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Report suspected child abuse or neglect to the Department of Social Services (DSS) county office or the local law enforcement agency

Report suspected abuse and neglect

If you suspect a child is being harmed, reporting those suspicions to the S.C. Department of Social Services may protect him or her and get help for the family. Any concerned person can report suspicions of child abuse or neglect. Reporting your concerns is not making an accusation, rather, it is a request for an investigation and assessment to determine if help is needed.

Law enforcement officers can also file reports of potential abuse or neglect and ask DSS to investigate.


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Life-threatening emergency: Call 911

If a child is in a life-threatening emergency, please call 911

Mobile phone


Make a non-emergency referral 24-hours a day: 1-888-227-3487


Make non-emergency referrals online

S.C. DSS Online Referral System

Mandated reporters

Because of their profession, mandated reporters are required by South Carolina law to report any suspected abuse to the appropriate authorities. The Children’s Law Center at the University of South Carolina offers mandated reporter training.

  • Physicians, nurses, dentists, optometrists, medical examiners and their staff, emergency medical services professionals, allied health professionals and other medical professionals
  • Coroners and their staff
  • Mental health professionals
  • Substance abuse treatment staff
  • Members of the clergy, including Christian Science practitioners and religious healers (subject to laws governing privileged communication)
  • Clerical and nonclerical religious counselors who charge for services
  • School teachers, counselors, principals, assistant principals, and school attendance officers
  • Social or public assistance workers
  • Childcare workers in childcare centers or foster care facilities
  • Foster parents
  • Police or law enforcement officers
  • Juvenile justice workers
  • Funeral home directors, funeral home employees, and undertakers
  • Judges
  • Persons responsible for processing film
  • Computer technicians
  • Volunteer non-attorney guardians ad litem serving on behalf of the South Carolina Guardian ad Litem Program or Richland County CASA

Safe haven law

If a new parent is in crisis, a special prevention law is in place to help ensure that the infant is safety surrendered into the hands of caring professionals and not abandoned to what could be a dangerous situation.

A person who leaves a newborn up to 60 days old cannot be prosecuted for abandonment if he or she takes the unharmed baby to staff or an employee of a safe haven.

Safe havens are defined as a hospital or hospital outpatient facility, law enforcement agencies, fire stations, emergency medial services (EMS) stations or a house of worship during the time the church or synagogue is staffed.

This law is also known as Daniel's Law, named for a child abandoned and found alive in a landfill.

More on Daniel's Law