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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

Who to Call

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.

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Department of Social Services

To report a potential case of child abuse or neglect, immediately contact the county Department of Social Services office where the child resides. Intake staff will assist the person making the report and assess the information provided to determine if an investigation is necessary. Local law enforcement offices can also file reports of potential abuse or neglect and ask DSS to investigate the case.

More from S.C. Department of Social Services

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Children’s Law Center

South Carolina established a system for the reporting and investigation of child abuse and neglect with passage of the Child Protection Act in 1977. This law has since been amended, but the primary purpose has remained constant: to safeguard the welfare and safety of children. Mandatory reporters play a key prevention role by identifying possible maltreatment and reporting their concerns to the agency responsible for investigation and intervention.

Mandated Reporter Guide

South Carolina Law

South Carolina Legislature, Title 63, South Carolina Children’s Code, Chapter 7, Child Protection and Permanency.

Read the S.C. Law

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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

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Mandated reporters

Because of their profession, mandated reporters are required by South Carolina law to report any suspected abuse to the appropriate authorities.

  • 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