South Carolina Legislature


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2018-2019 Senate Amendments Amended



38.1. (DSS: Fee Retention) The Department of Social Services shall recoup all refunds and identified program overpayments and all such overpayments shall be recouped in accordance with established collection policy. Funds of $800,000 collected under the Child Support Enforcement Program (Title IV-D) which are state funds shall be remitted to the State Treasurer and credited to the General Fund of the State. All state funds above $800,000 shall be retained by the department to fund Self-Sufficiency and Family Preservation and Support initiatives.

38.2. (DSS: Recovered State Funds) The department shall withhold a portion of the State Funds recovered, under the Title IV-D Program, for credit to the general fund in order to allow full participation in the federal set off program offered through the Internal Revenue Service, the withholding of unemployment insurance benefits through the Department of Employment and Workforce and reimbursement for expenditures related to blood testing. Such funds may not be expended for any other purpose. The Department of Social Services shall be allowed to utilize the State share of Federally required fees, collected from non-TANF clients, in the administration of the Child Support Enforcement Program. Such funds may not be expended for any other purpose. However, this shall not include Child Support Enforcement Program incentives paid to the program from federal funds to encourage and reward cost effective performance. Such incentives are to be reinvested in the program to increase collections of support at the state and county levels in a manner consistent with federal laws and regulations governing such incentive payments. The department shall not use clerk of court incentive funds to replace agency operating funds. Such funds shall be remitted to the appropriate state governmental entity to further child support collection efforts.

38.3. (DSS: Burial Expenses) The expenditure of funds allocated for burials of foster children and adults in the custody of the Department of Social Services shall not exceed one thousand five hundred dollars per burial.

38.4. (DSS: Battered Spouse Funds) Appropriations included in Subprogram II.J. entitled Battered Spouse shall be allocated through contractual agreement to providers of this service. These appropriations may also be used for public awareness and contracted services for victims of this social problem including the abused and children accompanying the abused. Such funds may not be expended for any other purpose nor be reduced by any amount greater than that stipulated by the Executive Budget Office or the General Assembly for the agency as a whole.

38.5. (DSS: Court Examiner Service Exemption) In order to prevent the loss of federal funds to the State, employees of the Department of Social Services whose salaries are paid in full or in part from federal funds will be exempt from serving as court examiners.

38.6. (DSS: TANF Advance Funds) The Department of Social Services is authorized to advance sufficient funds during each fiscal year from the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families Assistance Payments general fund appropriations to the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families Assistance Payments federal account only for the purpose of allowing a sufficient cash flow in the federal account. The advance must be refunded no later than April of the same fiscal year. Upon the advance of funds as provided herein, the Comptroller General is authorized to process the July voucher for the funding of benefit checks.

38.7. (DSS: Fee Schedule) The Department of Social Services shall be allowed to charge fees and accept donations, grants, and bequests for social services provided under their direct responsibility on the basis of a fee schedule. The fees collected shall be utilized by the Department of Social Services to further develop and administer these program efforts. The below fee schedule is established for the current fiscal year.

Day Care

Family Child Care Homes (up to six children) $ 15

Group Child Care Homes (7-12 children) $ 30

Registered Church Child Care (13+) $ 50

Licensed Child Care Centers (13-49) $ 50

Licensed Child Care Centers (50-99) $ 75

Licensed Child Care Centers (100-199) $ 100

Licensed Child Care Centers (200+) $ 125

Central Registry Checks

Nonprofit Entities $ 8

For-profit Agencies $ 25

State Agencies $ 8

Schools $ 8

Day Care $ 8

Other Volunteer Organizations $ 8

Other Childrens Services

Services Related to AdoptionNext of Children from

Other Countries $ 225

Court-ordered Home Studies in non-DSS Custody Cases $ 850

Licensing Residential Group Homes Fee for an

Initial License $ 250

For Renewal $ 75

Licensing Child Caring Institutions Fee for an

Initial License $ 500

For Renewal $ 100

Licensing Child Placing Agencies Fee for an

Initial License $ 500

For Renewal $ 60

For Each Private Foster Home Under the Supervision

of a Child Placing Agency $ 15

Responsible Father Registry

Registry Search $ 50

38.8. (DSS: Food Stamp Fraud) The state portion of funds recouped from the collection of recipient claims in the TANF and Food Stamp programs shall be retained by the department. A portion of these funds shall be distributed to local county offices for emergency and program operations.

