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									                          South Carolina
                 Children’s Justice Act Task Force

                       Three-Year Report
                      May 2009 – April 2012


I.     Introduction …………………………………………………………………………… 2

       A. CJA Background ………………………………………………………..…………. 2

       B. Overview of S.C. CJA Task Force …………………………………….………… 3

       C. 2009 Assessment ……………………………………..………………………….. 4


II.    Selected Accomplishments ………………………………………...……………… 5


III.   Review of Recommendations …………………………………….……………… 10


Attachments

       A. Task Force Members …………………………………………………..……….. 23
       B. Bylaws …………………………………………………………………….………. 25




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                                        I. Introduction
A. CJA Background1

The Children’s Justice Act (CJA) provides grants to states to improve the investigation,
prosecution, and judicial handling of cases of child abuse and neglect, particularly child
sexual abuse and exploitation, in a manner that limits additional trauma to the child
victim. This also includes the handling of child fatality cases in which child abuse or
neglect is suspected and some cases of children with disabilities and serious health
problems who also are victims of abuse and neglect.

Since Fiscal Year 2000, $17 million in CJA funds have been made available annually for
distribution to states and territories. States must apply for the funds and meet certain
eligibility requirements, including receipt of the Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment
Act (CAPTA) State Grant and establishment of a CJA Task Force as outlined in the
legislation. Funds are allocated in the amount of $50,000 per state, plus an additional
amount based on the population of children under 18 years of age in the applicant’s
jurisdiction. Funding comes from the Crime Victims’ Fund, which collects fines and fees
charged to persons convicted of federal crimes. The Fund is administered by the U.S.
Department of Justice, Office of Victims of Crime, and the grants are awarded by the
Administration on Children, Youth, and Families, U.S. Department of Health and Human
Services, as outlined in Section 107 of CAPTA, as amended by the Keeping Children
and Families Safe Act of 2003.

To be eligible for CJA funds, states must be eligible for the CAPTA basic state grant
and are required to establish and maintain a multidisciplinary task force on children’s
justice. The task force is to be comprised of representatives from selected disciplines
involved in handling child abuse and neglect cases. The task force makes policy and
training recommendations regarding methods to better handle these cases, with the
expectation that it will result in reduced trauma to the child victim and the victim’s family,
while ensuring fairness to the accused.

Every three years after the initial award, the state task force is required by legislation to
conduct a comprehensive evaluation of the state’s systems related to the investigative,
administrative, and judicial handling of child abuse, neglect, and exploitation cases and
child maltreatment -related fatalities, and make recommendations for improvements to
those systems.

The governor in each state designates the agency to administer CJA funds. In South
Carolina, the Department of Social Services has been designated the state’s grantee.



1
 The following information was taken from the website of the U.S. Department of Health and Human
Services, Administration for Children & Families,
www.acf.hhs.gov/programs/cb/programs_fund/state_tribal/justice_act.

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B. Overview of S.C. CJA Task Force

South Carolina has maintained an active Children’s Justice Act Task Force since 1994.
The purpose and activities of the Task Force, as defined by its bylaws and federal
statute, are as follow:

      To conduct an assessment of the state’s systems responding to abused and
       neglected children at three-year intervals;
      To adopt recommendations in each of the CJA categories;
      To work towards implementation of these recommendations;
      To recommend to the state’s grantee (S.C. Department of Social Services)
       projects to be supported by the CJA grant funds; and
      To express positions on legislation or state policy issues, consistent with its
       mission and recommendations.

The CJA Task Force is governed by bylaws, which were adopted in 1998 and most
recently revised on April 15, 2011. In accordance with the bylaws, the Task Force meets
at least quarterly. Standing committees are formed every three years to coincide with
adoption of recommendations. Each committee meets as needed, at least quarterly, to
follow through implementation of the recommendations adopted by the Task Force.
Nearly all members serve on a committee.

The Task Force is self-perpetuating, through an election process held every three
years. Current members propose new members to the Nominating Committee, which
prepares a slate of nominees, ensuring multi-disciplinary and diverse membership. New
members are elected for three-year terms by a majority vote of the Task Force. Officers
include a Chair and Vice-Chair, who are also elected by the Task Force.

Election of members for the 2006-09 period was completed in December 2005.
Several members resigned during the period, and vacancies were filled by appointment
of the Chair as necessary to maintain appropriate representation. The Task Force has
twenty-eight members, reflecting all required disciplines. Attachment A includes a list
of members with their designations.

Tana Vanderbilt, an attorney, is the Task Force Chairperson, and Valerie Williams, a
law enforcement officer, is the Vice-Chair. Two committees merged during this period,
resulting in three standing committees: (1) Child Protection/ Family Court; (2)
Prosecution; and (3) Legislative. Louise Cooper, the Director of the South Carolina
Guardian ad Litem Program, and Pam Robinson, an attorney for children, are co-chairs
of the Child Protection/Family Court Committee. Brenda Brisbin, a prosecutor, is the
chair of the Prosecution Committee. The chairperson of the Legislative Committee is
Beebe James, a retired professional who previously served as coordinator of the
Network of Children’s Advocacy Centers and Director of Prevent Child Abuse South
Carolina.


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As directed by the Task Force, the Department of Social Services established a contract
with the Children’s Law Center, School of Law, University of South Carolina, to
implement the CJA grant. The Children’s Law Center provided staff support to the Task
Force, including logistical arrangements for meetings and research activities. The
Children’s Law Center carried out the training recommendations of the Task Force and
assigned a staff person to each committee to assist with implementation of policy
recommendations.

C. 2009 Assessment

In January 2009, the Task Force initiated a review and assessment of the state’s
systems that respond to abused and neglected children. The first step in the
assessment process was to review existing reports relevant to CJA. The Task Force
divided into three groups to study the following reports:

      Child and Family Services Review reports
      Program Improvement Plan, S.C. DSS
      Citizen Review Panel Report
      Kids Count
      Foster Care Review Board Annual Report
      Joint Guardian ad Litem Study Committee Report
      Arrest and Disposition Data, and
      Child Fatality Annual Report.

Task Force members were also asked to discuss issues with their colleagues to gain
additional input.

The Task Force held a work session on February 20, 2009, to discuss the information
obtained and determine the needs appropriate for the Task Force to address.
Committees were also formed at this meeting and were assigned certain issues to
further develop.

The three committees worked independently during the month of March 2009 to define
the issues further and to formulate recommendations. The proposed recommendations
from all committees were compiled and distributed to the Task Force for review.

At the Task Force meeting on April 24, 2009, committees met separately to review their
proposed recommendations, discuss action steps, and to assign time frames for
implementation. A spokesperson for each committee presented its recommendations to
the full group. After additional discussion and modification, the Task Force adopted
recommendations for the upcoming three year period. Progress on the implementation
of each of these recommendations is described in Section III. In Section II, selected
accomplishments are highlighted.




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                                 II. Accomplishments
This section describes selected accomplishments of the South Carolina CJA Task
Force.

A. Training

The Task Force recommended a range of training programs to improve the state’s
handling of child abuse and neglect cases. Several of these programs are described in
this section.

      Forensic Interviewing Training

CJA funds have been used to develop and operate a statewide forensic interviewing
training program which began in 2001 as Finding Words South Carolina, now known as
Child First. The Children’s Law Center administers this ongoing training program in
partnership with the Assessment and Resource Center (ARC) of the S.C. Department of
Mental Health. The ARC is the Children’s Advocacy Center of Richland County.

This intensive, practical training program is provided for frontline forensic interviewers.
Three or four week-long sessions are held each year. Participants must complete
advance reading assignments, attend the entire week of training, participate in mock
interviews, and pass an end of course test. Initial attendees from each county must
participate as a multi-disciplinary team.

From March 2001 through April 2012, 859 professionals have successfully completed
this training program. Participants primarily include children’s advocacy center
interviewers, law enforcement officers, child protection workers, and prosecutors. In
addition to having good representation of disciplines, this program has reached into
nearly all geographic regions of the state. Teams from 37 of the state’s 46 counties
have attended, with both urban and rural regions represented. Moreover, at least one
team has attended from 15 of the 16 judicial circuits in the state.

Because this course is conducted on a regular, ongoing basis, it is having a dramatic
impact on the investigation of child abuse. Evaluations are consistently very positive,
and follow-up surveys demonstrate that graduates of this course are applying the
interviewing techniques learned and that skills have significantly improved.

