COLUMBIA -- South Carolina needs more foster homes and adoptive parents, Kathleen Hayes, director of the state Department of Social Services, said Monday as the agency unveiled a new recruitment campaign.
The state has more than 5,600 children in foster care, 1,600 of whom are available for adoption. The amount of time children spend in foster care before they are adopted has lessened in the last several years because of stepped-up efforts, but the state needs more families to open their homes.
Greenville native and singer-songwriter Edwin McCain is featured on the agency's advertisements. McCain is adopted. He and his wife, Christy, have two children, one of whom is adopted.
"Adoption is the way we lift each other up," McCain said at Monday's premier. "This is about changing the ending of stories."
The public service announcements will air on TV stations across the state, including WTAT-TV in Charleston.
The ad shows the faces of South Carolina children in the foster care system and pictures of celebrities who have been adopted, including President Bill Clinton and Apple chief executive officer Steve Jobs. It also features McCain's song "Letter to My Mother."
Last year, 523 children were adopted in South Carolina. Over the past decade, 4,200 children have been adopted. Hayes said many times when a family adopts a child, the family is complete and no longer fosters children. That leaves a need to recruit more families.
The campaign began in 2008 with a partnership between the Social Services Department, the South Carolina Heart Gallery, FOX Carolina and Ashley Furniture Homestores. The Heart Gallery is part of a national project that showcases children available for adoption with professional portraits by volunteer photographers.
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