The titled case determined that the plain meaning of section 63-9-60 of the South Carolina Code of Laws, as amended, affords standing to foster parents if they are South Carolina residents.
I have linked to the titled case, and a case referred to as Youngblood to help the reader understanding standing and also to understand the nuance of statutes and case law.
“We acknowledged in Youngblood that the foster care relationship is a temporary and contractual relationship created by the State, and we further noted foster care is “a temporary living arrangement … utilized while permanent placement plans are being formulated for the involved children.” 402 S.C. at 321–22, 741 S.E.2d at 520 (quoting 10 S.C. Code Ann. Regs. 114-550(A)(1) (2012) ). Accordingly, we held “the foster parent relationship, absent statutory law to the contrary, is insufficient to create a legally protected interest in a child and therefore, does not create standing to petition to adopt.” Id. at 322, 741 S.E.2d at 520. It is indeed settled that the foster care relationship is temporary and does not in and of itself create standing to commence a private adoption action. However, this does not foreclose the existence of standing for foster parents under section 63-9-60, provided the foster parents reside in South Carolina, and provided the foster child has not been placed for adoption by DSS (or by agency under contract with DSS).”
Justice Hearing, in her concurring opinion, noted her concerns about the ruling and asked that the General Assembly do its job to clean up a statutory mess. “….I am concerned that foster parents and others who are anxious to adopt a child will hail our decision today as a green light to file an adoption action when a child is taken into protective custody—at a time when DSS is working to fulfill its statutory mandate for reunification. Such actions will burden our family court system and may not always produce results which are best for the child and his or her family. However, finding absurd results in order to produce a more logical and orderly result is not the prerogative of this Court, and I trust the General Assembly will act to change the statute if the current plain language does not reflect its true intent.” S.C. Dep’t of Soc. Servs. v. Boulware, 809 S.E.2d 223, 422 S.C. 1 (S.C. 2018)