38.9. (DSS: TANF - Immunizations Certificates) The department shall require all TANF applicants and/or recipients to provide proof of age appropriate immunizations for children. If such immunizations have not been administered, the department shall assist in referring applicants to appropriate county health departments to obtain the immunizations.

38.10. (DSS: County Directors Pay) With respect to the amounts allocated to the Department of Social Services for Employee Pay Increase in this act, the Department of Social Services is authorized to allot funds for pay increases to individual county directors and regional directors in classified positions without uniformity. Pay increases for DSS county directors and regional directors shall be administered in accordance with the guidelines established by the Department of Administration for Executive Compensation System and other nonacademic unclassified employees. Any employees subject to the provisions of this paragraph shall not be eligible for any other compensation increases provided in this act.

38.11. (DSS: Use of Funds Authorization) Department investigative units shall be authorized to receive and expend funds awarded to these units as a result of a donation, contribution, prize, grant, and/or court order. These funds shall be retained by the department on behalf of the investigative units and deposited in a separate, special account and shall be carried forward from year to year and withdrawn and expended as needed to fulfill the purposes and conditions of the donation, contribution, prize, grant, and/or court order, if specified, and if not specified, as may be directed by the Director of the Department of Social Services. These accounts shall not be used to supplant operating funds in the current or future budgets. The agency shall report to the Senate Finance Committee and Ways and Means Committee by January thirtieth of the current fiscal year on the amount of funds received and how expended.

38.12. (DSS: Use of Funds Authorization) Unless specifically directed by the General Assembly, when DSS is directed to provide funds to a not-for-profit or 501(c)(3) organization, that organization must use the funds to serve persons who are eligible for services in one or more DSS programs.

38.13. (DSS: Grant Authority) The Department of Social Services is authorized to make grants to community-based not-for-profit organizations for local projects that further the objectives of DSS programs. The department shall develop policies and procedures and may promulgate regulations to assure compliance with state and federal requirements associated with the funds used for the grants and to assure fairness and accountability in the award and administration of these grants. The department shall require a match from all grant recipients.

38.14. (DSS: Family Foster Care Payments) The Department of Social Services shall furnish as Family Foster Care payments for individual foster children under their sponsorship and under kinship care:

ages 0 - 5 $404 per month

ages 6 - 12 $469 per month

ages 13 + $535 per month

These specified amounts are for the basic needs of the foster children to include kinship care assistance. Basic needs within this proviso are identified as food (at home and away), clothing, housing, transportation, education and other costs as defined in the U.S. Department of Agriculture study of Annual Cost of Raising a Child to Age Eighteen. Further, each agency shall identify and justify, as another line item, all material and/or services, in excess of those basic needs listed above, which were a direct result of a professional agency evaluation of clientele need. Legitimate medical care in excess of Medicaid reimbursement or such care not recognized by Medicaid may be considered as special needs if approved by the sponsoring/responsible agency and shall be reimbursed by the sponsoring agency in the same manner of reimbursing other special needs of foster children.

