the house. Madison plays her role of big sister by helping pick up after the little ones.

“We’re just a regular family. You know, we’re not saviors. We, you know, don’t make six figures a year. We are just normal family willing to put love into action,” Carrie Tucker says.

The state’s social services department does help financially cover essentials like food, clothing and daycare. The payment per month does increase depending on the age of the child.

Care2Foster added is is free to get licensed to foster children of any age. The nonprofit noted very little costs come out of pocket, and most will be expenses will be covered by the board payment, or reimbursement, for foster children.

Over the past six years, Carrie Tucker has fostered children as old as 17 and as young as 2-days-old.

Since there usually not any official timelines for how long a child’s stay will be, it can hurt when they leave, Tucker said.

But she doesn’t see it as a negative.

“Kids are so worth someone to get attached to them. Kids are worth having to someone to grieve for them and you’re grieving them so deeply and you’re crying because you love them that much,” Carrie Tucker says.

Carrie Tucker said the need for parents has become too great to ignore and fostering is worth a second thought.

“You’re not going to regret it. You’re not going to regret investing in a child. Whether it’s one child [or] whether it’s 56 kids, you’re never going to regret the investment you made in them,” says Carrie Tucker. “There are days and moments that it is so worth it. Just in one moment.”

For those interested in just learning more about fostering, Care2Foster will be hosting an event in November called Fostering Hope.

The event will be held on Tuesday, November 19, from 6-8 p.m. at JL Mann High School.

It’s free and childcare will be provided. To register, click here.

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