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McMaster Says Feds Can't Place Unaccompanied, Undocumented Migrant Children In SC Foster Care

South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster

South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster issued an executive order Monday directing the state to block the federal government from placing immigrant children entering the country illegally into foster care and group homes. The order is a response to a Biden administration request seeking placement for unaccompanied migrant children at the U.S.–Mexico border.

South Carolina Department of Social Services Director Michael Leach told the governor in a letter that six agencies were interested. Leach said the federal government would offer the agency “very favorable terms” for placing the children for 35 days or longer if needed. No children have been placed.

“DSS expressed a number of concerns to (the Administration of Children and Families) about the impact of overall bed capacity, the priority for placement for South Carolina children entering foster care, the length of time unaccompanied minors may reside in a placement, the anticipated challenges in locating family,” said Leach, “and any unaccompanied minors entering the S.C. foster care system.”

McMaster responded in a letter that said resources are strained and the state’s children need to come first.

“Allowing the federal government to place an unlimited number of unaccompanied migrant children into our state’s child welfare system for an unspecified length of time is an unacceptable proposition,” McMaster said. “We’ve been down this road with the federal government before and the state usually ends up ‘on the hook.’”

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