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Legislation Introduced by the Committee on Children

2021-22 Legislative Session

Kinship Care Support

H 3214 and S 222

  • Creates a definition of fictive kin.

  • Adds fictive kin to DSS Kinship Foster Care Program statutes; provides legal status and eligibility for payments and services to kin and fictive kin placements during licensure process.

Statewide Child Abuse Protocol

  • Mandates the use of the statewide child abuse model protocol during the investigation and prosecution of a known or suspected crime against a child.

  • Ensures that training is available to multi-disciplinary team (MDT) members across the state as they prepare for implementation and on an ongoing basis.

Extension of Foster Care

Establishes procedures for a child who is or was in the legal custody of the Department of Social Services on their 18th birthday to voluntarily remain in care until age 21 which would provide these older youth with assistance on:

  • housing options

  • health insurance

  • educational goals

  • local opportunities for mentors and support services

  • workforce supports

  • employment services

  • services to support the transition to living independently

Family First Prevention Services Act

  • Enacts required definitions and procedures for  implementation of the federal Family First Prevention Services Act within SC DSS.

  • Provides a definition for a "Qualified Residential Treatment Program," a new term for specialized placements for children and youth in South Carolina.

  • Aligns child welfare practices with federal requirements to ensure that South Carolina receives associated federal Title IV-E funding for preventative services that will keep children at home instead of in foster care.

Sex Buyer Penalties

  • Increases the penalties for solicitation of commercial sex.

  • Establishes an affirmative defense for victims of human trafficking.

  • Bans prostitution charges for minors.

  • Expands the definition of procurement and increases penalties, with higher penalties when the prostitute is severely mentally disabled.

Safe Harbor for Minor Victims

  • Establishes legal precedent that minors under the age of 18 who were engaged in criminal sexual acts or sex trafficking are presumed to be doing so under coercion or a reasonable fear of a threat and therefore have an affirmative defense from criminal and civil liability from nonviolent offenses they committed under duress or coercion.

  • Ensures that a minor victim of sex trafficking will not have their identity disclosed to the public.

Intimate Partner Violence

Revises the definition of household member in the Domestic Violence Code to:

  • include former and current dating relationship.

  • further define a dating relationship as a romantic, courtship, or engagement relationship between two individuals that need not include sexual involvement.

Status Offenders

  • Eliminates the exception for children to be tried as an adult when charged with a status offense.

  • Decreases the length of time that a child may be held for violation of a court order regarding a status offense.

  • Requires the child and his family seek counseling when the status offense is of incorrigibility.

Juvenile Sex Offender Registry

  • Ensures that no child under 14 is places on the sex offender registry.

  • Grants family court judges the discretion to place children 14 and older on the registry.

  • Allows an individual previously adjudicated in the family court to petition for removal from the sex offender registry once 21 years old and having completed any parole or probation requirements.

Youth Sentencing Act of 2021

  • Bans the sentence of life without parole for any individual who is under the age of eighteen at the time of committing an offense.

  • Provides maximum sentences for individuals who committed an offense as a minor.

  • Prohibits the use of restraints, isolation, and room confinement for juvenile offenders.

Youth Tobacco Access

  • Establishes and requires a tobacco retail license for sellers of all tobacco products, with stricter penalties for selling to minors.

  • Requires the South Carolina Department of Revenue to conduct at least two minimum age sales compliance checks annually of tobacco retail establishments.

DACA Education and Workforce Barriers

Allows people who are lawfully present in this state and are not precluded from establishing residency under federal immigration law (DACA recipients) to establish residency and be eligible for occupational or professional licensure.

JCLCC Reauthorization

Reauthorizes the Joint Citizens and Legislative Committee on Children (JCLCC) through December 31, 2030.

Birth Certificate Access

  • Expands the definition of "other legal representative" to include kinship caregivers and verified entities who work with homeless youth.

  • Streamlines the process of obtaining a birth certificate between DSS and DHEC.

Legislation Endorsed by the Committee on Children

2021-22 Legislative Session

Paid Family Leave for State Employees

  • Provides twelve weeks of paid family leave for state employees due to the birth or adoption of a son or daughter.

  • S 11 also allows leave for placement of a foster child.

  • Leave granted under this section is with pay and is not annual leave or sick leave. The entitlement to this leave expires after a twelve month period and will not accumulate for subsequent use.

Student ID Card Suicide Prevention Act

  • Requires public schools and public and private institutions of higher learning to add the phone number for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline to student identification cards.

  • The school may also print on either side of the cards the telephone or text numbers for a local suicide prevention line, the Crisis Text Line, campus police, or The National Teen Dating Abuse Hotline.

Juvenile Justice Reform Act

An extensive overhaul to to establish new policies regarding the care and guidance of children within South Carolina's juvenile justice system.

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