Citing child abuse and neglect as the state’s most serious public health problem in the state, S.C. Gov. Henry McMaster issued an official proclamation designating April as Child Abuse Prevention Month. The proclamation cites the importance of prevention programs in communities across South Carolina that give families the knowledge and resources to learn, grow and thrive while providing safe, caring environments for children. Gov. McMaster encourages all South Carolinians to work together to protect the safety and well-being of children in the Palmetto State.
The new Adverse Community Experiences and Resilience report outlines specific framework and strategies for building resilience in areas highly affected by trauma in an effort to improve community health and safety. The report from the Prevention Institute outlines specific examples from cities across the country, such as reducing violence and promoting community resilience in Milwaukee, creating prevention training materials in Oakland, and reducing post-traumatic stress disorder, depression, and suicide in communities of color in Tacoma and San Diego. Children's Trust also has developed a South Carolina prevention framework around its Adverse Childhood Experiences Initiative, which seeks a shared understanding of how the impact of traumatic events in the lives of children could lead to the prevention of poor health and social outcomes as adults. The statewide ACE Initiative involves training, collecting and disseminating data, promoting sound legislative policy and building a prevention planning framework. Dr. Deborah Daro, a child abuse prevention expert based at Chapin Hall at [...]
Last week the Government Accountability Office (GAO) issued a report on the issue of unregulated custody transfers what some in the news media have labeled as “rehoming.” The GAO report, Steps Have Been Taken to Address Unregulated Custody Transfers of Adopted Children was undertaken at the request of Congressman Lloyd Doggett (D-TX) and Congressman Jim Langevin (D-RI). News reports approximately two years ago tracked the practice of some adoptive parents transferring their adopted child to another home through postings on the internet, and bypassing the state courts and sometimes subjecting the children to abusive or neglect situations. The news reports documented cases that mainly involved families that had adopted children from international settings. The term “rehoming” was lifted from a practice that is used to find new homes for pets. Earlier this year CWLA joined with Voice for Adoption, the Donaldson Institute and the North American Council of Adoptable Children issued a statement of [...]
DSS Director Alford and Other State Foster Care Leaders Addressed System Challenges at Wednesday Meeting Michelle Dhunjishah, director and general counsel of the SC Foster Care Review Board, spoke to the committee about challenges in the foster system, including protracted licensing of foster families, inadequate oversight and support of alternative caregivers and the need for additional DSS lawyers to serve as advocates for children across the state. Carl Brown of the Foster Parent Association detailed the problematic training schedule and compensation rates for foster families, noting that foster parents in South Carolina receive nearly 14 percent less than foster parents in Georgia and 20 percent less than foster care parents in North Carolina in monthly care payments. Director Susan Alford echoed the need for additional supports to the foster care system and noted excessive caseloads to be a primary focus of the agency. Caseworkers in Richland, Lexington and Spartanburg counties were reported to have the [...]
A report by the Perryman Group provides a new estimate of economic aspects and costs of child maltreatment. The study analyzed 2014 national data related to lifetime social and social welfare costs and lost earnings due to non-fatal maltreatment. The cost of maltreatment has been associated with health-care expenses, social welfare services, criminal justice, and education. Findings include: Overall health-care costs increased during childhood and resulted in a loss of approximately $270.9 billion in the production of goods and services; Individual occurrences of first-time child maltreatment cost the national economy about $1.8 million in total expenditures; and Overall, additional social welfare costs resulted in a loss of approximately $42.5 billion in production of goods and services. Download Report
Two Important Bills Receive Favorable Committee Reports Mandatory reporting (H. 3099) legislation by Rep. Peter M. McCoy, Jr., R-Charleston, would require college administrators, coaches, scout leaders, firefighters, camp counselors and others working in direct contact with children to report suspected child abuse and neglect. The bill moves to the floor of the House of Representatives. S. 334 by Sen. Kevin Johnson, D- Clarendon, directs the Department of Natural Resources to gather public input on improving recreational water safety in South Carolina and then report recommendations to the Senate. This legislative moves to the Senate for consideration.
Safe haven (H. 3522) legislation by Rep. Mandy Powers Norrell, D-Lancaster, was passed by the House and sent to the Senate. This bill would require safe havens to post a public notice (to be provided by the S.C. Department of Social Services) identifying their location as a safe haven. This legislation is connected to Daniel’s Law, prohibiting prosecution of any person who abandons an unharmed infant younger than 30 days old to an employee of a safe haven, most often hospitals and fire stations.
South Carolina Foster Care Review Board Releases Annual Report The Foster Care Review Board provides a snapshot of foster care in South Carolina. The data included in the latest annual report represented children reported by the S.C. Department of Social Services who remain in foster care at least four consecutive months and are reviewed by the S.C. Foster Care Review Board. Of note in 2013: 2,988 children entered foster care. 5,876 cases were reviewed. 539 finalized adoptions. Of cases reviewed by local review boards: 44 percent recommended termination of parental rights. 34 percent recommended reunification. 17 percent recommended adoption. The report also details the impact of S.C. Heart Gallery and breaks down outcomes by county. Download Report Visit Website to Learn More