      Training on Investigation of Child Homicides

A full day training event was sponsored by the CJA Task Force at the annual South
Carolina Coroners’ Association Conference on June 25, 2010, and consisted of three
blocks of instruction: 1) Crime Scene Processing for Child-Related Investigations, 2)
Overcoming Challenges in Child Fatality Prosecutions, and 3) Pediatric Forensic
Pathology. The conference also featured presentations by the South Carolina Law
Enforcement Division and the Charleston County Coroner, both of which addressed the

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investigations of child fatalities. The conference also included a session on interrogation
of perpetrators. It was a result of this coordination that led to the Richland County
Coroner, Gary Watts, being asked to join the Task Force.

      Training on Resources for Interviewing Child Victims

Beginning June 22, 2010 the CJA Task Force, in collaboration with the Children’s
Advocacy Center, sponsored six half day regional training events for law enforcement
officers and child abuse investigators on resources for interviewing child victims of
abuse. This training was designed to provide participants with an understanding of the
following: the statutory requirements of agency cooperation in response to reports of
child abuse; the need for coordinated investigations of child abuse; the multi-disciplinary
team (MDT) concept and how to effectively participate in an MDT; forensic interviews
and the role of the forensic interview in child abuse investigations; the need for
corroboration of evidence obtained during forensic interviews in child abuse
investigations. This was a free event with course approval for 3.25 hours of Continuing
Law Enforcement Education credit for law enforcement officers. There were ninety
attendees with an overall evaluation of 4.46 on a scale 5. The events were as followed:

              June 22, 2010: Durant Center, Florence
              August 31, 2010: Myrtle Beach Police Department
              September 8, 2010: Foothills CAC, Anderson
              September 30, 2010: Hope Haven, Beaufort
              September (TBD), 2010: Child’s Place, Greenwood
              November 16, 2010: Edisto Children’s Center, Orangeburg

A local CAC forensic interviewer and law enforcement officer conducted the session in
their area. The presenters used the information packet to develop their training, which
they modified to suit each location’s individual needs. A total of 90 professionals
attended this training series. The evaluations averaged 4.45 on a scale where 5 was the
highest score and feedback was positive.

The Joining Hands to Protect Children Conference provided an example of how this
training might be conducted. A forensic interviewer of the Spartanburg CAC and an
investigator of the Spartanburg County Sheriff’s Office presented a session which
exemplified in the context of specific cases effective coordination between CAC forensic
interviews and law enforcement. One hundred forty multidisciplinary professionals
attended this conference on April 13, 2010. It was sponsored by the South Carolina
Network of Children’s Advocacy Centers and co-sponsored by the Children’s Law
Center. The evaluations indicated the presentation was the best received of the
conference. Comments specifically pointed out the effectiveness of addressing MDT
coordination in the context of actual cases. The anticipated impact of this training is
improved coordination between CACs and law enforcement, leading to interviews that
more effectively assist investigations and investigations that better corroborate
interviews.



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      Training for Professionals Who Work with Children Who Have Disabilities

 During the initial three-year cycle in which abused children with disabilities were a focus
area (May 2009 – April 2012), the Task Force conducted several activities to further
explore the issue and began to offer specialized training programs through the
Children’s Law Center.

An online survey was developed and made available on the Children’s Law Center’s
website and sent via e-mail to a variety of agencies. A total of 114 responses were
received, which was fewer than anticipated. Thirty-five counties and a variety of
organizations were represented, although over half of the respondents were affiliated
with the same type of organization (guardian ad litem programs). The biggest
challenges respondents saw to effectively responding to abuse cases involving children
with disabilities included lack of familiarity with special issues, lack of training, and lack
of support for unusual cases.

Eighty-eight percent of respondents felt that they needed more training. The following
topics were recommended:

   •      recognizing abuse and neglect in children with disabilities
   •      specific disabilities
   •      interviewing and identifying special needs
   •      identifying resources and procedures to get services in place
   •      ability to differentiate whether abuse caused a disability or vice versa
   •      the effects of disabilities
   •      medical neglect

        Three regional roundtable sessions were held in the fall of 2012. Each session
was designed to include a cross-section of practitioners, including as many of the
following disciplines as possible: disability professionals; educators; law enforcement
officers; prosecutors; private attorneys; medical professionals; mental health
professionals; children’s advocacy center representatives; guardians ad litem; child
protection caseworkers; and DSS attorneys.

        The Children’s Law Center engaged a group facilitator to assist with the
roundtable sessions. Participants discussed strengths and weaknesses of assessment,
investigation, and court processing for abuse and neglect cases involving children with
disabilities. Concepts were captured on flip charts, and participants voted on priority
areas. The results were analyzed by process and by subject area. The roundtables
yielded two primary findings. First, improvements in general practice related to child
maltreatment will particularly benefit children with disabilities. Coordination among
agencies was frequently mentioned as an area needing improvement. Second,
participants repeatedly emphasized the need for specialized training on working with
children who have disabilities.




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      The Children’s Law Center developed several types of training programs upon
the Task Force’s recommendations.

(1)   A training-of-trainers session was conducted for disabilities professionals on
      recognizing and reporting child maltreatment. The training focused on the risk
      factors especially relevant to children with disabilities; indicators of maltreatment
      and distinguishing these indicators from effects of disabilities; special issues
      related to children with communication difficulty; and the role and responsibilities
      of mandated reporters. The “Training of Trainers” model also included practice
      teaching sessions, and participants received complete training materials,
      including a power point on DVD, which they can use to present training to their
      colleagues.

(2)   Four regional one-day sessions were held for professionals who work with
      abused and neglected children on the identification of disabilities, modifications in
      intervention methods, and resources available. The morning session began with
      an overview of disabilities, including suggestions for interacting with children. The
      remainder of the morning session focused on investigation, interviewing, and the
      court processing of abuse and neglect cases involving children with disabilities.
      The afternoon session addressed intervention needs and services available,
      including a resource fair of statewide and regional service organizations. A total
      of over 500 professionals participated, including DSS child protective services
      workers, law enforcement officers, guardians ad litem, DSS attorneys, assistant
      solicitors, mental health staff, therapeutic foster care providers, group home staff,
      and staff of residential treatment facilities.

(3)   The Task Force surveyed Children’s Advocacy Center interviewers, and found
      that they also felt additional training and resources were needed. Training on
      interviewing children with disabilities was offered during the bi-annual Advanced
      Child First session April 16-18, 2012. Anne Lukas Miller of Corner House
      conducted sessions on interviewing children with autism spectrum disorder and
      children with developmental disabilities.

(4)   The Children’s Law Center, in collaboration with the Task Force, developed an
      online training module “Mandatory Reporting of Child Abuse and Neglect When
      the Child Has Special Needs”. In addition to general indicators and reporting
      responsibilities, the module includes information on issues affecting children with
      disabilities that may increase the risk of maltreatment and reduce the likelihood
      of disclosure. The training will be available free of charge and will provide one
      hour of professional continuing education credit. Due to pending legislation that
      might change the mandated reporting statute, the Children’s Law Center will wait
      until the conclusion of the legislation session (June 7,2012) to post the training
      module on its website.

     All of these training programs were received well, reinforcing the interest in
expanded training in this area.


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      Training and Services for Solicitors Prosecuting Abusive Head Trauma

The Task Force recommended training for prosecutors on the investigation and
prosecution of fatal child maltreatment cases, particularly homicides caused by abusive
head trauma. The CJA Task Force Prosecution Committee coordinated with the
Commission on Prosecution Coordination to develop the training on prosecution of
abusive head trauma. The training was held on June 24, 2011. Thirty-five prosecutors
and law enforcement officers from throughout the state attended this training.
Presenters included Ms. Bonnie Armstrong, director of the National Shaken Baby
Alliance. The goal of this training was to improve the prosecutorial handling of fatal child
maltreatment cases.


B. Support the S.C. Network of Children’s Advocacy Centers

The Network provides a range of services to its member centers, including training
opportunities and the establishment of guidelines for certain areas of practice. The
Network also, with assistance from the Children’s Law Center and other organizations,
annually hosts the Joining Hands to Protect Children Workshop and Luncheon.

