In the last ten years alone, the Committee has introduced or endorsed thirty pieces of legislation that were enacted into law on behalf of South Carolina's children.
Creates a tiered response system for DSS to investigate reports of child abuse or neglect.
Establishes guardianship assistance payments for relatives and fictive kin after a court appoints them as a child’s legal guardian. Defines legal guardianship and makes other conforming amendments.
Allows crisis stabilization units to serve children as young as age five and includes all short-term residential stabilization and intensive crisis services in the definition of “crisis stabilization unit facilities."
Adds definitions of unaccompanied homeless youth, homeless child or youth, and youth at risk of homelessness to the Children’s Code.
Allows a parent or caregiver of a disabled child to apply for guardianship 180 days prior to the child's 18th birthday.
Adds the State Child Advocate as an ex-officio member of the Committee on Children.
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.
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, and services to support the transition to living independently.
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.
JCLCC Reauthorization - Act 123 (2022)
Reauthorizes the Joint Citizens and Legislative Committee on Children and removes the sunset provision to make the Committee permanent. Adds four new ex-officio agencies: Department of Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse Services, Department of Health and Environmental Control, Department of Health and Human Services, and SC First Steps.
Family First Prevention Services Act Regulations - Act 24 (2021)
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.
South Carolina Child Abuse Response Protocol Act - Act 28 (2021)
Mandates the use of the statewide child abuse model protocol during the investigation and prosecution of a known or suspected crime against a child.
Repeals the law that allows issuance of a marriage license for an unmarried female and male under 16 years old when the female is pregnant or has bore a child.
Requires DHEC to prepare a new birth certificate after paternity is established by court or administrative proceeding. Also establishes Maternal Morbidity and Mortality Review Committee at DHEC and authorizes collection of related data.
Requires all individuals working in a childcare setting be background checked. Provides the type of background checks required and their frequency.
Requires DSS to provide certain information to prospective kinship placements prior to placing children in kinship care and creates a waiver for non-safety requirements for kinship homes to become licensed foster placements. Establishes data reporting requirements for DSS regarding kinship care.
Amends S.C. Code Ann. § 63-7-20 to include minor victims of trafficking in persons in the definition of abuse & neglect.
Requires the South Carolina First Steps to School Readiness Board of Trustees to report the results of the kindergarten readiness assessment by state and by county and use the results to assist county partnerships to support local initiatives to improve readiness for all students.
Delineates specific offenses by nonstudents that are criminalized under the Disturbing Schools Act, removes students from the classes of persons eligible for violations, and adds a new criminal offense for students making it unlawful for a student to threaten to inflict bodily harm or take the life of another individual using any form of communication.
Requires the coroner of each county to schedule a local child fatality review team to perform a review of a case where a child under the age of 18 dies in the county he serves and to provide the purpose of the review team. Where available, funds must be disbursed to the counties equally to pay the duly elected full-time coroner and other related personnel or equipment.
Requires that information be made available to parents of newborns which include safe sleep practices and the causes of Sudden Unexplained Infant Death Syndrome (SUIDS) through a video presentation shown to parents at the hospital following childbirth. Mandates that DHEC must make video presentation on safe sleep practices and SUIDS available to all childcare facilities and childcare providers and establishes a protocol for healthcare providers to educate parents or primary caregivers. Requires that DSS adoption services make the video available to all adopting parents.
Changes and clearly defines the age, weight, and position of a child who must be secured in a passenger restraint system while in a motor vehicle.
Allows a responsible adult to sign for and assume liability and obligation for a driver's license or beginner's permit for a minor.
Increases training for family childcare home operators, requires background checks for other older youth or adults who later move into the home, provides authority to the Department of Social Services (DSS) in the registration process, and makes changes to the notice requirements for registrants in various stages of the process.
Requires that meals and competitive foods offered in public schools meet the standards of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and that state standards are regularly updated with the USDA guidelines.
Requires that hands-on CPR training and instruction on the use of AEDs be taught in public schools at least once during grades 9-12 and allows for the adoption of waiver polices by school districts.
Prohibits the shackling of juveniles in family court proceedings unless found by the court to be necessary to prevent harm or because the juvenile is a flight risk.
Adds more representation through the addition of three new members to the committee to further its work.
Reauthorizes First Steps and develops a comprehensive long-range initiative for school readiness and a strategy for fulfilling this initiative.
Implements a statewide comprehensive plan to improve reading achievement.