South Carolina Department of Social Services has been an agency that has maintained allegations of misconduct and corruption in the media for several years now. The latest is its allowance of letting Foster Parents override all legal standards. Foster Parents seem to have been given the power by SCDSS to override Parental Rights in many cases, and have been allowed to set the requirements parents must meet to be reunited with their children.
In several, DSS cases in South Carolina parents are only given 2 hours a month of visitation with their children at DSS offices (this is including many Domestic Violence Victims). But it would seem the foster caregivers are being allowed to cancel these visitations if it does not suit them.
Foster Parents are listed on the SCDSS page as “Foster parents are special people who recognize the special needs of children living in a troubled family.
With an investment of time, energy, love, and guidance, foster parents can make a difference in the lives of the children and families in need.
Individuals or couples can be licensed as foster parents. Foster parents receive financial reimbursement to meet the basic needs of the children. Children in the legal custody of DSS may also be placed with relatives that can provide full-time care (kinship foster care), protection, and nurturing. Relatives who become foster parents may access the same services for children as non-relative foster parents.”
And not surprisingly to anyone these “caring” individuals get compensated financially for their “care” of children in need. How much do you ask? Well, that question is easily answered on the DSS Website:
These payment amounts are per child within those particular age groups. Everyone who has ever dealt with the Department of Social Services has come to realize the financial gain aspects for both DSS and Foster Parents. To add to this in several cases parents are also ordered to pay child support to these foster parents on top of the payments they receive from the state.
For several years here in South Carolina dozens of civil rights groups and parental groups have demanded change to this financially motivated system that persists and is not in the “BEST INTEREST OF THE CHILD”.
Changes that have been asked for such as more intense training for caseworkers and investigators, and more educational background on issues of children (including psychological and emotional), have been ignored by state legislators. An example for comparison here is in Ireland all caseworkers are required to carry a seven-year degree in social services pertaining to children. While here in South Carolina well qualified applicants for Child Welfare Case Managers positions will minimally possess a Bachelor of Social Work degree, a Behavioral Science or Social Science discipline. Alternatively, applicants should possess a Bachelor’s degree in any other discipline and have at least one (1) year of experience in a field related to Child Welfare or Human Services case management.
To place this in lamens terms Social Workes may have a Bachelor’s Degree in Linguistic Arts (which has nothing to do with children) as long as they have some sort of experience such as volunteering at a homeless shelter for a year.
In many cases, Foster Parents are allowed to determine without a Court Order if the children in their care are allowed to speak with their parents and for how long. They are even allowed to determine what information the parents are allowed to access, such as school records and in some cases even the child’s medical records. These parents under South Carolina Law have the right to this information as the biological parents. The more serious fact is that SCDSS does not enforce or ensure these laws for biological parents.
There are many foster parents who truly have the child’s best interest at heart and do not ask for payment or reimbursement for caring for a child. But sadly these individuals are few in the system.
Many children in the foster care system could have been returned to their biological parents long ago, but are kept in the system due to the financial gain that the state makes from them. The system is willing to pay a non-biological individual to care for children when that money could go to the biological parents to aid them with the care of their children. And in Domestic Violence cases, that money could be used to aid the victims and their children to start a better life.