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Lowcountry in Dire Need of Foster Parents - Live5News.com | Charleston, SC | News, Weather, Sports

Lowcountry in Dire Need of Foster Parents

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Keke Collins bio | email

SUMMERVILLE,SC (WCSC) - As of August the Charleston County Department of Social Services had 256 foster children but fewer than 100 foster families.

Without anyone to care for these children, they often end up in group homes. 

Since 2003 Joey and Amanda Leviner have been taking in foster kids.

"It has been the most rewarding experience of my life," said Amanda Leviner.   

Now in their early thirties, the husband and wife were 23-year-old newlyweds when they became foster parents for the first time.

"Some of these kids come in and their idea of normal is nowhere close to being normal. It's like planting crops. You've got to clear out all the trees, before you can lay the seed, before you can even begin to grow something," said Joey Leviner. 

The ultimate goal of foster care is to reunite the child with their biological family.

In the past six years, the couple has cared for ten teenagers.  Amanda said the idea came to her in a book she read as a young girl. 

As for Joey, at the age of 12 his father died.  He remembers how much it meant when the men in his church stepped forward to help.  

"It's a huge impact for a kid to have a man in his life, especially a teenage boy.  That's been the biggest factor. You know, having that man figure," said Joey Leviner.

For Charleston County DSS worker Lynn Stafford people like the Leviners are rare.

"I believe there are a lot of preconceived notions of what our children are like. The children that come into foster care, as well as what Department of Social Services provides.  As a result, some people will avoid inquiring about foster care," said Stafford. 

The Leviners can remember the troubled young boy who showed up on their doorstep when they first started fostering children. 

"They couldn't get him to go to school. He just had a real hard time," said Joey Leviner. 

That same boy is now a man. A star athlete and student during high school, he is now working at a construction site to save money for college.

"He missed one day all four years of high school.  It was senior cut day," said Joey Leviner.

According to the Department of Social Services prospective foster parents undergo an extensive screening process.  Some of the elements include a background check and home study.

For more information on how to get involved contact your local Department of Social Services.

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