Placement of Children With Relatives - South Carolina

Date: September 2022

Relative Placement for Foster Care and Guardianship

Citation: Ann. Code §§ 63-7-2320; 63-7-1680

When a child has been removed from their home and is in the care, custody, or guardianship of the Department of Social Services, the department shall attempt to identify a relative who would be appropriate for placement of the child.

Relatives within the first, second, or third degree to the parent or stepparent of a child who may be related through blood, marriage, or adoption may be eligible for licensing as a kinship foster parent.

In the absence of good cause to the contrary, preference must be given to placement with a relative or other person who is known to the child and has a constructive and caring relationship with the child.

Requirements for Placement with Relatives

Citation: Ann. Code § 63-7-2320

If the department determines that it is in the best interests of a child requiring out-of-home placement that the child be placed with a relative for foster care, or if a relative advises the department that they are interested in providing placement for the child and they are not already licensed to provide foster care, the department shall inform them of the procedures for being licensed as a kinship foster parent, assist the relative with the licensing process, and inform them of the availability of payments and other services to kinship foster parents. If the relative is licensed by the department to provide kinship foster care services, they may receive payment for the full foster care rate for the care of the child and any other benefits that might be available to foster parents, whether in money or in services.

A person may be eligible for licensure as a kinship foster parent if they are a relative within the first, second, or third degree to the child's parent or stepparent or a person who has been identified by the department as fictive kin. 'Fictive kin' means a person who is not related by birth, adoption, or marriage to a child but who has an emotionally significant relationship with the child or the child's family.

A person may become a kinship foster parent only upon the completion of a full kinship foster care licensing study performed in accordance with rules and regulations. Residents of the household who are aged 18 or older must undergo the State and Federal fingerprint review procedures.

For relative or fictive kin applicants, the department may waive, on a case-by-case basis, nonsafety elements as the department deems appropriate. Safety elements, such as criminal and child abuse and neglect background checks, may not be waived.

The department shall determine, after a thorough review of information obtained in the licensing process, whether the person is able to care effectively for the foster child.

Requirements for Placement of Siblings

Citation: Ann. Code § 63-7-1680

The case plan must address visits or other contact with siblings, other relatives, and other persons important to the child. The plan shall provide for as much contact between the child and these persons as is reasonably possible and consistent with the best interests of the child.

Relatives Who May Adopt

Citation: Ann. Code § 63-9-1110

Any person may adopt a child to whom they are related by blood or marriage.

Requirements for Adoption by Relatives

Citation: Ann. Code § 63-9-1110

For the adoption of a child by their relative, the following apply:

  • No investigation or report is required unless otherwise directed by the court.
  • No accounting of all disbursements is required unless ordered by the court.
  • Upon good cause shown, the court may waive the requirement, pursuant to § 63-9-750, that the final hearing must not be held before 90 days after the filing of the adoption petition.
  • Upon good cause shown, the court may waive the requirement for the appointment of independent counsel for an indigent parent.
  • Upon good cause shown, the court may waive the requirement that the adoption proceeding must be finalized in this State.