CJA funds have continued to be used to provide in-kind support to the Network. The
Children’s Law Center provides office space for the Executive Director, including a
separate office, basic office furniture, day-to-day supplies, telephone and Internet
access, a computer and accessories, and access to a copier and fax machine. Parking
and access to a conference room are provided. Additionally, the Children’s Law Center
offers limited administrative support for meeting arrangements and special functions.
The Children’s Law Center assists the Network and individual Centers by collaborating
on training programs and providing legal information and materials. The Children’s Law
Center co-sponsored the Network’s seventh annual conference, Joining Hands to
Protect Children, held on April 13, 2010 with 150 attendees. The ongoing Child First
forensic interviewing course is sponsored by the Children’s Law Center in partnership
with the Assessment and Resource Center, which is the Children’s Advocacy Center of
Richland County. The Children’s Law Center’s Assistant Director also serves on the
board of a local developing Children’s Advocacy Center.

The CAC Network has experienced recent leadership changes year. The Executive
Director’s position was vacant for several months, but a new Director was hired effective
May 1, 2011. A new Board Chairperson was also elected.

The Children’s Advocacy Center approach is widely believed to significantly improve the
investigative handling of child abuse cases. This assistance and support is having the
desired results as Children’s Advocacy Centers continue to progress. Seventeen
Centers served 6,936 children in 2011, and all of the state’s forty-six counties have
access to a Center.



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In 2011, the South Carolina Network of Children’s Advocacy Centers received full
Chapter Accreditation for the first time. This accreditation will be for five years.
Currently, there are thirteen centers which are fully accredited through the National
Children’s Alliance. The Network has been able to support local training events in 2011
and 2012, including the annual Sara Schuh Child Abuse Conference and Advance Child
First with scholarships and partial funding. In addition, plans underway for the first
Children’s Advocacy Day to be held on May 23, 2012 at the South Carolina Statehouse.
This is to be an annual event supported by the South Carolina Attorney General’s office.


C. Operation of the Children’s Law Center

The Children’s Law Center was established in 1995 upon recommendation of the Task
Force to establish an interdisciplinary training and resource facility. The Children’s Law
Center has continued to provide staff support to the Task Force and serves as its
training arm. The Children’s Law Center, administered by the University of South
Carolina School of Law, is a model program that works to improve the quality of child
abuse and neglect proceedings, thereby leading to better outcomes for children. The
mission and functions of the Children’s Law Center parallel the CJA goals of improving
investigative and judicial handling of child abuse and neglect cases and enhancing the
effectiveness of court-appointed attorneys and guardians ad litem. Activities focus on
enhancing the knowledge and skills of the professionals involved in investigation,
prosecution, and child protection proceedings.

Children’s Justice Act funds are complemented by other funding sources to provide an
array of supportive services to a broad range of professionals. The Center offers a
variety of training programs on child maltreatment to child protection caseworkers,
family court staff, guardians ad litem, law enforcement officers, prosecutors, and other
child serving professionals. The Center trains persons who are mandated by law to
report suspected child abuse, and administers the Child First (previously Finding
Words) forensic interviewing course.

The Children’s Law Center is able to access other funding sources to complement CJA
funds, thus providing a comprehensive array of services. The Center offers a variety of
training programs on child maltreatment to child protection caseworkers, family court
staff, guardians ad litem, law enforcement officers, prosecutors, and other child serving
professionals. The Center trains persons who are mandated by law to report suspected
child abuse and neglect.

CJA funds are used to assist with the delivery of Child First, a comprehensive training
program on forensic interviewing of children. Three one-week basic sessions were held
during the past year, and one two-day refresher course was conducted. This course has
been offered on a regular basis to child protection workers, children’s advocacy center
interviewers, law enforcement officers, and prosecutors. End of course and follow-up
evaluations, along with feedback from prosecutors, indicate that it is significantly
improving the quality of forensic interviews.


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The annual Children’s Law Conference was held on November 4, 2011. Plenary and
break-out sessions focused on the theme of childhood trauma and the search for
positive outcomes. Judge Michael Howard presented the morning keynote on the
importance of working across systems’ lines to achieve better outcomes for children.
Two hundred sixty-five multi-disciplinary professionals attended the conference and
rated its overall value as 4.4 on a scale of 1 to 5.

The Center prepares and distributes resource materials on child protection and
prosecution. A manual on the investigation and prosecution of child abuse was revised
this year to include new developments in statutory and case law.

The Center maintains a website containing online publications, training information,
other resources, and links to related organizations. Hits to the website continually
increase; it receives between 4,000 and 5,000 unique visitors in a typical month. The
Center also responds to individual requests for information and technical assistance
from professionals in the field.


D. Expansion of Professionals Mandated to Report Suspected Child Abuse

The Task Force had previously recommended that certain professionals be added to
the list of those required to report cases of suspected child abuse or neglect. Legislation
was introduced in 2009 and was enacted in the 2010 session. Although the bill was
amended, it substantially accomplished the goals of the Task Force. The amendment
added the following to the list of persons required to report suspected child abuse or
neglect: school attendance officers, foster parents, juvenile justice workers, and non-
attorney volunteer guardians ad litem serving on behalf of the South Carolina GAL
Program or Richland County CASA. The amendment also includes a phrase
encouraging (not just allowing) other people to report.




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                        III. Review of Recommendations
This section reviews all of the recommendations that the Task Force adopted in 2009,
noting accomplishments or progress toward implementation.

Category I. Investigative, administrative, and judicial handling of cases of child
abuse and neglect, particularly child sexual abuse and exploitation, as well as
cases involving suspected child maltreatment related fatalities and cases
involving a potential combination of jurisdictions, such as interstate, federal-
state, and state-tribal, in a manner which reduces the additional trauma to the
child victim and the victim’s family and which also ensures procedural fairness to
the accused.

A. Training Recommendations

I.A.1. Provide regional training for coroners and law enforcement officers on the
investigation and prosecution of fatal child maltreatment cases, particularly homicides
caused by abusive head trauma. Topics will include: the importance of a rapid and
coordinated response; death scene investigation, including signs, indicators and
information collection; evidence collection and processing; witness interviews and
suspect interrogations; and the requirements of the South Carolina child fatality review
process.

Accomplished. The Task Force recommended that regional training be provided to
coroners and law enforcement officers on the investigation and prosecution of fatal child
maltreatment cases. The Children’s Law Center, in collaboration with the Prosecution
Committee of the Task Force, worked to develop training curriculum and identify
trainers. The training was held on June 25, 2010.This full day of training was held in
conjunction with the South Carolina Coroners’ Association’s Annual Conference. The
session included three blocks of instruction: investigation of crime scene, legal issues
in prosecution of fatal child maltreatment cases, and pediatric forensic pathology.
Presenters include a pathologist, law enforcement investigator, and a prosecutor. Also
include a session on the interrogation of perpetrators. The ultimate goal was a
systematic training program that could be repeated as needed to improve the
investigative and prosecution of child fatalities.

I.A.2. Provide training for solicitors on the investigation and prosecution of fatal child
maltreatment cases, particularly homicides caused by abusive head trauma. Topics will
include the importance of coordinated investigative efforts, medical-legal issues,
evidentiary issues, trial strategies, and anticipating defenses.

Substantial progress. The Children’s Law Center and the CJA Task Force Prosecution
Committee’s collaborated with the Commission on Prosecution Coordination to develop
the training agenda for solicitors on the investigation and prosecution of fatal child
maltreatment cases the training which was held on June 24, 2011. Thirty-five
prosecutors and law enforcement officers from throughout the state attended this

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training. The goal of this training was to improve the prosecutorial handling of fatal child
maltreatment cases.

I.A.3.Provide training for law enforcement officers and child abuse investigators on
resources for interviewing child victims of abuse, including physical abuse and sexual
abuse, in a multidisciplinary team context. Topics will include: initial interviews of child
victims; identification of need for forensic interview of child victims; referral of children
for forensic interviews; collaboration of forensic interview results through evidence
collection; and coordination of investigative efforts through participation in
multidisciplinary teams, including children’s advocacy centers.

Accomplished. The Task Force recommended that training be developed for law
enforcement officers and child abuse investigators on resources for interviewing child
victims of abuse in a multidisciplinary team context.

