South Carolina foster care and adoption guidelines

Thanks for your interest in adoption and/or foster care. If you are interested in becoming a foster or adoptive parent, contact Heartfelt Calling at 888-828-3555 or complete an initial online Prospective Adoptive Parent or Foster Parent Interest Form.  

Adoption Services are provided through the five state Department of Social Services regional adoption offices.  Each office serves as many as 10 to 14 counties.  
After you have submitted your initial adoption or foster application, please contact your regional adoption office to receive information on orientation and training in your region:

Region I Division of Adoption Services
714 N. Pleasantburg Drive
Greenville, SC 29607
Phone: (800) 868-6595
Region II Division of Adoption Services
2638 Two Notch Rd., Suite 200
Columbia, SC 29204
Phone: (888) 711-7095
Region II (Rock Hill) Division of Adoption Services
454 South Anderson Road, BTC
515, Suite 101
Rock Hill, SC 29730
Phone: (800) 922-1537
Region III Division of Adoption Services
3346 Rivers Ave., Suite F
N. Charleston, SC 29405
Phone: (800) 922-1518
Region IV Division of Adoption Services
181 East Evans St.
Florence Business and Technology Center-112
Florence, SC 29506
Phone: (800) 763-6637
Region V (Laurens) Division of Adoption Services
93 Human Services Road
Clinton, SC 29325
Phone: (864) 833-0100
Region V (Orangeburg) Division of Adoption Services
2570 St. Matthews Rd
Orangeburg, SC 29116
Phone: (803) 515-1852
Para información en Español, contacte:
Número de teléfono: 888-828-3555
8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

Things you should know

Foster care and adoption licensing requirements

Criteria and steps for becoming an adoptive parent:

  • Applicants must be at least 21 years old.
  • Contact one of the regional offices to inquiry and receive application.
  • Complete and return application to the regional office which serves your resident county.
  • Complete SLED/ fingerprints and child abuse central register releases on all members of household 18 years and older.
  • Attend 14 hours of preparatory training to help with self-evaluation of the types of children which would fit into your family.
  • Fire and sanitation inspections completed on home by the Fire Marshal and DHEC.
  • Home visits: adoption specialist visits the home and completes interviews for pre-placement investigation.
  • Three to four references received and interviewed by adoption specialist.
  • Medicals are required on all family members.
  • Provide copies of birth certificates, marriage license, and divorce petitions and decrees if applicable.
  • During assessment family and agency assess qualifications and readiness to adopt.
  • Approval received and family considered for children along with other approved and waiting families.
  • Placement committee selects family and notifies family and family is presented full background on children for whom family is selected.
  • Family meets child and begins visitation with child.
  • Placement occurs when child and family are ready for move.
  • Postplacement period begins and can continue up to 12 months.
  • Finalization of the adoption in family court.
  • Adoption preservation services are available upon request after the finalization of the adoption. Adoption is a lifelong process, counseling and other referral services may be available to the family as needed and requested by the family.

Foster and adoption costs

The department does not charge a fee to become a licensed foster parent or adoptive parent. The family is required to show sufficient income to meet the needs of their family and any additional children placed in the home. Each family must complete a physical exam which is at the expense of the family. Should there be issues which prevent licensure identified in the fire and sanitation inspections, those repairs are at the expense of the applicant before proceeding with the study process.

An attorney is required at the time of the legal finalization of the adoption. If the child adopted is a special needs child, the family may be eligible to receive some reimbursement of those legal fees.

South Carolina also has private adoption agencies licensed to place children for adoption. Each agency sets their fee schedule.

Agency contact and orientation information

For the list of licensed private agencies and certified investigators, please call 888-828-3555.