Category Archives: DSS Basics

DSS Treatment Services After Case Investigation

children paint on hands Services from DSS after case investigation  When DSS completes its investigation into new allegations of child abuse, it can, in its discretion, elect to offer treatment services to the family without filing a court case and without a court order. Such services are voluntary. However, if the family rejects these voluntary services, DSS will most likely file a court case and ask the court for a formal finding by the preponderance of the evidence that the accused perpetrator did, in fact, abuse...
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Do I Need an Attorney in My South Carolina DSS Case?

South Carolina Supreme Court I'm often asked if a party to a Department of Social Services case needs an attorney. Sometimes, they have even been told they don't need an attorney by the guardian ad litem ("GAL") or someone else. I strongly disagree with this bad advice. In May of 2013, the South Carolina Supreme Court declined to overturn the termination of parental rights ("TPR") of a mother who had been denied legal counsel. The TPR involved a child who was in the...
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Is the Identity of Someone Reporting Child Abuse in South Carolina Confidential?

police responding to child abuse The identity of the person making a report of  suspected child abuse or neglect to any agency, such as law enforcement or DSS, must be kept confidential by the agency receiving the report and may only be disclosed in special circumstances. These include:

   1.  When the department refers a report to a law enforcement agency for a criminal investigation, the department must inform the law enforcement agency of the identity of the person who reported the child...

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South Carolina DSS Doesn’t Always Get it Right!

South Carolina DSS-Not always right The South Carolina Department of Social Services ("DSS") isn't always right. There are at least 97 separate South Carolina code sections directly related to child protection and permanency.  This does not include code sections and regulations governing ancillary matters, such as health related issues. Consequently, DSS does not always get it right. Rest assured your case is not necessarily hopeless. Case in point:  South Carolina Department of Social Services v. Randy S., et al, 390 S.C. 100, 700 S.E.2d...
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What Options Does DSS Have?

Child South Carolina Department of Social Services has three options once it finds probable cause to believe that a child has been abused or neglected. First, in a relatively minor infraction, such as excessive corporal punishment, it can offer in-home services without court involvement by way of a safety plan.  The safety plan is essentially a contract between DSS and the parents whereby the parents agree to comply with a treatment plan, and DSS allows the children to remain in the home.  The safety...
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Department of Social Services is Knocking on My Door!

Girl outsideWhat do you do when Child Protective Services comes knocking at your door? First of all, assess your position. Remain reasonable and calm, and know that anything you say or do may later be used to either help or harm you. Less talk and more listening may be best course of action until you have legal representation. You should know what has been alleged against you. South Carolina Code Section 62-7-20 delineates those requirements. “Child abuse or neglect" or "harm" occurs when the parent, guardian, or...
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What Does the Department of Social Services Do?

uncertaintyThe South Carolina Department of Social Services ("DSS") does not always remove an abused or neglected child from her parents. The goal is to protect the child from further abuse or neglect and to remedy any physical, emotional or psychological harm the child may have suffered.  Maybe the threat can be removed, instead. DSS is not a therapeutic agency, and has no qualified treatment professionals on its staff.  Instead, remedial and therapeutic services are provided through community resources.  DSS will make a...
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