The Joining Hands to Protect Children Conference provided an example of how this
training should be conducted. A forensic interviewer of the Spartanburg CAC and an
investigator of the Spartanburg County Sheriff’s Office presented a session which
exemplified in the context of specific cases effective coordination between CAC forensic
interviews and law enforcement. One hundred forty multidisciplinary professionals
attended this conference on April 13, 2010. It was sponsored by the South Carolina
Network of Children’s Advocacy Centers and co-sponsored by the Children’s Law
Center. The evaluations indicated the presentation was the best received of the
conference. Comments specifically pointed out the effectiveness of addressing MDT
coordination in the context of actual cases. The anticipated impact of this training was
improving coordination between CACs and law enforcement, leading to interviews that
more effectively assist investigations and investigations that better corroborate
interviews.

Regional training sessions for interviewing child victims of abuse were held in
collaboration with Children’s Advocacy Centers (CAC) as follows:

              June 22, 2010: Durant Center, Florence
              August 31, 2010: Myrtle Beach Police Department
              September 8, 2010: Foothills CAC, Anderson
              September 30, 2010: Hope Haven, Beaufort
              September (TBD), 2010: Child’s Place, Greenwood
              November 16, 2010: Edisto Children’s Center, Orangeburg

A local CAC forensic interviewer and law enforcement officer conducted the session in
their area. The presenters used the information packet to develop their training,
modified it to suit each location’s individual needs.


CJA funds continue to operate a statewide forensic interviewing training program which
began in 2001 as Finding Words South Carolina, now known as Child First. The


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Children’s Law Center administers this ongoing training program in partnership with the
Assessment and Resource Center (ARC) of the South Carolina Department of Mental
Health. The ARC is the Children’s Advocacy Recovery Center of Richland County.

From March 2009 through April 2012, one hundred forty-five (145) professionals have
successfully completed the five-day basic training program. In addition, ninety-nine( 99)
attendees have completed the two-day advance refresher course. Participants primarily
include children’s advocacy center interviewers, child protection works, law enforcement
officers, and prosecutors. Because this course is conducted on a regular basis, it is
having a dramatic impact on the investigation of child abuse. Evaluations are
consistently very positive and follow-up surveys demonstrate that graduates of this
course are applying techniques learned and that skills are improving.

I.A.4. Provide investigative protocol training for county multi-disciplinary teams,
including initial training for new teams and updates for teams that previously completed
training. Topics will address the roles and responsibilities of member agencies and
professionals, and will include the identification and handling of cases involving children
who have disabilities.

Incomplete. The Prosecution Committee, with the efforts of the Children’s Law Center,
began developing the training curriculum and identifying possible trainers for
investigative protocol training. In the midst of the planning stage, training resources
were placed on hold due to budget reductions. However, the Children’s Law Center has
obtained increased funding and is in the process of hiring a Child Welfare Trainer who
will spearhead the team training. The Prosecution Committee will provide guidance to
simulate training comparable to the two day protocol training held in February 2008. The
February 2008 training began a three-phase multi-disciplinary training program with
sessions continuing over a three month period. Response to the 2008 training was
favorable with approximately 100 professionals in attendance.

I.A.5. Provide ongoing training for DSS attorneys on docket management and methods
for expediting cases.

Ongoing. The Task Force recommended that training be provided to DSS attorneys on
docket management and methods for expediting cases. (Recommendation I.A.5) In an
effort to improve the efficient handling of cases, the Children’s Law Center assisted
DSS and the Bench Bar Committee in developing a Best Legal Practices Guide. The
Child Protection Committee reviewed earlier drafts of the Guide and offered
suggestions. The strategies incorporated into this Guide are designed to expedite
permanency and improve the overall efficiency of cases. DSS and the courts are
implementing the strategies statewide.

Court Administration, with support from the Children’s Law Center, held a Mini Summit
on Justice for Children December 2, 2010 for DSS attorneys, DSS county directors, and
family court judges. This one day event included sessions on docket management and



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the impact of delayed permanency on children. Additionally, each circuit developed an
action plan for addressing delayed merits and permanency planning hearings.

I.A.6. Add segment on handling child protection cases at “Bridge the Gap” for new law
graduates and admittees to the South Carolina Bar.

Alternative Accomplished. The Task Force recommended that a segment on handling
appointments in child protection cases be included in the Bridge the Gap course, which
is required for new law graduates and admittees to the South Carolina Bar. This three-
day course is offered four times each year. The Chairperson of the Task Force’s Child
Protection Committee contacted the South Carolina Bar to request involvement in this
program. Although the Children’s Law Center has not yet been successful in
incorporating a segment into the course, we were able to informally provide information
to attendees on services available to them in handling court appointments in child
protection cases.

The Children’s Law Center Court Improvement attorney will continue to attend Bridge
the Gap sessions, setting up a display and providing materials to new law graduates
and attorneys newly admitted to the South Carolina Bar.

I.A.7.Develop an online training for attorneys appointed in family court child abuse and
neglect cases.

Accomplished. The Task Force recommended (I.A.7.) the development of online
training for attorneys appointed to family court child abuse and neglect cases. In
collaboration with the Task Force’s Child Protection Committee, a Children’s Law
Center attorney began preparing materials for online training on appointment as the
guardian ad litem for a child. Although South Carolina has an active volunteer guardian
ad litem program, volunteers historically have not been available in all cases and
attorneys have been appointed to fill this role.

In December 2009, however, the South Carolina Supreme Court amended the court
rule governing appointments to end the practice of appointing attorneys a guardians ad
litem effective July 1, 2010. The planned training is thus no longer needed. The Task
Force suggested, as an alternative, the development of an online training for attorneys
appointed to represent parents in child protection cases. The Children’s Law Center has
developed the online training, which will improve the quality of representation of
parents. The effective representation of all parties in child protection proceedings leads
to better outcome for children. This training module has been finalized and will be
accessible for use on the Children’s Law Center website prior to July 1, 2012.


I.A.8. Provide specialized training for professionals who work with children who have
disabilities on the identification of maltreatment and mandated reporting responsibilities.
These professionals may include, for example, special education teachers, Head Start
staff, local disability board staff, and early interventionists


                                            15
Accomplished. In early 2009, the Task Force increased the number of members who
are experienced in working with children with disabilities. These members will assist in
developing ongoing training programs to improve the handling of cases of children who
have disabilities and are abused.

The Children’s Law Center developed several types of training programs upon the Task
Force’s recommendations.

      (1) A training-of-trainers session was conducted in March 2011 for disabilities
      professionals on recognizing and reporting child maltreatment. The training
      focused on the risk factors especially relevant to children with disabilities;
      indicators of maltreatment and distinguishing these indicators from effects of
      disabilities; special issues related to children with communication difficulty; and
      the role and responsibilities of mandated reporters. The “Training of Trainers”
      model also included practice teaching sessions, and participants received
      complete training materials, including a power point on DVD, which they can use
      to present training to their colleagues.

      (2) The Task Force surveyed Children’s Advocacy Center interviewers, and
      found that they also felt additional training and resources were needed. Training
      on interviewing children with disabilities was offered during the bi-annual
      Advanced Child First session April 16-18, 2012. Anne Lukas Miller of Corner
      House conducted sessions on interviewing children with autism spectrum
      disorder and children with developmental disabilities.

      (3) The Children’s Law Center, in collaboration with the Task Force, developed
      an online training module “Mandatory Reporting of Child Abuse and Neglect
      When the Child Has Special Needs”. In addition to general indicators and
      reporting responsibilities, the module includes information on issues affecting
      children with disabilities that may increase the risk of maltreatment and reduce
      the likelihood of disclosure. The training will be available free of charge and will
      provide one hour of professional continuing education credit. Due to pending
      legislation that might change the mandated reporting statute, the Children’s Law
      Center will wait until the conclusion of the legislation session (June 7,2012) to
      post the training module on its website.

All of these training programs were received well, reinforcing the interest in expanded
training in this area.


I.A.9. Add segment to online mandated reporter training to address issues related to
maltreatment among children who have disabilities.

Accomplished. The Children’s Law Center, in collaboration with the Task Force,
developed an online training module “Mandatory Reporting of Child Abuse and Neglect


                                            16
When the Child Has Special Needs”. In addition to general indicators and reporting
responsibilities, the module includes information on issues affecting children with
disabilities that may increase the risk of maltreatment and reduce the likelihood of
disclosure. The training will be available free of charge and will provide one hour of
professional continuing education credit. Due to pending legislation that might change
the mandated reporting statute, the Children’s Law Center will wait until the conclusion
of the legislation session (June 7,2012) to post the training module on its website.


