Each April, the South Carolina Department of Social Services (SC DSS) joins Children’s Trust of South Carolina, the state’s affiliate organization for Prevent Child Abuse America, and other statewide and local leaders in acknowledging Child Abuse Prevention Month.
In fiscal year 2017, there were 17,662 victims of child abuse and neglect in South Carolina. This public health issue has been linked to a wide range of costly medical, emotional, psychological and behavioral problems into adulthood.
Prevention programs are significantly less costly to society than fixing the lasting effects of child abuse and neglect. When communities come together to support children and families, everyone benefits. Fellow citizens are healthy and better educated, employees are more productive and miss less work and the impact on the quality of life for families in these communities is profound.
“We at DSS are engaged in reforming the child welfare system to help children get what they need,” said Susan Alford, SC DSS state director. “We, along with our network of foster caregivers, rescue children and start their healing process. We can speak loudly on their behalf, but we have to focus on building systems that can support their safety, permanency and well-being. Equally important in this equation is the role of our partners. They contribute greatly by reducing risks, educating parents and ultimately helping to mend broken situations into successful families.”
Child Abuse Prevention Month is a time to celebrate the good things our communities do to support stronger families and keep children safe. Everyone – individuals, businesses, families and communities – must work together to prevent child abuse.
“Today I ask you to do one thing,” Alford said. “Take a few minutes and think of one thing you can do that will help us make life better for those 17,662 children. Help a family that is struggling. Ask your church to support a kin caregiver that wants to take an abused child into their home. Open your home and become a foster parent. Offer support to foster children in your community. Open your heart and consider one thing you can do. One tangible, real thing. Because our children deserve the best that all of us can offer.”
To report abuse or neglect contact your local DSS office https://dss.sc.gov/contact or law enforcement officials.
For more information on Child Abuse Prevention, see https://scchildren.org/raise-awareness/child-abuse-prevention-month/.
Cutline: DSS Director Susan Alford talks about the more than 17,500 children affected by child abuse and neglect in South Carolina during the 2017 fiscal year.