Local Nonprofit Transforms Department of Social Services Office to Serve Youth in Foster Care 

5 mins read

ORANGEBURG, South Carolina (May 29, 2024) – At a celebratory ribbon cutting ceremony this afternoon coinciding with National Foster Care Awareness Month, Lily Pad, together with the South Carolina Department of Social Services (DSS), opened its 21st Lily Pad in the state at the Orangeburg DSS office in Orangeburg County. 

“This beautiful space isn’t a result of us as individuals, it is the result of so many people across South Carolina who care about children in foster care and have donated their time and resources to help bring this special Lily Pad to life,” said Lily Pad Co-Founder Jennifer Tice. 

Tice and her husband, Co-Founder Ben Tice, were joined by representatives from DSS, including Orangeburg County DSS Director Charlene Nimmons, to open Lily Pad’s 21st location, serving children and youth, caregivers, families and DSS professionals in Orangeburg County, South Carolina. National Foster Care Awareness Month seeks to increase national awareness of foster care issues and recognizes the important role that people from all parts of child welfare play in supporting children, youth, and families. This year’s theme highlights the need to create a child welfare system that authentically engages and supports young people who are preparing to leave foster care.

“Our kids can really relax here. Parents can enjoy it as well and be proud of the space when they visit. From the bottom of my heart, I am truly, truly excited about this and I look forward to our families enjoying this space together,” said Nimmons.

When a child enters foster care or has a change in their placement, foster youth may spend time waiting temporarily in agency offices until their next placement is ready. Lily Pad creates a living room-like setting for children and youth and gives them a place to comfortably rest, play games, do homework and distract themselves from the difficulties of their everyday life. 

Lily Pad is working on one space at a time to meet the needs of each individual DSS office and the children and youth they serve. The rooms often include a TV, gaming system, books, board games, Chromebooks, comfortable couches, sensory bins, desks, a dining table, and age-appropriate toys. Soft, clean linens are provided in each space as well. Lily Pads are funded and furnished by generous volunteers and private donors nationwide. 

All children and youth need a nurturing and supportive family and community to enable them to achieve their full potential. For vulnerable children who are exposed to neglect or child abuse, we need to ensure they are protected, supported and work to minimize trauma experienced when they cannot safely remain in their home. In order to have the best chance in life, that protection and support starts with a safe and comfortable space to rest and unwind during an uncertain time. One of the scariest times for a child or youth in foster care is when they are first removed from their own home and waiting in an office for placement in a new home. Children and youth come into DSS custody at all hours of the day, including in the middle of the night, and a Lily Pad space can provide safety throughout those first hours until a placement can be secured.

With this new location, Lily Pad has transformed 21 spaces in South Carolina and hopes to create 52 Lily Pads (one in each of South Carolina’s 46 county foster care offices and 6 adoption offices) over the next few years.  

DYK? There are approximately 3,400 children in foster care in South Carolina. You can help them by supporting Lily Pad’s work throughout the state!

 ###

About Lily PadLily Pad began in 2022, thanks to a dream by Greer residents Benjamin and Jennifer Tice. As active foster parents in the Upstate, the Tices want to give vulnerable foster youth a soft place to land. Lily Pad was born out of that desire. To learn more, visit LilyPadInc.org.

The PalmettoEye highlights the people, places, events, and culture of the Palmetto state through the lens of native South Carolinians. With curated news, editorials, videos, podcasts, and photo essays, we share a unique view of life and living in South Carolina. The PalmettoEye is also your place for discovering cultural and historic landmarks from around the state as well as events and attractions to watch out for and the latest in dining and shopping and other noteworthy attributes that make the Palmetto State one of the world’s most beautiful places with smiling faces.

Previous Story

Bamberg County Launches Major Broadband Expansion Project

Next Story

The City of Columbia Cuts the Ribbon for TREMBLE Studio

Latest from People