By Emily Carroll
The Institute for Child Success (ICS) was pleased to see the Legislative Audit Council’s recently released audit report on Child Welfare Services at the Department of Social Services. Members of the General Assembly requested the audit in 2012 due to growing concerns about the health and safety of children involved in South Carolina’s child welfare system. Over the past two years, the LAC has collected and analyzed data to provide evidence-based recommendations to the General Assembly about the problems faced by DSS and the services that it provides to South Carolina’s most vulnerable children.
The LAC report concentrates on three main issues: caseloads, training, and retention of employees. The Council believes that by reducing caseloads to a manageable number, establishing training guidelines and standards among employees, and creating a culture that reduces turnover and increases transparency, DSS will be able to meet the needs of the children and families that it serves. This is especially true in cases of child abuse, child neglect, and child fatalities.
ICS looks forward to closely reviewing the 44 LAC recommendations in the report and bringing forward reform proposals. It is through cooperation and integration of services that South Carolina will create a culture that fosters the health and safety of children. By working to ensure quality child-caregiver interactions from birth, South Carolina DSS can be a partner in the work of many across the Palmetto State to build a strong foundation to ensure the success of every child in school, their lifelong health, and contribution to a prosperous society.
Thank you to the LAC for providing evidence-based recommendations to the General Assembly. We hope that this report furthers a constructive dialogue to drive positive change for South Carolina’s vulnerable children and families.
The report can be found by following the link: http://lac.sc.gov/LAC_Reports/2014/Pages/DSS.aspx