I.A.10. Provide training for professionals who work with abused and neglected children
on the identification of disabilities, modifications in intervention methods, and resources
available.

Accomplished. On the Task Force’s recommendations, the Children’s Law Center
developed four regional one-day sessions for professionals who work with abused and
neglected children on the identification of disabilities, modifications in intervention
methods, and resources available. The morning session began with an overview of
disabilities, including suggestions for interacting with children. The remainder of the
morning session focused on investigation, interviewing, and court processing of abuse
and neglect cases involving children with disabilities. The afternoon session addressed
intervention needs and services available, including a resource fair of statewide and
regional service organizations. A total of over 500 professionals participated, including
DSS child protective services workers, law enforcement officers, guardians ad litem,
DSS attorneys, assistant solicitors, mental health staff, therapeutic foster care
providers, group home staff, and staff of residential treatment facilities.

B. Recommendations for Resource Development

I.B.1. Develop statewide referral resources for forensic interviewers involved in the
investigation of abused children who have English as a second language. Referral
resources will include information on interpreters, information on service organizations
and agencies which assist children with English as a second language, and information
on training for forensic interviewers who interview children with English as a second
language.

Substantial Progress. The Immigrant Victims Assistance Coalition has developed an
extensive list of written and training resources and plans to list these resources on the
South Carolina Victims Assistance Network. In addition, the Coalition is compiling a list
of interpreters to make available on the South Carolina Victims Assistance Network.
The Coalition has worked closely with the South Carolina Department of Social Services
on services to abused immigrant children, including consideration of the legal case
management system and the needs of immigrant children.

The Children’s Law Center staff participated in a full day CLE on February 28, 2011 in
Columbia, South Carolina, to cross-train professionals in immigration law, family law,



                                            17
criminal law, victim’s rights, and public benefits. The Victims Assistance Coalition efforts
continue to be supported by the Children’s Law Center.


I.B.2. Develop statewide resources for forensic interviewers involved in the
investigation of abused children who have disabilities which interfere with their ability to
communicate. Resources will include information on accommodations, referral
information for interpreters or highly specialized interviewers, information on service
organizations and agencies which assist children who have disabilities, and information
on specialized training for forensic interviewers who interview children who have
disabilities. CJA will explore methods for accessing or developing specialized, intensive
training on interviewing children who have disabilities

Substantial progress. The Children’s Law Center, after surveying Children’s Advocacy
Center interviewers, is developing a brief resource guide for interviewing children with
disabilities. The guide will include brief descriptions of common disabilities, highlighting
their effects on communication, and information on resources. Strategies for
interviewing will be reprinted from the New York State Office of Children and Families’
website “Child Abuse and Children with Disabilities”. Permission to reprint has been
received. Because New York is in the process of updating the strategies for
interviewing, we will wait for the revisions before printing the guide. The revisions are
expected by July 2012, and the guide will be provided to Children’s Advocacy Centers.

Training on interviewing children with disabilities was offered during the bi-annual
Advanced Child First session April 16-18, 2012. Anne Lukas Miller of Corner House
conducted sessions on interviewing children with autism spectrum disorder and children
with developmental disabilities. Fifty-two experienced interviewers attended this training
and rated these sessions above-average in relevance and usefulness of the
presentations. The Children’s Law Center will continue to seek opportunities to provide
training on issues related to interviewing children with disabilities, coordinating with
Corner House when possible because most South Carolina interviewers utilize the
RATAC model which Corner House developed.

I.B.3.Prepare and disseminate a report on child maltreatment among children who have
disabilities in South Carolina. The report will include: (1) introductory information about
this overlap and projected underreporting; (2) a summary of available state data
indicating incidence; and (3) results of a series of surveys on the responsiveness of the
state’s systems to reports of abuse involving children who have disabilities

Accomplished. The Children’s Law Center, in collaboration with the Task Force,
prepared a brief report on child maltreatment with disabilities and is disseminating it to
the leadership of related organizations and via website. The report includes findings of
the roundtable sessions (see III.7.) and an online survey on the responsiveness of the
state’s systems to reports of abuse involving children who have disabilities. The report
emphasizes the need for specialized training for child protection professionals on
working with children with disabilities


                                             18
Category II. Experimental, model and demonstration programs for testing
innovative approaches and techniques which may improve the prompt and
successful resolution of civil and criminal court proceedings or enhance the
effectiveness of judicial and administrative action in child abuse and neglect
cases, particularly child sexual abuse and exploitation cases, including the
enhancement of performance of court-appointed attorneys and guardians ad
litem for children, and which also ensure procedural fairness to the accused.

II.1. Develop and implement a rapid response team pilot program within one judicial
circuit for rapid and coordinated response to incidents of serious physical abuse of
children and of sexual abuse of children. Developing and implementing the program will
include: identifying and training team members within one judicial circuit; implementing
the rapid response team within one judicial circuit; developing memorandums of
understanding and operating protocols in support of the team; developing an
information-gathering process for the program and analyzing information collected
during the conduct of the program; and making recommendations for implementing
rapid response teams in other judicial circuits.

Accomplished. The Task Force recommended the development and implementation of
a rapid response team pilot program within one judicial circuit for rapid and coordinated
response to incidents of serious child physical abuse and sexual abuse.
(Recommendation II.1.) The Prosecution Committee reviewed a draft protocol and
began working to implement the program in the Fourth Judicial Circuit. Unfortunately,
after several meetings, it was determined that the pilot program could not be effectively
implemented in that circuit. The Task Force then suggested the Ninth Judicial Circuit,
comprising Charleston and Berkeley Counties, and began efforts to coordinate with
agencies there. The Lowcountry Children’s Center, the Ninth Circuit Solicitor’s Office,
four law enforcement agencies, and two county Department of Social Services offices
all agreed to participate in the pilot program.

A meeting was held in May 2010, to coordinate procedures and fine tune the protocol.
The program began on September 1, 2010. The Prosecution Committee has reviewed
the progress of the rapid response pilot since its inception. Several issues reduced the
effectiveness of the pilot. First, the definition of severe injury that qualified a case for
inclusion in the pilot was too restrictive. As a consequence of that definition, the pilot did
not include sufficient cases to meaningfully assess response time. Second, data
gathering was difficult due to both records privacy concerns and to changes in
employees of agencies participating in the pilot. Those changes included both DSS
employees and law enforcement officers.

Despite the lack of more complete data, the rapid response pilot afforded participants
from a variety of disciplines the opportunity to work together under a protocol that called
for close coordination during the investigation of severe child abuse. The pilot also
highlighted the effectiveness of the Suspected Child Abuse and Neglect (SCAN) team


                                             19
at MUSC in the overall effort to coordinate the investigation of severe child abuse within
the SCAN team’s jurisdiction. The Task Force may wish to consider another pilot using
a wider range of child abuse and considering other aspects of child abuse
investigations.

II.2. Support development of a South Carolina Immigrant Victims Assistance Network by
the South Carolina Victim Assistance Network through assisting the network in
providing written resources and training for professionals serving immigrant children
who are victims of violent crime, including but not limited to sexual assault, child abuse
or neglect, abandonment, and human trafficking. Resources and training will include
pathways to legalization for abused, undocumented children

Accomplished. The Task Force recommended (II.2.) that assistance be provided to the
South Carolina Victims Assistance Network in developing an Immigrant Victims
Assistance Network. The Task Force will assist the Network in providing written
resources and training for professionals serving immigrant children who are victims of
violent crime, including child abuse. The goal is to improve the state’s response to
immigrant children who are abused. The Immigrant Victims Assistance Network has
been established and its Executive Director, Patricia S. Ravenhorst, presented to the
Task Force at its July 16, 2010 meeting. The Network’s priority is serving immigrant
children in foster care.

A Children’s Law Center Resource Attorney has attended quarterly meetings of the
Immigrant Victims Assistance Coalition. Their working group on child abuse identified
the need for information on Special Immigrant Juvenile Status. The Children’s Law
Center, in collaboration with the Task Force members, prepared a Guide to Special
Immigrant Juvenile Status, which has provided various professional groups and is
available online. See Guide in Attachment 5.

The Immigrant Victims Assistance Coalition has developed an extensive list of written
and training resources and plans to list these resources on the South Carolina Victims
Assistance Network. In addition, the Coalition is compiling a list of interpreters to make
available on the South Carolina Victims Assistance Network. The Coalition has worked
closely with the South Carolina Department of Social Services on services to abused
immigrant children, including consideration of the legal case management system and
the needs of immigrant children.

