Weekly Recap from the SC State House
It was a quieter than usual week with the House on furlough. Legislators will return to Columbia on Tuesday, May 14. The Senate is expected to begin work on the FY 2013-2014 budget beginning Monday at 1 p.m. Senate Finance Chairman Senate Hugh K. Leatherman, R-Florence, has asked members of the Senate to be prepared to begin early and stay late this week to finish the budget by week’s end.
Senate Education Committee met with a full agenda on Wednesday, May 8. With a handful of amendments and more expected as bills are debated on the Senate floor, the Committee passed out favorably on the following legislation we reported in last week’s edition.
- Student Athlete Concussions. H. 3024, sponsored by Rep. Peter M. McCoy, Jr., R-Charleston, would require school districts to develop policies for how student athletes with a suspected concussion are evaluated and the process by which they are cleared by a health care provider to return to play. There are currently 47 states that have passed concussion legislation to protect student athletes from life threatening injuries resulting from (often multiple) concussions.
- CPR Training for High School Students. S. 160, sponsored by Sen. Gerald Malloy, D-Darlington, would provide training for all high school students on how to perform cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and how to use an automated external defibrillator (AED). Similar legislation has been introduced in Georgia, and other neighboring states, like North Carolina and Alabama, have already passed laws to train high school students in CPR.
- EpiPen Use. H. 3725, sponsored by Rep. Josh Putnam, R-Anderson, would allow schools to keep epinephrine auto-injectors, or EpiPens, on school grounds and use them if a child has a life threatening allergic reaction. Many children who have these allergies (often to bees or other stinging insects) are unaware of their allergies, and the use of an EpiPen could save their life.
- 4-K Statewide. Sponsored by Sen. Vincent Sheheen, D-Kershaw, S. 134, would expand 4-K statewide for at-risk children. If legislation were passed, more than 40,000 four-year old children would be eligible. Cost is estimated to be $80 – 120 million. Currently, $26 million has been included the Senate’s version of the state budget as a starting point for expanding full day 4-K this coming year.
- SC Read to Succeed Act. S. 516, sponsored by Sen. Harvey Peeler, R- Cherokee, is a comprehensive, systemic approach to reading that involves teachers, parents and students with a focus on third-grade reading proficiency. Modeled after a similar program in Florida, the bill also provides summer reading camps for third graders that score low on year end reading testing. If approved, approximately 3,000 students would be eligible for camp. The summer programs would more than $1.5 million in funding from the state budget.
Authors and researchers of the Longitudinal Studies Consortium on Child Abuse and Neglect (LONGSCAN) study presented their findings at a Capitol Hill briefing on May 3. The study, started more than two decades ago, included 1,350 children, their teachers and caretakers in five different geographic areas across the country. Through support of Administration on Children and Families’ Office on Child Abuse and Neglect, the study found some particularly interesting results:
- Children at risk of abuse and neglect can be identified as early as infancy based on psychosocial risk factors in the family unit.
- While neglect is more difficult to identify than physical abuse in children four years and younger, neglect is more likely than physical abuse to lead to aggression later in life.
- The overall impact of psychological maltreatment has been significantly under-appreciated for its impact on children
Recommendations include supporting more public health based approaches to preventing child maltreatment (including home visitation programs) and increased access to training and support around children’s mental health needs. Visit LONGSCAN for more information on this research.
May is Foster Care Month
President Obama issued a proclamation recognizing May as National Foster Care month. In a press release from the White House, the President remarked, “As a Nation, we have no task more important than ensuring our children grow up healthy and safe. This month, we recommit to giving them that critical support, and we recognize the foster parents and professionals who work every day to lift up the children in their care toward a bright, productive future.” To learn more about foster care in South Carolina, visit DSS Foster Care Services website.
Child Welfare News from Across the Country
California: Breaking the Foster Care Cycle. A state Senate bill aims to teach foster children about pregnancy prevention and help those who do get pregnant. Read the opinion article.
Oklahoma: Department of Human Services getting boost in funds for child care system. “Probably the largest portion of that funding will go towards hiring more child welfare case workers and that is something that we are in the process of doing right now,” DHS spokesperson Sheree Powell said. Read the story here.
Tracking SC Legislation That Affects Children
Want to keep track of all South Carolina legislation that affects children? Check out our new legislative tracking tool to view legislative reports. The tool updates daily in five child well-being categories: Health, Education and Early Childhood Development, Safety, Juvenile Justice, and Adoption and Foster Care. Bookmark the page to check on the most up-to-date status of legislation impacting (or affecting) children in South Carolina.
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Welcome! This weekly e-update provides information on S.C. legislation affecting children. We also highlight federal legislation and stories from other states that focus on child well-being. We encourage you to visit our website and take a look at our legislative agenda. You can also track legislation that we are following and find helpful resources, like county-by-county data from our KIDS COUNT page. We welcome your feedback on current content and future publications. Simply e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org, and let us know what’s on your mind. Thanks for reading!
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