To recommend a permanent home for the child in foster care without unnecessary delay by:
- returning the child home or
- placing the child in another stable, permanent home.
- To independently monitor the safety, progress toward permanency and well-being of individual children, and groups of children in foster care.
- To continually stimulate progress and improvements in individual cases and child welfare system performance.
- To hold individuals, organizations, and systems accountable for achieving positive outcomes for children in foster care.
- To serve as an early-warning assessment device for families, policy-makers, and child welfare decision-makers, alerting them when foster care practice significantly deviates from policy and regulations and a child is at significant risk of harm.
In the early 1970's many child welfare professionals and citizens groups began advocacy efforts on behalf of children in the foster care system. These efforts arose out of their concern for children adrift in the foster care system. The ultimate result of these efforts was the establishment of the South Carolina Foster Care Review Board system in 1974.
Review Board members are volunteer citizens from around the state nominated by their legislative delegation and appointed to serve four year terms by the Governor. Volunteers come from all walks of life. They are individuals who care about children, are willing to advocate for their right to have a safe, nurturing family, and want to be an excellent Board member.
A Board member's primary function is to review cases of children who have resided in public foster care for a period of more than four consecutive months. This is to determine what efforts have been made by the supervising agency or child caring facility to secure a permanent home for the child.
A review consists of a business meeting between the Local Review Board and a Foster Care Review Board staff member, followed by individual reviews of cases of children in foster care. Individual reviews include a recognition of all parties present, including Review Board members, Foster Care Review Board staff, interested parties and case workers. An overview of the case is presented by the caseworker which details the history of the case, the length of time in foster care, and the last recommendation. The Board then interviews any interested party present, followed by specific questions to the caseworker to determine the progress being made toward securing a permanent and safe home for the child being reviewed. The Board then meets privately to discuss the case information and their recommendation. The Board presents their recommendation and any areas of concern to the caseworker.
Whenever possible, Review Boards recommend that children return to their parents. If this is not possible within a reasonable amount of time, Local Review Boards recommend that maximum efforts be made toward adoption. Other recommendations for a child are considered after adoption has been thoroughly assessed and determined not to be the child's best interest.