Posts Tagged ‘Department of Social Services’

Who buggered my dog?

In the September 21, 2011 Court of Appeals opinion of South Carolina Department of Social Services v. Mary C., 396 S.C. 15, 720 S.E.2d 503 (Ct. App. 2011), a child’s therapist opined that a three-year old’s masturbating and defying her potty training by urinating on the floor were signs of “sexualized behaviors” indicative of sexual abuse. This […]

Supreme Court grants termination of parental rights, finding mother’s failure to support was “willful”

In SCDSS v. M. R. C. L., 393 S.C. 387, 712 S.E.2d 452 (2011), it took the South Carolina Supreme Court less than a year to reverse the Court of Appeals’ opinion, 390 S.C. 329, 701 S.E.2d 757 (Ct. App. 2010), which itself reversed a family court grant of termination of parental right against a mother whom the […]

Monthly visits and small gifts sufficient to prevent termination of parental rights says Court of Appeals

Note: this decision was later reversed by the South Carolina Supreme Court.  See, Supreme Court grants termination of parental rights, finding mother’s failure to support was “willful” Today’s 2-1 decision in SC Department of Social Services v. M. R. C. L., 390 S.C. 329, 701 S.E.2d 757 (Ct. App. 2010), reversed a family court ruling terminating […]

Despite children already being removed, reversible error for family court to order removal in a DSS intervention case

Today’s Court of Appeals opinion in SCDSS v. Randy S., 390 S.C. 100, 700 S.E.2d 250 (Ct.App. 2010), reverses the family court’s decision to remove children from the Father’s care, where DSS brought the lawsuit against Father as an action for intervention[1] rather than for removal.[2] Randy S. seems like a strange case for the appellate […]

When the buck stops nowhere, failure is to be expected: the problems created by the lack of tort liability for a Social Service agency’s failure to protect a child from abusive caregivers

My first year of law school the United States Supreme Court, in the case of Deshaney v. Winnebago Cty. Soc. Servs. Dept., 489 U.S. 189 (1989), rejected a claim that negligence of a child protective service agency to protect a child from an abusive caregiver was a violation of the due process clause of the […]

Will the Recent Changes to the Abuse and Neglect Statute Make These Cases Harder to Settle?

I received an email from a recently licensed attorney noting a previous blog and asking whether I thought she, as the guardian ad litem in an abuse and neglect case, should be making recommendations on the merits.  This got me thinking about how the recent changes to the abuse and neglect statute, explained here, will impact […]

State of Abuse

The first in a series on Child Protective Services in South Carolina was published in today’s Charleston Post & Courier:  State of Abuse.   This initial piece accurately describes what I see in family court abuse and neglect cases. Subsequent articles in the series can be found here: DSS not meeting requirements; here: The guardians; and here: Norton center […]

Updated abuse and neglect materials

Less than a year after undertaking extensive research in 2007 to draft materials for lectures on representing parents in abuse and neglect cases, South Carolina’s legislature recodified the abuse an neglect code.  Unlike the recent recodification of the children’s code, this was not mostly labeling old statutes with new statute numbers in a one-to-one mapping. […]


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