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									                                   South Carolina General Assembly
                                       117th Session, 2007-2008

A288, R348, S980

STATUS INFORMATION

General Bill
Sponsors: Senator Lourie
Document Path: l:\council\bills\nbd\11882ac08.doc

Introduced in the Senate on January 10, 2008
Introduced in the House on April 30, 2008
Passed by the General Assembly on June 4, 2008
Governor's Action: June 11, 2008, Signed

Summary: Guardian ad litem program


HISTORY OF LEGISLATIVE ACTIONS

    Date     Body     Action Description with journal page number
 1/10/2008   Senate   Introduced and read first time SJ-3
 1/10/2008   Senate   Referred to Committee on Judiciary SJ-3
 1/15/2008   Senate   Referred to Subcommittee: Ritchie (ch), Rankin, Lourie, Scott, Ceips
 4/23/2008   Senate   Committee report: Favorable with amendment Judiciary SJ-17
 4/24/2008   Senate   Committee Amendment Adopted SJ-65
 4/24/2008   Senate   Read second time SJ-65
 4/29/2008   Senate   Read third time and sent to House SJ-52
 4/30/2008   House    Introduced and read first time HJ-4
 4/30/2008   House    Referred to Committee on Judiciary HJ-4
 5/28/2008   House    Recalled from Committee on Judiciary HJ-184
  6/3/2008   House    Read second time HJ-27
  6/4/2008   House    Read third time and enrolled HJ-52
  6/5/2008            Ratified R 348
 6/11/2008            Signed By Governor
 6/18/2008            Copies available
 6/18/2008            Effective date 06/11/08
 6/19/2008            Act No. 288


VERSIONS OF THIS BILL

1/10/2008
4/23/2008
4/24/2008
5/29/2008
(A288, R348, S980)

AN ACT TO AMEND SECTION 20-7-121, AS AMENDED, CODE
OF LAWS OF SOUTH CAROLINA, 1976, RELATING TO THE
CREATION, PURPOSE, AND ADMINISTRATION OF THE
SOUTH CAROLINA GUARDIAN AD LITEM PROGRAM, SO
AS TO PROVIDE THAT A COUNTY PROVIDING GUARDIAN
AD LITEM SERVICES ON THIS ACT’S EFFECTIVE DATE
MAY CONTINUE TO PROVIDE THESE SERVICES IF THE
COUNTY’S PROGRAM IS A MEMBER OF THE NATIONAL
COURT APPOINTED SPECIAL ADVOCATE ASSOCIATION
AND TO PROVIDE THAT SUCH PROGRAMS MUST COMPLY
WITH ALL STATE AND FEDERAL LAWS; TO AMEND
SECTIONS 20-7-126 AND 20-7-127, BOTH AS AMENDED,
RELATING, RESPECTIVELY, TO CONFIDENTIALITY OF
RECORDS AND IMMUNITY FROM LIABILITY, SO AS TO
FURTHER SPECIFY THAT THESE PROVISIONS APPLY TO
COUNTY GUARDIAN AD LITEM PROGRAMS; AND TO
AMEND SECTION 20-7-129, AS AMENDED, RELATING TO
FUNDING PROVIDED BY THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY FOR
THE SOUTH CAROLINA GUARDIAN AD LITEM PROGRAM,
SO AS TO PROVIDE THAT SUCH FUNDING MUST NOT BE
PROVIDED BY THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY FOR A COUNTY
GUARDIAN AD LITEM PROGRAM.

Be it enacted by the General Assembly of the State of South Carolina:

County guardian ad litem programs

SECTION 1. Section 20-7-121 of the 1976 Code, as last amended by
Act 450 of 1996, is further amended to read:

   “Section 20-7-121. (A) There is created the South Carolina
Guardian ad Litem Program to serve as a statewide system to provide
training and supervision to volunteers who serve as court-appointed
special advocates for children in abuse and neglect proceedings within
the family court, pursuant to Section 20-7-110. This program must be
administered by the Office of the Governor.
   (B) Notwithstanding the provisions of subsection (A), a county
providing the guardian ad litem services set forth in subsection (A)
prior to the effective date of this act may continue to provide such
services, provided the county guardian ad litem program is a member
of the National Court Appointed Special Advocate Association.
However, a county guardian ad litem program operating pursuant to
this subsection must comply with all state and federal laws, even if
compliance with state or federal laws would result in the violation of a
requirement for membership in the National Court Appointed Special
Advocate Association.”

Confidentiality applies to county guardian ad litem programs

SECTION 2. Section 20-7-126 of the 1976 Code, as last amended by
Act 450 of 1996, is further amended to read:

   “Section 20-7-126. (A) All reports and information collected
pursuant to this subarticle maintained by the South Carolina Guardian
ad Litem Program, or a county guardian ad litem program operating
pursuant to Section 20-7-121(B), are confidential except as provided
for in Section 20-7-690(C). A person who disseminates or permits the
unauthorized dissemination of the information is guilty of contempt of
court and, upon conviction, may be fined or imprisoned, or both,
pursuant to Section 20-7-1350.
   (B) The name, address, and other identifying characteristics of a
person named in a report determined to be judicially unfounded must
be destroyed one year from the date of the determination. The name,
address, and other identifying characteristics of any person named in a
report determined to be judicially indicated must be destroyed seven
years from the date that the guardian ad litem formally is relieved of
responsibility as guardian ad litem by the family court.
   (C) The director of the South Carolina Guardian ad Litem Program
or the director’s designee, or the chief administrator of a county
guardian ad litem program operating pursuant to Section 20-7-121(B),
may disclose to the media information contained in child protective
services records, if disclosure is limited to discussion of the program’s
activities in handling the case. The program may incorporate into its
discussion of the handling of the case any information placed in the
public domain by other public officials, a criminal prosecution, the
alleged perpetrator or the attorney for the alleged perpetrator, or other
public judicial proceedings. For purposes of this subsection,
information is considered ‘placed in the public domain’ when it has
been reported in the news media, is contained in public records of a
criminal justice agency, is contained in public records of a court of law,
or has been the subject of testimony in a public judicial proceeding.”




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Immunity from liability applies to court guardians ad litem

SECTION 3. Section 20-7-127 of the 1976 Code, as last amended by
Act 450 of 1996, is further amended to read:

   “Section 20-7-127. After participating in the training program of the
South Carolina Guardian ad Litem Program, or a county guardian ad
litem program operating pursuant to Section 20-7-121(B), a person who
is appointed to serve as guardian ad litem and serves without
compensation is not liable for any civil damages for any personal injury
as a result of any act or omission by the person in the discharge of the
responsibilities of a guardian ad litem if the person acts in good faith
and is not guilty of gross negligence.”

State funding not to be provided to county guardian ad litem
program

SECTION 4. Section 20-7-129 of the 1976 Code, as last amended by
Act 450 of 1996, is further amended to read:

  “Section 20-7-129. The General Assembly shall provide the funds
necessary for the South Carolina Guardian ad Litem Program to carry
out the provisions of Sections 20-7-121 through 20-7-127 and
20-7-690(B)(5). The General Assembly shall not provide any funding
for a county guardian ad litem program.”

Time effective

SECTION 5. This act takes effect upon approval by the Governor.

Ratified the 5th day of June, 2008.

Approved the 11th day of June, 2008.

                              __________




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