Flow chart of how the response should work
Law will standardize response to child abuse allegations across the state
Last Thursday, Governor Henry McMaster held the ceremonial signing of S.229, the Child Abuse Response Protocol Act. The act establishes a statewide protocol to respond to child abuse cases.
The legislation requires law enforcement or child protective services to take a victim of suspected child abuse to one of South Carolina’s Child Advocacy Centers. Union County is served by the Children’s Advocacy Center of Spartanburg, Cherokee, and Union Counties at 100 Washington Place in Spartanburg.
At the center, a team of trained professionals will start the investigation and conduct a single interview specifically tailored to not retraumatize the child. After that, a team of medical professionals, law enforcement, child protective services, and other professionals will review the case and decide the best way to move forward. DSS Director Michael Leach said no matter where a child lives in the state, the abuse allegations will be handled in the same way.
At the end of the process, on the law enforcement side, the case will be presented to the solicitor’s office for charges or dismissal. On the child protective services side, the review can lead to the child being removed from the home, a case opened for services, or the case closed. On the Child Advocacy Center’s side, the child and family will receive mental health services, and a family advocate will work with the family to provide support as the case moves along.
A 13-member review committee appointed by the governor will review the protocol each year and provide updates as needed.