Legislative Agenda

Children’s Trust of South Carolina works to improve the lives of all children, especially those who are most vulnerable, by supporting and advancing policies at the state and federal level. Our primary focus is prevention, with an emphasis on early intervention in the areas of child maltreatment and safety.

Our Policy Priorities

Children’s Trust of South Carolina believes all children should have the opportunity to thrive in safe and nurturing environments.

To ensure this opportunity in South Carolina, we need to do everything we can to build a strong foundation of well-being for all our children. We can put policies in place to reduce the impact of toxic stress and prevent adverse childhood experiences (ACEs). When attention is paid to improving children’s environments, relationships and experiences early in life, the occurrence and severity of child maltreatment, injuries and stress-related diseases can be dramatically reduced.

We know that well-founded, data-driven policies can build resilience in our children and improve outcomes to create stronger communities and a better South Carolina.

  • Invest in Children’s Trust to provide quality support to local Safe Kids programs that deliver community outreach and awareness to prevent accidental injuries among children.
  • Promote legislation and policies that seek to prevent adverse childhood experiences and reduce the impact of toxic stress. ACEs are traumatic events that occur in a child’s life. ACEs include abuse, neglect, household dysfunction, bullying, discrimination and homelessness. There is a relationship between traumatic experiences as a child and negative health and well-being outcomes as an adult.
  • Support kinship caregivers so that families receive adequate resources and financial supports when they bring relative children into their home through informal arrangements as well as the child welfare system. These families often face barriers, including inability to access community supports, legal services, and financial supports for which they are eligible.

Well-founded, data-driven policies build resilience in our children and improve outcomes to create stronger communities and a better South Carolina.

According to the South Carolina Department of Social Services, there were

18,398

children in founded investigations of child maltreatment in state fiscal year 2015-2016.

National KIDS COUNT reports

57,000

South Carolina children living in kinship care during 2014-2016.

27%

(289,000) of South Carolina’s children live in poverty.

70,000

(56%) of 3- and 4- year olds are not enrolled in school.

62%

of South Carolinians report having experienced an adverse experience as a child.

85%

of South Carolinians install car seats incorrectly.

Early Childhood Common Agenda

In collaboration with child well-being advocates across South Carolina, Children’s Trust champions legislation through the Early Childhood Common Agenda, which promotes strong families and increased opportunity for children.

Advance policies that incorporate diverse perspectives and account for impact on communities of color to ensure equity for all South Carolina’s children.

  • Promote the use of racial equity impact assessments to determine the equity impact of early childhood legislation considered by the General Assembly.

Endorse tax credits that empower working families.

  • Promote the use of the Self-Sufficiency Standard for South Carolina to assess the human impact of economic legislation considered by the General Assembly.

Align early childhood services to increase accountability, quality and impact statewide.

  • Strengthen capacity and incentives for child care providers to participate in the state’s child care Quality Rating and Improvement System.
  • Allocate funds for additional training and technical assistance to support quality improvement at Family Child Care Homes.
  • Expand existing successful voluntary home visiting programs that support families with children from prenatal to age five.
  • Support and incentivize the inclusion of children with disabilities in high-quality early childhood programs.
  • Promote training in pre-suspension and pre-expulsion positive discipline techniques in early childhood programs.

Federal Policy Priorities

Federal programs investments, such as the work of Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting (MIECHV) program and Child Abuse Prevention Treatment Act (CAPTA), are making a positive difference in the lives of South Carolina’s children and families.

  • Home visiting is a proven early-intervention strategy that pairs new, volunteer families with home visitors who provide family-focused services throughout a child’s early years. The program offers services to expectant and post-partum parents and families of new babies. Children’s Trust is the South Carolina lead agency that coordinates the delivery of voluntary home visiting services through the MIECHV program.
  • Children’s Trust funds innovative programs in local communities, including evidence-based Positive Parenting Program (Triple P), that give parents practical strategies to create safe, nurturing environments through positive discipline. This work is federally funded through the Community-Based Child Abuse Prevention program in South Carolina.
  • Children’s Trust will also monitor budget appropriations and new legislation, which seeks to strengthen child abuse prevention efforts.

Download the 2017 Legislative Agenda (PDF)