The Department of Social Services is the topic this week. Director Kenneth McBride will provide information of the diversity and efficiency that is made available in programs concerning child fatality and how to prevent these deaths.
Any time there is a death in a county, the Child Fatality Review Board Team in that county meets to review the information each agency has obtained and review for previous involvement when this particular type of incident had been addressed before.
From these meetings, it is determined if other children in the home might be in danger, if law enforcement needs to press legal charges etc. The team is made up of law enforcement, SLED, DSS Director, DSS Performance Coach, Coroner, and a doctor who specializes in abuse and neglect.
The two major causes of child fatalities in South Carolina are SIDs (sudden infant death) which includes co-sleeping and not having a safe sleeping environment. A baby needs its own space to sleep. Vehicle accidents where the child was not restrained properly. The majority of car seats are not attached properly.
The Sheriff’s office can check the car seat properly. Babies should stay in a backward facing seat until they are 2 or until they are over the weight limit for the seat. After 2 years child can sit in a forward seat with a point harness. Next is a booster seat with a belt should go over shoulder and center of the chest. Children 6 years and younger are not allowed in the front seat by law. Car seats have an expiration date on them. Do not use a seat that is out of date.
How people can help: We are accepting donations of Pack and Plays to give to parents who cannot afford to buy them. We are not able to accept used bedding.
To report Abuse and or/ neglect of a child or adult, call 803-323-2155 during regular working hours. After 5:00 or on weekends, call 803-321-2155.
FOSTER PARENT ASSOCIATION: (In South Carolina) We currently have approximately 4,118 children in care and only 2,533 foster homes. Citizens can become foster parents, be a good neighbor, engage your church and civic groups to collect and donate needed items.
ADULT PROTECTIVE SERVICE is where DSS investigates individuals who are considered vulnerable and they are either experiencing self-neglect or abuse/neglect by a caretaker. DSS investigated approximately 33,306 reports of abuse and neglect. Domestic violence shelters provide support and services to more than 13,000 adults and children last year.
Fatherhood Coalition helps fathers to have an active part in children’s lives. DSS is working with the Coalition. Statistics show the children do better all-around when both mother and father are involved in their lives. The Fatherhood programs also help fathers to overcome such barriers as lack of education, criminal record or lack of experience.
The Department of Social Services is one of South Carolina’s largest agencies with 3,785 employees and a $692 million budget. There is pride in its diversity, efficiency and effectivity to provide to more than 800,000 South Carolina citizens.
The Mission is to efficiently serve citizens of South Carolina by ensuring the safety of children and adults who cannot protect themselves and assisting families to achieve stability through child support, child care, financial and other temporary benefits while transitory into employment.
Margaret Brackett is from Newberry. Her columns appear weekly in The Newberry Observer.