- Associated Press - Tuesday, August 18, 2015

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) - The head of South Carolina’s Department of Social Services says the state needs more foster families.

DSS Director Susan Alford told a Senate oversight panel Monday that the lack of foster families means more children go to group homes in South Carolina than in any other state.

Multiple media outlets reported that Alford said the state needs another 1,400 foster families. Alford said the shortage in several counties means that caseworkers have had to keep children overnight in county DSS offices or hotels. She says the shortage is worst in Beaufort, Greenwood, Kershaw, Lexington and Richland counties.

She says the process has been complicated by a foster family approval process that could take up to nine months. She says the agency is working to reduce that to four months.

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