The Children’s Law Center staff participated in a full day CLE on February 28, 2011 in
Columbia, South Carolina, to cross-train professionals in immigration law, family law,
criminal law, victim’s rights, and public benefits. The Victims Assistance Coalition efforts
continue to be supported by the Children’s Law Center.

II.3. Support growth of the Children’s Advocacy Centers in South Carolina by providing
assistance to the South Carolina Network of Children’s Advocacy Centers.




                                             20
In process. The Task Force promotes growth of Children’s Advocacy Centers in South
Carolina by supporting the Network, which is the state’s chapter. The Children’s Law
Center provides office space for the Network’s Executive Director, including a computer,
telephone and Internet access, daily supplies, use of office equipment, and access to
meeting rooms. Through CJA funds, the Children’s Law Center also provides limited
administrative support on a continuing basis.

The CAC Network has experienced some leadership changes. The Executive Director’s
position was vacant for several months, but a new Director was hired effective May 1,
2011.The Network’s Director is an active participant on the Task Force appointed by the
Network’s Board Chairperson. A new Board Chairperson was also elected.

Seventeen Centers served 6,936 children in 2011, and all of the state’s forty-six
counties have access to a Center. In 2011, the South Carolina Network of Children’s
Advocacy Centers received full Chapter Accreditation for the first time. This
accreditation will be for five years. Currently, there are thirteen centers which are fully
accredited through the National Children’s Alliance. The Network has been able to
support local training events in 2011 and 2012, including the annual Sara Schuh Child
Abuse Conference and Advance Child First with scholarships and partial funding. There
are plans underway for the first Children’s Advocacy Day to be held on May 23, 2012 at
the South Carolina Statehouse. This is to be an annual event.


II.4. Support statewide implementation of the Model Administrative Order/Community
Protocol for Coordination of Family Court Child Protection and Criminal Child Abuse
Proceedings.

Accomplished. Pilot projects were initiated, and one county (Aiken) continues to
effectively implement the protocol. DSS county attorneys and representatives from the
solicitor’s office in Aiken conducted training sessions on the protocol at the multi-
disciplinary team training in February 2008 and at the annual children’s law conference
in October 2008. Based on input from the Aiken County team, minor revisions were
made in the protocol. The Chief Justice issued an administrative order approving
statewide implementation on April 29, 2009.

II.5 Monitor and gather information on use of mediation in child protection cases
throughout the state.

Accomplished. The Task Force has obtained information and monitored implementation
of mediation in child protection cases in the state, in response to Recommendation II.5.
Judge Lisa Kinon spoke to the Task Force at its October 15, 2010 meeting on the pilot
project she initiated in Horry County. Judge Kinon reported that they have seen positive
outcomes, with cases reaching agreement more quickly and parties more satisfied. Pilot
programs have been implemented in two other counties. Expansion is on hold while the
South Carolina Supreme Court considers rules for mediation. No further action is
indicated by the Task Force at this time.


                                            21
II.6. Operate the Children’s Law Center, a training and information resource center for
professionals involved in child maltreatment proceedings. The Children’s Law Center is
responsible for implementing the training recommendations in collaboration with the
Task Force, and for providing research and logistical support to the Task Force.

Ongoing. The Children’s Law Center was established upon the recommendation of the
Task Force and continues to function as its staff support and training arm. The
University of South Carolina’s School of Law administers the Children’s Law Center as
a model program to enhance the knowledge and skills of all professionals involved in
child abuse and neglect proceedings, leading to better outcomes for children. The
mission and functions of the Children’s Law Center reflect the CJA goals of improving
investigative and judicial handling of child abuse and neglect cases and enhancing the
effectiveness of court-appointed attorneys and guardians ad litem.

The Children’s Law Center is able to access other funding sources to complement CJA
funds, thus providing a comprehensive array of services. The Center offers a variety of
training programs on child maltreatment to child protection caseworkers, family court
staff, guardians ad litem, law enforcement officers, prosecutors, and other child serving
professionals. The Center trains persons who are mandated by law to report suspected
child abuse and neglect.

CJA funds are used to assist with the delivery of Child First, a comprehensive training
program on forensic interviewing of children. Three one-week basic sessions were held
during the past year, and one two-day refresher course was conducted. This course has
been offered on a regular basis to child protection workers, children’s advocacy center
interviewers, law enforcement officers, and prosecutors. End of course and follow-up
evaluations, along with feedback from prosecutors, indicate that it is significantly
improving the quality of forensic interviews.

The annual Children’s Law Conference was held on November 4, 2011. Plenary and
break-out sessions focused on the theme of childhood trauma and the search for
positive outcomes. Judge Michael Howard presented the morning keynote on the
importance of working across systems’ lines to achieve better outcomes for children.
Two hundred sixty-five multi-disciplinary professionals attended the conference and
rated its overall value as 4.4 on a scale of 1 to 5.

The Center prepares and distributes resource materials on child protection and
prosecution. A manual on the investigation and prosecution of child abuse was revised
this year to include new developments in statutory and case law.

The Center maintains a website containing online publications, training information,
other resources, and links to related organizations. Hits to the website continually
increase; it receives between 4,000 and 5,000 unique visitors in a typical month. The
Center also responds to individual requests for information and technical assistance
from professionals in the field.


                                           22
Category III. Reform of state laws, ordinances, regulations, protocols and
procedures to provide comprehensive protection for children from abuse,
particularly sexual abuse and exploitation, while ensuring fairness to all affected
persons.


III.1. Study, develop and support a certification standard for professionals who asses
and/or treat child sex offenders in South Carolina.

Deferred. This is a recommendation continued from the 2006 – 2009 cycle. Based on
comments from the entire task force at its April 25, 2008, meeting, a working group was
formed to consider developing a certification standard for sex offender assessment and
treatment providers. The working group consists of: Dr. Gregg Dwyer (USC School of
Medicine); Dr. Marge Loewer (SCDJJ); Dr. Deborah Reyes (task force member); Bill
Burke (private practitioner); Melanie Hendricks SCDMH); and Jan Giesen (SCDJJ).

Extensive research and study was completed. Task Force decided not to pursue
legislation implementing certification.The working group met three times (most recently
on November 12, 2009). The working group drafted a proposed sex offender
assessment and treatment provider certification statute which was provide to the Task
Force for review. At its July 2010 meeting, the Task Force discussed the proposed
standard and determined how best to address the issue. The purpose of the proposed
standard is to increase the court system’s ability to rely on evaluations and to order
treatment that better protects children. Following the discussion on the proposed
standard, it was determined that pursuit of the statute to establish certification would not
be successful at this time. Task Force determined that pursuit of statute to establish
certification would not be successful.


III.2. Study South Carolina criminal statutes prohibiting conduct directed at child victims,
including but not limited to homicide by child abuse, and study appropriateness of
statutorily prescribed sentences, including but not limited to whether a statute should be
amended to prohibit suspension of all or part of a sentence. Following study and
drafting of statutory amendments deemed necessary, propose and support statutory
amendments.

 Carried Forward: The CJA Task Force recommended a study of South Carolina’s
criminal statutes relating to child victims, including the homicide by child abuse statute,
to consider whether amendments are needed to prohibit suspension of all or part of a
sentence. The Task Force’s objective is to ensure consistency in statutorily prescribed
sentences for homicides by child abuse and egregious cases. Consistency in
sentencing would improve the court’s handling of these few but most serious cases.




                                             23
The Prosecution Committee has researched applicable statutes and preliminarily
identified code sections to be amended. The Task Force continues to pursue statutory
amendment to align criminal sexual conduct with a minor statute with lewd acts statute
(H. 3667). The Prosecution Committee and the Task Force continue to monitor need for
legislation in the area of child abuse and neglect.


III.3. Assist DSS upon request with the assessment process in preparation for the 2009
Child and Family Service Review and related planning efforts. Discuss the findings of
the review, and assist or offer suggestions as needed on development of action plans
for improvement. Monitor implementation of program improvement plan to identify
further needs for training, resource development, reforms, or other tasks relevant to
CJA.

