Supporting Military Families To Serve As Foster Parents

Ellsworth Air Force Base Is Helping Families Explore Fostering

As you begin the journey to explore foster parenting, South Dakota Kids Belong will support you:

View chidlren in our state’s foster care system who are legally free for adoption.

connect with foster parents

Connect with other foster parents, experts and resources.

trauma aware

Become trauma aware and invite your support network to do the same.

foster friendly businesses

Connect with Foster Friendly businesses, faith communities and others committed to supporting South Dakota kinship and foster families.

Let’s Connect

Foster Parent Requirements In South Dakota

South Dakota's Strong Families Together Foster Care Initiative

Stronger Families Together is your best resource for information about becoming a kinship or foster parent in our state. But here are some key requirements to be aware of. 

  • The only age requirement is a minimum age threshold of 21 years of age.
  • Demonstrate financial stability.
  • Housing must meet physical-safety standards (e.g., fire extinguishers, adequate bedroom space, reliable transportation), but there is no requirement of home ownership or size of home.
  • Demonstrate home stability. Foster parents do not need to be married, may be single or cohabitating. A live-in relationship with a significant other or same-sex partner should be established for at least one year to demonstrate stability.
  • To ensure the safety of children in foster care, potential foster families are screened for past criminal activity. Convictions are not necessarily disqualifying, but must go through a review process.
  • Check out these resources, offered by Stronger Families Together:

Note: This link will take you to South Dakota Department of Social Services. Be sure you submitted our connect form (above) before leaving South Dakota Kids Belong.

Paths To Fostering and Adoption In South Dakota

In South Dakota you have two options for becoming licensed as a foster parent and additional resources for adoption.


The first is to work through the South Dakota Department of Social Services.


You also have the option to work with an approved private provider, including therapeutic licensing agencies designated by region. For more information visit

Stronger Families Together

Eagle / Butte Area: Simply Smiles, Marcella Gilbert, 605.810.4041

Parkston / Dimock: Our Home Connections, Karen Goehring, 605.928.7909

Pierre Area: Capital Area Counseling Carrie Ward, 605.224.5811

Rapid City and Sioux Falls (60-mi radius):

Children’s Home Society Ann Lecy, 605.343-2811

Lutheran Social Services, Jill Jensen, 605.221.2419


If you are interested in adoption you can work directly through Department of Social Services or through approved agency partners like these:

  1. Lifeline Children’s Services 
  2. Children’s Home Society 
  3. Lutheran Social Services

Got Questions?

Our team is standing by to help.

Use our connect form (above) or email State Director Kristi Woolsey.

What It Means To Be Trauma Aware And Why It Can Be Your Superpower

When you say yes to becoming a foster parent, you are saying yes to standing in the gap with kids during one of the most traumatic and vulnerable moments in their young lives.

Just as first-responders cannot effectively help others without properly equipping themselves, your ability to serve kids well in foster care depends in part on your awareness of trauma and its effects on kids.

Your trauma awareness can serve as a superpower in that it helps you see through walls to view the larger picture of what’s happening in and around the child or children in your care. That bigger picture can help guide your decisions and responses in ways that create safety, while providing much-needed support and encouragement.

South Dakota Foster Families Share Their Stories

Meet Jared and Keli Wilson, and some other South Dakota foster and biological parents, as they share their experiences.

SD_Foster Parent Story The Wilsons

AFB Foster Parent Resources

Nationwide nearly half of licensed foster parents quit within the first year. Many say a “lack of social support” leads to isolation and burn out. South Dakota Kids Belong is committed to helping families foster longer and stronger. Our free Foster Friendly App supports foster and kinship families with:

  1. Valuable services and discounts from area businesses
  2. Links to faith communities that are Foster Friendly (they are trauma aware, teach on foster care and often offer support ministries such as W.R.A.P. programs, Foster Parents Night Out and Foster Parent Support Groups.