Children of the Recession: Economy Sending Children Into Foster Care

By Jonathan Carlson

July 27, 2009 /

We all know the economy is bad, but for some, its effects have gotten so bad they've been forced to give up their children--people who have lost jobs and aren't taking care of kids.

NewsChannel 7 learned, Upstate counties are dealing with a flood of foster kids, as the sour economy hits communities hard. One local area--seeing more than double the amount of children needing a good home--than one year ago.


There's a dire need for loving parents in Union County.

The problem begins with depressing statistics.

The county has been suffering from one of the state's highest unemployment rates--up at 20 percent in the Spring of 2009.

With an approximate population at 29-thousand, as the economy went south--so did the number of families able to properly care for children.

Union County DSS has had the highest increase in children needing foster care in the Upstate. And its one of the highest in the state of South Carolina.

They have gone from 31 children last year to 76 this year. Thats nearly a 150 percent increase.

When life at home suffers--so does parenting.

The children removed from homes range in ages from 1 day old to 18.

Union County, and many others in the state are looking for foster parents to step up to the plate.

We spoke with two foster parents about why they decided to take in children.

John Cremeans said, "You think to yourself, I've done some good for somebody. I've done some good for a little child that may have seen the really bad side of life and this time maybe they can see what a normal side of life is like."

Angela Perkins told us, the children "just need someone to say: 'I'm here--I support you--I love you."

There are only 11 foster homes in the county, with 76 children needing a place.

The county seeks parents from all over the region.

The hope is one day those foster children may be returned to their original home.

Those wanting to help these children in need, should call you're local DSS office.

To help the children of Union County, you can call Amy Austin at (864) 429-1660.

DSS tells us--in addition to the economy--more community outreach has upped the number of people reporting abuse--resulting in more children being taken into DSS custody.

Out of South Carolina's 46 counties, about half have seen increases in DSS foster care cases--the other half--not.

[The original article includes a video for adoption recruitment, suggesting all children placed in foster care have been grossly abused and neglected and in need of an adoptive home.]


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