Ongoing. Task Force members have remained informed of child welfare goals and
progress on the program improvement plan. The court liaison project launched by the
Children’s Law Center in 2011 will greatly contribute to the DSS Program Improvement
Plan to improve permanency outcomes of children in the foster care system. Court
liaisons expedite the legal processing of child protection and termination of parental
rights cases. They assist the court by tracking cases and resolving issues that may
cause delays. Court liaisons assist in identifying systemic issues that contribute to
delays, provide feedback to chief administrative judges and lead DSS attorneys, and
identify training needs for various parties.


III.4. Continue to monitor implementation of court improvement initiatives and offer
support or additional recommendations as appropriate.

Ongoing. The Children’s Law Center’s Court Improvement Attorney, who implements
the Court Improvement Training Grant, regularly participates in Task Force meetings
and utilizes input from the Child Protection Committee in developing programs. For
example, the online training for parents’ attorneys was developed with significant input
from the Child Protection Committee. The Children’s Law Center assisted Court
Administration and DSS in sponsoring a Mini Summit on Justice for Children on
December 2, 2010, which included information on docket management. The Director of
Court Administration is a member of the Task Force. Task Force members remain
aware of activities of the Court Improvement Program.


III.5. Pursue implementation of one hour Continuing Legal Education (CLE) requirement
for all attorneys on child abuse and neglect (to be included in the 14 hours currently
required).

Deferred The Child Protection Committee’s Chairperson contacted the state’s
Commission on Continuing Legal Education and Specialization regarding the Task



                                           24
Force’s recommendation that all attorneys be required to attend one hour of continuing
education on child abuse and neglect each year. The Commission did not believe
that such a requirement would be realistic. The Task Force has deferred this
recommendation at this time, but has continued to explore alternatives.

To pursue the intent of training attorneys in child abuse and neglect, the Children’s Law
Center offered the Recognizing and Reporting Child Abuse and Neglect CLE regionally
in 2009, 2010 and 2011. Fifteen trainings were held regionally during this period. The
Children’s Law Conference, sponsored by the Children’s Law Center, offers CLE hours
related to child maltreatment. An average of 25 attorneys attends the annual one-day
conferences. Additionally, the Children’s Law Center continues to offer CLEs for GAL
Program Attorneys and parents’ attorneys through the Court Improvement Training
Project.

In addition to the training sessions conducted, a senior resource attorney at the
Children’s Law Center updated the 374 page publication Prosecution of Child Abuse in
South Carolina: A Manual for Prosecutors and Investigators in 2011. This resource is
available on the Children’s Law Center website.


III.6. Support funding for the Children’s Advocacy Medical Response System. CJA Task
Force is committed to the support, development, and continuation of services for
abused and neglected children; children should be highest priority even in difficult times.

 Accomplished. In 2009, the South Carolina General Assembly allocated recurring state
funds within the University of South Carolina annual budget to support the delivery of
statewide child abuse and neglect medical services by clinicians qualified by the South
Carolina Children’s Advocacy Medical Response System to provide such
services.


III.7. Sponsor a roundtable session involving professionals who work in child protection
and those who work with children who have disabilities to identify needed policy and
procedure reforms that will improve the state’s systemic response to these children.

Accomplished. The Children with Disabilities Committee, with support from the
Children’s Law Center, sponsored three regional roundtable sessions involving
professionals who work in child protection and those who work with children who have
disabilities. The roundtable events were held between September 30, 2011, and
October 28, 2011. Participants were selected based on prior involvement in related
training programs or were identified by agency directors. Each session was designed to
include a cross-section of practitioners, including as many of the following disciplines as
possible: disability professionals; educators; law enforcement officers; prosecutors;
private attorneys; medical professionals; mental health professionals; children’s
advocacy center representatives; guardians ad litem; child protection caseworkers; and
DSS attorneys.


                                            25
The Children’s Law Center engaged a consultant to facilitate the sessions. Each
session began with a brief overview of the overlap of disabilities and abuse. Participants
then discussed strengths and weaknesses of assessment, investigation, and court
processing for abuse and neglect cases involving children with disabilities. Concepts
were captured on flip charts, and participants voted on priority areas. The results were
analyzed by process and by subject area. The roundtables yielded two primary findings.
First, improvements in general practice related to child maltreatment will particularly
benefit children with disabilities. Coordination among agencies was frequently
mentioned as an area needing improvement. Second, participants repeatedly
emphasized the need for specialized training on working with children who have
disabilities. The roundtables did not produce any specific recommendations for policy
changes.


III.8. Monitor the ongoing implementation of South Carolina’s protocol for children
exposed to methamphetamine production and policy development related to child
protection cases that involve parental substance abuse. Offer support or additional
recommendations as appropriate.

Substantial progress. The protocol was completed in 2005 and endorsed by state level
representatives of law enforcement, child protection, and medical response
organizations. The protocol was disseminated through these organizations and
continues to be available on the Children’s Law Center website. Training has been
conducted through a series of conferences sponsored by the Methamphetamine Action
Group of the Governor’s Council on Substance Abuse, and through in-house training by
the Department of Social Services. The Children’s Law Center has recently
incorporated the meth protocol into training provided to law enforcement officers.

Task Force representatives met with the Governor’s Council on Substance Abuse in
December of 2006, and the Council agreed to the formation of a state chapter of the
National Drug Endangered Alliance through the Meth Action Group. The plan was for
the state chapter to assume ongoing responsibility for monitoring implementation of the
protocol, modifying it as needed, and coordinating training. However, the National Drug
Endangered Children Alliance was new at that time and its state chapter system was
not well established. There has been no organized follow up on implementation of the
protocol, although the Meth Action Group continues to support training efforts.

The state’s Child Fatality Advisory Committee has recently voiced concerns related to
the connection of substance abuse by parents and fatal child maltreatment. The
Department of Social Services is obtaining technical assistance from the National
Center on Substance Abuse and Child Welfare. The agency is in the process of
reviewing policy and will assume ongoing leadership for interagency systems to address
child maltreatment where parental substance abuse is a factor.




                                           26
One option will be to affiliate with the National Drug Endangered Children Alliance,
which is now well-developed and has state chapters and extensive web-based
resources. The National Alliance is broad enough to cover not just meth exposure but
also other substance abuse and child abuse issues.




                                          27
                                          Attachment A
                                  South Carolina CJA Task Force
                                       Members 2009-2012

Susan Anderson, Child Protective Services Agency
Staff Attorney, SCDSS, Columbia, SC

Tammy Besherse, At-large Member
Attorney, Appleseed Legal Justice Center

Brenda Brisbin, Prosecuting Attorney
Assistant Solicitor, Office of the Solicitor, Second Judicial Circuit

Debbie Clarke, Parent Group Representative
Community Volunteer

Louise Cooper, Volunteer Guardian ad Litem
Director, South Carolina Guardia ad Litem Program

Charlotte Ehney, CAC Network Representative
Member and Past President, S.C. Network of Children’s Advocacy Centers

Cheryl Elrod, Parent Group Representative
Restitution/Appeals Coordinator, Division of Victim Assistance

Mike Ethridge, Attorney for Children
Attorney, Carlock, Copeland & Stair, LLP

Rosalyn Frierson, Court Administration Representative
Director, South Carolina Court Administration

The Honorable Paul W. Garfinkel, Family Court Judge
Family Court Judge, Ninth Judicial Circuit

Vicky Gaskins, Law Enforcement
Lieutenant, Juvenile Division, Aiken County Sheriff’s Office, Aiken, SC

Jocelyn Goodwin, Child Protective Services Agency
Assistant Director for CPS, SCDSS, Columbia, SC

Ellen Hamilton, At-large Member
Director, Pee Dee Coalition

Beebe James, At-large Member
Community Volunteer

                                              28
Jeffrey Moore, Law Enforcement
Executive Director, SC Sheriffs Association

Kimaka Nichols-Graham, Child Advocate
Staff Attorney II, South Carolina Legal Services

M. Elizabeth Ralston, Mental Health Professional
Executive Director, Dee Norton Lowcountry Childrens Center

Gary Reinhart, Criminal Court Judge
Chief Magistrate, Lexington County

Deborah Reyes, Mental Health Professional
Psychologist, S.C. Department of Juvenile Justice

Pamela D. Robinson, Volunteer Guardian ad Litem
Director, Pro Bono Program, USC Law School

Olga C. Rosa, Health Professional
Director, S.C. Children’s Advocacy Medical Response System,
USC School of Medicine

Ione Sack, Experienced in Working with Children with Disabilities
Managed Treatment Services, Department of Social Services

Caroline Streater, Criminal Court Judge
Magistrate, Richland County Government

Karlayne Toole, Health Professional
RN, CPNP, Pediatrics Department, Medical University of South Carolina

Tana G. Vanderbilt, Experienced in working with children with disabilities
General Counsel, S.C. Department of Disabilities and Special Needs

Judith Whiting, Attorney for Parents (Defense Attorney)
Law Office of Judith Ann Whiting

Beth Williams, CJA Coordinator (Ex officio)
Assistant Program Manager, Child Protective Services, Division of Human Services,
SCDSS

Valerie Williams, Law Enforcement
Senior Agent, SLED, Sumter, SC



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                                    ATTACHMENT B

                                      Bylaws of the

                                     South Carolina
                            Children's Justice Act Task Force

Article I
Name

Section 1. The name of this organization shall be the South Carolina Children's Justice
Act Task Force, hereinafter referred to as the Task Force.

