Program and Services
Core Programs and Services
Unless otherwise noted, these programs and services are administered through our county offices.
DSS considers adoptions for children who are unable to return home or be placed with relatives. Adoption services include assessement of children, recruitment of adoptive families and placement of children in adoptive homes. DSS also offers services to birth parents who are considering adoption for their child or children. Post-adoption services exist for adoptive families, adult adoptees and birth families. A large number of children available for adoption are older, black or racially mixed, have physical or emotional handicaps or are members of sibling groups.
The Division of Adult Protective Services protects the health and welfare of elderly and disabled adults. Adult Protective Services are provided to individuals who are 18 years of age or older and are victims of actual or potential abuse, neglect, or exploitation. This mistreatment may be caused by others or self-inflicted. DSS is authorized, by the Omnibus Adult Protection Act of the South Carolina Code of Laws, to investigate all reports and provide services. Services are provided to meet the adults' basic needs and to ensure their safety.
It is a long time between lunchtime at school and suppertime. The Afterschool Snack Program provides kids a nutritional boost at organized enrichment programs in low-income areas. Children get more out of their activities when they have a snack, and DSS reimburses the programs for the food they serve.
Each day more than 2.6 million children participate in the CACFP at day care homes and centers across the country. Providers are reimbursed for serving nutritious meals which meet USDA requirements. The program plays a vital role in improving the quality of day care and making it more affordable for low-income families.
The Division of Child Care Services is an administrative structure for the child care related services and programs provided by and coordinated through the South Carolina Department of Social Services.
Child Protective and Preventive Services receives and assesses or investigates reports of child abuse and neglect. These services, provided or coordinated by DSS, are designed to maintain children safely in their own homes when possible, reunite the family as soon as possible or place the children with relatives or in foster care, when necessary. Reports of suspected abuse or neglect should be made to the county DSS office.
Unfortunately, many non-custodial parents do not live up to their financial responsibilities to their children and do not pay their child support. State and Federal laws have given the Family Court and the Child Support Enforcement Division (CSED) of the South Carolina Department of Social Services a number of methods to enforce a child support order.
Daniel's Law is designed to provide a safe haven or abandoned babies. It is named for an infant boy who survived after being buried in a landfill soon after his birth.
DSS seeks to prevent or reduce family violence and to ensure emergency shelter and related assistance to victims of domestic abuse. The agency contracts with shelters and counseling programs to address the needs of victims of domestic abuse and their abusers.
EBT (Electronice Benefits Transfer) is the method South Carolina uses to issue Food Stamps.
The Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) Retailer Resource site (maintained by JPMorgan EFS) consolidates merchant related information, provides answers to many frequently asked questions, quickly accesses related EBT Web sites, and accesses downloadable documents commonly used for maintaining EBT service.
Emergency shelters that house and feed homeless children and their parents or guardians get help with their food budgets through the Emergency Shelters Food Program. Up to three meals a day can be reimbursed for children who live in nonprofit or public shelters.
DSS recognizes that we cannot meet all the needs of our clients and communities. The faith-based initiative is our effort to match individuals and faith based institutions who feel called to serve their neighbor with people who need help.
The South Carolina Department of Social Services is committed to helping people build better lives. Because of the changes in the welfare laws, DSS has become an agency that focuses on employment and training for its clients while maintaining its commitment to ensuring the well-being of the children and families it serves.
The Family Nutrition Programs of the South Carolina Department of Social Services all have one special goal -- making it possible for every single South Carolinian to have adequate, nourishing food every single day. We have a wide range of nutrition programs that reach thousands of families who need some assistance making ends meet. We often work through schools, churches, daycare centers, recreation centers, and other agencies to provide meals and snacks. Some of our programs are listed below. To learn whether your family qualifies to receive assistance, or whether your organization could be a provider, click on the name of the program.
For over 30 years, the Food Stamp Program has served as the foundation of America's national nutrition safety net, working to end hunger and improve the health of low-income people by helping families buy the food they need for a nutritionally adequate diet. In South Carolina over 100,000 households depend on the Food Stamp Program each month to get the food they need for good health.
Foster care provides temporary services for children removed from their families because of abuse, neglect or exploitation by a parent or guardian. DSS seeks to license foster care providers who can best meet the individual needs of children. Whenever possible, DSS places the child close to home and in the most family like setting available. In South Carolina, about two-thirds of foster children live in foster family homes, and the rest live in group care and institutional settings. If the child cannot be reunified with family or placed with relatives, permanency may be brought about be termination of parental rights, adoption and independent living.
DSS is mandated to license, register or approve foster family homes, 24-hour residential group homes and child placing agencies. The licensing staff seeks to ensure compliance with standards established by law and regulations in order to protect and supervise children in out-of-home care, provided by both the private and public sectors.
Independent Living is defined as an array of services provided to adolescents ages 13 to 21. The purpose of the Independent Living program is to provide the developmental skills necessary for foster adolescents to live healthy, productive, self-sufficient and responsible adult lives. The program's overall goal is to provide foster adolescents with opportunities to learn needed independent living skills and increase the likelihood of their successful transition from the foster care system.
South Carolina is a member of the Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children, also known as ICPC. The purpose of the compact is to assure that children moved from one state to another in their adoptive or foster care placements receive an appropriate level of care in the new placements.
DSS is mandated by law to investigate reports of the abuse and neglect of children who reside in or receive care or supervision in residential institutions, foster homes and child care facilities. To make a report to the Out-of-Home Abuse and Neglect Investigations Unit, call (803) 898-7318 or 1-800-999-6710 (access code 9945729).
Many children depend on meals at school for the nutrition they need to learn and grow. Their need for good food doesn't end when school gets out. The Summer Food Service Program meets this need by offering free meals and snacks to kids in low-income areas during the months they're on vacation.