toys kids
Photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash

HALOS, an organization providing support and advocacy to abused and neglected children and their caregivers has partnered with the S.C. Department of Social Services (DSS) to launch the first-ever statewide online resources for the Palmetto State’s kinship families.

HALOS was the first organization to provide comprehensive services to kinship families in the state.

“Kinship caregivers play a very vital role in the child well-being system, said DSS Director Michael Leach. “Every day we work with family members who have stepped up, whether temporary or permanent, to be lifesaving support for a child or youth they love. This website will allow us to ensure South Carolina’s caregivers have the support they need to care for our state’s children.”

According to HALOS, more than 69,000 children in South Carolina live with a kinship caregiver, a temporary or permanent arrangement in which a relative or close family friend takes over the full-time care of a child.

Now, the new resource, KinshipSC, seeks to promote the safety, permanency and well-being of these children. The website offers community, state and national resources for caregivers like legal assistance, housing support and financial aid. And, thanks to it being an online platform, families can reach out for support, even during the pandemic.

“HALOS has worked with caregivers in the Charleston area and regularly receives calls from organizations and caregivers across the state looking for assistance,” said Kim Clifton, HALOS Executive Director. “With the COVID-19 pandemic, more and more caregivers are turning to virtual help and this is one more way to reach families where they are.”

KinshipSC has also launched a toll-free number for caregivers looking for same assistance offered by their online platform. Callers can reach a HALOS staff member 8:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m. Monday-Friday at 1-(854) 444-3716.