Tag Archives: Child Protective Services

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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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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When Does the Department of Social Services Act?

child leaning on postIf the South Carolina Department of Social Services investigates a report of suspected child abuse or neglect, it may determine that the alleged abuser is not a parent, guardian, or other person responsible for the child's welfare. Recent reports in the Charleston Post and Courier illustrate this point.  An 18-year-old babysitter was charged criminally with homicide by child abuse in the death of a two-year-old in North Charleston, South Carolina, after a...
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When is DSS Removal of a Child Appropriate?

girl looking at ducks South Carolina DSS removal of a child is, many times, not in the best interests of the child.  Of course, a child who is being systematically physically or sexually abused should not remain in the care and custody of an abusive parent.  But what about an eight-year-old child from a low income family that is not getting proper nourishment or who is habitually absent from school without excuse? In an earlier post we asked “Is removal of the child called for...
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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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