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As Kinship Care Month Continues, SC Nonprofit Transforms Office Space to Serve Youth in Foster Care

Lily Pad Founders Benjamin and Jennifer Tice will be joined by representatives from DSS to open Lily Pad #11, serving children and youth, caregivers, families and DSS professionals in Anderson, South Carolina. Kinship care is the term used to describe a temporary or permanent placement for children in foster care with extended family members or adults who are close to the children. September honors those loved ones in our community who have stepped up to care for these children!

First picture is before – next two are of the amazing renovation of the new space!

When a child enters foster care or has a change in their placement, foster youth may spend time waiting temporarily in agency offices until their next placement is ready. Lily Pad creates a living room-like setting for children and youth and gives them a place to comfortably rest, play games, do homework and distract themselves from the difficulties of their everyday life. 

Lily Pad is working on one space at a time to meet the needs of each individual DSS office and the children and youth they serve. The rooms often include a TV, gaming system, books, board games, Chromebooks, comfortable couches, sensory bins, desks, a dining table, and age-appropriate toys. Soft, clean linens are provided in each space as well. Lily Pads are funded and furnished by generous volunteers and private donors nationwide. 

With this new location in Anderson, Lily Pad has transformed eleven spaces in South Carolina and hopes to create 52 Lily Pads (one in each of South Carolina’s 46 county foster care offices and 6 adoption offices) over the next few years. Three more are scheduled to open this fall.

WHY: All children and youth need a nurturing and supportive family and community to enable them to achieve their full potential. For vulnerable children who are exposed to neglect or child abuse, we need to ensure they are protected, supported and work to minimize trauma experienced when they cannot safely remain in their home. In order to have the best chance in life, that protection and support starts with a safe and comfortable space to rest and unwind during an uncertain time. One of the scariest times for a child or youth in foster care is when they are first removed from their own home and waiting in an office for placement in a new home. Children and youth come into DSS custody at all hours of the day, including in the middle of the night, and a Lily Pad space can provide safety throughout those first hours until a placement can be secured.

DYK? There are approximately 3,800 children in foster care in South Carolina. You can help them by supporting Lily Pad’s work throughout the state!