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South Carolina Senate DSS Oversight Subcommittee Report and Recommendations

By Emily Carroll

The South Carolina Senate’s General Committee Department of Social Services (DSS) Oversight Subcommittee recently released its final report and recommendations for both legislative and agency policy change on matters of child welfare. The Subcommittee met 13 times to hear testimony from experts, advocates, and stakeholders between January and December 2014. Senator Tom Young (R-Aiken), Senator Joel Lourie (D-Columbia), and Senator Katrina Shealy (R-Lexington) presented the report to the General Assembly.

Overall themes in the report include transparency in practices and procedures, adoption of evidence-based practices, sharing of data and information across departments and the state, coordination of entities involved in the child welfare system, and the further professionalization of those working in the field. The Senate DSS Oversight Subcommittee also holds the South Carolina General Assembly responsible for funding the department in a way that meets the above goals, protects children, and fosters a culture of accountability and responsibility.  Furthermore, the Senate DSS Oversight Subcommittee plans to hold future hearings to continue its work on issues of child welfare and well-being. Future topics of interest for the Subcommittee include foster care, termination of parental rights, data accountability, improving understanding and outcomes within the Court System, the cost and benefit of developing an Office of the Child Advocate, and how best to structure and govern the child welfare system.

The Institute for Child Success continues to make recommendations around governance of early childhood systems with its recommendation to form a cabinet-level agency to oversee programs including care, education, health, and welfare and well-being. Another aspect of governance that is at the forefront of the ICS legislative agenda includes the sharing and dissemination of accurate and timely information. ICS proposes the state of South Carolina engage with a research and data firm that offers analytics support to understanding the feasibility, the process, and the outcomes of services and programs.

For the full Subcommittee report please see: DSS Oversight Subcommittee Report March 2015.

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