Prevent Child Abuse in South Carolina
What is child abuse and neglect in South Carolina?
Under South Carolina law, child abuse is any person under the age of 18 who is believed to have been harmed or at risk of harm by their parents, guardians, or other caregivers. This can be through physical abuse, neglect, sexual abuse, exposure to domestic violence, or emotional abuse.
According to the Child Welfare League of America, there were 17,071 victims of abuse or neglect in South Carolina in 2017, a rate of 15.5 per 1,000 children. Of these children, 56.6% were neglected, 54% were physically abused, and 4.9% were sexually abused.
Who is a mandated reporter according to SC state requirements?
South Carolina law requires the following professionals to be mandated reporters of child abuse or neglect:
- Healthcare professionals: physicians, nurses, dentists, optometrists, medical examiners or coroners or their employees, emergency medical services, mental health or allied health professionals
- Educational professionals: teachers, counselors, principals, school attendance officers
- Social or public assistance professionals: substance abuse treatment staff, childcare workers, foster parents
- Legal professionals: police or law enforcement officers, juvenile justice workers, volunteer non-attorney guardians ad litem serving on behalf of the South Carolina Guardian ad Litem program or on behalf of Richland County CASA, judges
- Undertakers, funeral home directors, or their employees
- Film processors
- Computer technicians
- Clergy, including Christian Science Practitioners or religious healers (subject to laws governing privileged communication)
A person who is required to report and fails to do so is guilty of a misdemeanor. Upon conviction, he or she may be fined up to $500 or imprisoned up to six months, or both.
The law encourages everyone, even if they are not a mandatory reporter, to report child abuse and neglect.
How do I report child abuse in South Carolina?
When the alleged perpetrator of the abuse or neglect is the child’s parent, guardian, or a person responsible for the child’s welfare, mandated reporters must report to the county DSS office or to Law Enforcement in the county where the child resides or is found.
When the alleged perpetrator of the abuse or neglect is not the child’s parent, guardian, or other person responsible for the child’s welfare, the law requires that a report be made to law enforcement.
To report suspected child abuse or neglect, contact the SCDSS 24/7 hotline at: 1-888-CARE4US or 1-888-227-3487. Reports can also be made online.
The Out of Home Abuse and Neglect Investigations unit (OHAN) investigates child abuse and neglect that occurs in foster care placements or at child care facilities. To report a case of child abuse or neglect that has occurred in one of these settings please call the 24/7 Children’s Helpline at: 1-800-645-9789.
How do I get free online child abuse training?
Use the code STAYSAFE to enroll in Creating Safe Environments for Organizations, a free online training class. Leaders in organizations use this free online course to explore child abuse prevention best practices and help prevent child abuse in South Carolina.
Looking for online child abuse training for individuals?
How do I contact the SC Department of Social Services?
Contact the South Carolina Department of Social Services
1535 Confederate Avenue
Columbia, SC 29201-1915
Disclaimer: Please ensure the information and courses meet requirements for your organization and circumstances and align with what your state Department of Social Services requires. The state requirements and child abuse and human trafficking statistics listed on this page are current as of May 13th, 2021 to meet the best information available. State requirements may change and it is your responsibility to know your state mandated reporter requirements and the process for online child abuse prevention training. Compass Child Protection Training can not guarantee acceptance by your school, organization, or state Department of Social Services. If there is a child abuse emergency, call 911 immediately.