Article II
Statutory Basis

Section 1. The Task Force is established in accordance with the Child Abuse
Prevention and Treatment Act (codified at 42 USC 5106c) which authorizes grants to
states to develop, establish, and operate programs designed to improve: (A) the
handling of child abuse and neglect cases, particularly cases of child sexual abuse and
exploitation, in a manner which limits additional trauma to the child victim; (B) the
handling of cases of suspected child abuse or neglect related fatalities; (C) the
investigation and prosecution of cases of child abuse and neglect, particularly child
sexual abuse and exploitation; and (0) the handling of cases of children with disabilities
and/or serious health problems who also are victims of abuse and neglect.

Section 2. Children's Justice Act grants shall be used to implement Task Force
recommendations in the following three categories: (A) investigative, administrative, and
judicial handling of cases of child abuse and neglect, particularly child sexual abuse and
exploitation, as well as cases involving suspected child maltreatment related fatalities
and cases involving a potential combination of jurisdictions, such as interstate, federal-
state, and state-tribal, in a manner which reduces the additional trauma to the child
victim and the victim's family and which also ensures procedural fairness to the
accused; (B) Experimental, model and demonstration programs for testing innovative
approaches and techniques which may improve the prompt and successful resolution of
civil and criminal court proceedings or enhance the effectiveness of judicial and
administrative action in child abuse and neglect cases, particularly child sexual abuse
and exploitation cases, including the enhancement of performance of court-appointed
attorneys and guardians ad litem for children, and which also ensure procedural
fairness to the accused; and (8) Reform of state laws, ordinances, regulations, protocols
and procedures to provide comprehensive protection for children from abuse,
particularly sexual abuse and exploitation, while ensuring fairness to all affected
persons.




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Article III
Purpose and Activities

Section 1. At three-year intervals, the Task Force shall conduct an assessment of the
state's systems responding to abused and neglected children. In this process, the Task
Force may consider information obtained through a variety of sources, such as formal
assessments, questionnaires, opinions of experts, and the professional experiences
and judgment of Task Force members.

Section 2. Based on its three-year assessment, the Task Force shall adopt
recommendations in each of the categories described in Article II, Section 2, and shall
work towards their implementation.

Section 3. The Task Force shall recommend to the state's grantee (the South Carolina
Department of Social Services) projects to be supported by Children's Justice Act grant
funds.

Section 4. The Task Force may support legislation consistent with its mission or
recommendations, or take positions on other state policy issues. In order to take an
advocacy position on a legislative or policy issue, the matter must be presented to and
approved by the Task Force as a whole. Individual committees cannot establish
positions on behalf of the Task Force.

Section 5. Notwithstanding Section 4, the officers and committee chairpersons can
function as an executive committee to establish a position on legislative issues when
timely action is necessary, provided that all Task Force members have been notified of
the possible action by electronic or other means and afforded an opportunity to
comment.

Article IV
Membership

Section 1. General election of members shall be held every three years, in the last
quarter of the final year in each three-year period. Membership shall commence on the
first day of the first year in the next three year cycle.

Section 2. Current members may present proposed new members to the Nominating
Committee for consideration. The Nominating Committee will prepare a slate to reflect
the appropriate composition of the Task Force, obtain the consent of nominees, and
provide biographical summaries. Members are elected by majority vote of Task Force
members present and voting at a duly announced meeting. Nominations must be
distributed to members at least ten (10) days in advance.

Section 3. Membership must be multi-disciplinary, in accordance with federal statutory
requirements. General membership must comprise at least one slot for each of the
following disciplines: law enforcement community, criminal court judge, family court


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judge, prosecuting attorney, defense attorney, child advocate (attorney for children),
Court Appointed Special Advocate/volunteer guardian ad litem (including a
representative of the state guardian ad litem program), health professional, mental
health professional, child protective service agency, individual experienced in working
with children with disabilities, parent and representative of parent group, adult former
victim of child abuse and/or neglect, and individuals experienced in working with
homeless children and youths. Up to six at-large members may be added to maintain
appropriate diversity on the Task Force. Designated agency members shall include an
appointee of the Director of Court Administration and an appointee of the President of
the S.C. Children's Advocacy Center Network. The designated CJA Coordinator of the
S.C. Department of Social Services shall be a non-voting ex officio member of the Task
Force.

Section 4. Members are elected for a period of three years, and may be reelected.
Members must attend at least fifty percent of regularly scheduled meetings each
calendar year to retain their membership. This requirement may be waived by the Chair
for members who notify the Chair that they cannot attend due to extenuating
circumstances but are otherwise participating.

Section 5. Membership on the Task Force lies with the individual, provided the
individual remains in a capacity to represent the designated discipline.

Section 6. Total membership shall not exceed forty (40).

Article V
Resignations and Filling Unexpired Terms

Section 1. Noncompliance with attendance requirements constitutes a vacancy.

Section 2. Vacancies which occur between general elections shall be filled if necessary
to maintain representation on the Task Force by appointment of the Chair with approval
by majority vote of members present and voting. Members appointed to fill a vacancy
shall fill the remainder of the term, at which time they may be elected to a full term if
eligible.

Article VI
Officers

Section 1. Officers of the Task Force shall consist of a Chair and Vice-Chair.

Section 2. Officers are elected for a three-year period upon majority vote of Task Force
members present and voting, and may be re-elected for a second three-year term.




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Article VII
Committees

Section 1. Standing committees shall be formed at three-year intervals to coincide with
adoption of Task Force recommendations. The Chair and Vice-Chair shall determine
the number of committees needed and the focus of each.

Section 2. Each standing committee shall elect its own chairperson and all Task Force
members are expected to serve on committees as needed.

Section 3. Standing committees will work to operationalize designated Task Force
recommendations, undertaking the specific tasks necessary and making contacts with
other organizations as needed to accomplish recommendations.

Section 4. Standing committees may make recommendations regarding legislative
positions or other policy considerations for vote of the Task Force as a whole.

Section 5. Standing committees shall meet quarterly, or more frequently if necessary.

Section 6. Committee chairpersons and two at-large members appointed by the chair
shall serve as a nominating committee to propose a slate of officers and new members
for election.

Article VIII
Meetings

Section 1. The Task Force shall meet quarterly, with additional meetings called by the
Chair if necessary.

Section 2. The Task Force may adopt a position, plan action, or amend a
recommendation upon a majority vote of members present at a duly announced
meeting, provided that a written agenda has been distributed to all members at least a
week in advance. Although additional items may arise for discussion at a meeting, no
final action shall be taken without written notice to all members.

Section 3. A majority of Task Force members present at a meeting shall constitute a
quorum.

Section 4. Members must be present to vote on matters under consideration by the
Task Force. Only duly elected Task Force members are permitted to vote.

Section 5. Task Force meetings shall be conducted in accordance with Robert's Rules
of Order unless otherwise specified by these bylaws.




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Article IX
Staff Support

Section 1. A recipient of Children's Justice Act grant funds shall be designated to
provide staff support necessary to the work of the Task Force.

Article X
Amendments

Section 1. These bylaws may be amended upon majority vote of the membership at a
duly announced meeting, provided that proposed amendments are distributed to
members at least ten days in advance.

                                                 Adopted October 30, 1998
                                                 Revised September 13, 2002
                                                 Revised December 2, 2005
                                                 Revised January 19, 2007
                                                 Revised April 15, 2011




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