38.15. (DSS: Penalty Assessment) The Department of Social Services may impose monetary penalties against a person, facility, or other entity for violation of statutes or regulations pertaining to programs, other than foster home licensing, that the department regulates. Penalties collected must be remitted to the State Treasurer for deposit into the State General Fund. The department shall promulgate regulations for each program in which penalties may be imposed. The regulations must include guidance on the decision to assess a penalty, the effect of failure to pay a penalty in a timely manner, and a schedule of penalty ranges that takes into account severity and frequency of violations. These regulations must provide for notice of the penalty and the right to a contested case hearing before a designee of or panel appointed by the director of the department. Judicial review of the final agency decision concerning a penalty must be in accordance with statutes or regulations that apply to judicial review of final revocation and denial decisions in that particular program. The department, in accordance with regulations promulgated pursuant to this provision, shall have discretion in determining the appropriateness of assessing a monetary penalty against a person or facility and the amount of the penalty. The authority to assess monetary penalties shall be in addition to other statutory provisions authorizing the department to seek injunctive relief or to deny, revoke, suspend, or otherwise restrict or limit a license or other types of operating or practice registrations, approvals, or certificates.

38.16. (DSS: Child Support Enforcement Automated System Carry Forward) The department shall be authorized to retain and carry forward any unexpended funds appropriated for the Child Support Enforcement automated system and related penalties.

38.17. (DSS: Child Support Enforcement System) From the funds appropriated in Part IA, Section 38 (II.F.), the Department of Social Services shall prepare a detailed report on the status of the Child Support Enforcement System. The report shall include, but not be limited to, actions currently being undertaken to become compliant with federal government requirements; the cost required to meet minimum federal guidelines; total funds spent so far on the system; the amount of fines assessed by the federal government associated with noncompliance; how much has been spent to satisfy actions taken by the state judicial system; and how much has been spent related to actions taken by any other entity which may have altered the amount required for meeting minimum federal guidelines. The report shall be submitted to the General Assembly by August thirty-first of the current fiscal year.

38.18. (DSS: Child Care Voucher) State funds allocated to the Department of Social Services and used for child care vouchers must be used to enroll eligible recipients within provider settings exceeding the states minimum child care licensing standards. The department may waive this requirement on a case by case basis.

38.19. (DSS: Meals in Emergency Operations) The cost of meals may be provided to state employees who are not permitted to leave their stations and are required to work during actual emergencies, emergency situation exercises, and when the Governor declares a state of emergency.

38.20. (DSS: Day Care Facilities Supervision Ratios) For the current fiscal year, staff-child ratios contained in Regulations 114-504(B), 114-504(C), 114-524(B), and 114-524(C) shall remain at the June 24, 2008 levels.

38.21. (DSS: Foster Care Goals) To comply with the requirements of 42 U.S.C. Section 671(a)(14) and 45 C.F.R. Section 1356.21(n), it shall be the goal of the state that the maximum number of Title IV-E funded children who will remain in foster care for more than twenty-four months will not exceed a total of 2,617 during the fiscal year. The Department of Social Services shall develop appropriate plans for timely permanency and use appropriate data benchmarks and targets that will achieve this goal.

38.22. (DSS: Comprehensive Teen Pregnancy Prevention Funding) (A) From the monies appropriated for the Continuation of Teen Pregnancy Prevention, the department must award the dollars allocated to a nonprofit 501(c)(3) entity to provide abstinence first, age appropriate comprehensive approach to health and sexuality education with a goal of preventing adolescent pregnancy throughout South Carolina.

(B) Contracts must be awarded utilizing a competitive approach in accordance with the South Carolina Procurement Code.

(C) The monies appropriated must be paid over a twelve month basis for services rendered. Unexpended funds shall be carried forward for the purpose of fulfilling the departments contractual agreement.

(D) The programs implemented by the entity awarded a contract pursuant to this proviso may not violate any portion of the South Carolina Comprehensive Health Education Act when implemented in a school setting. An entity that violates any portion of the South Carolina Comprehensive Health Education Act must reimburse the State for all funds disbursed.

38.23. (DSS: SNAP Coupons) The Department of Social Services shall continue the Healthy Bucks program established to provide coupons that allow Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) recipients to obtain additional fresh fruits and vegetables when purchasing fresh produce at grocery stores or farmers markets with SNAP benefits through their EBT cards. Each coupon shall allow the beneficiary to double the amount of produce purchased, up to ten dollars per month. The agency shall utilize all funds received in the prior and current fiscal years from the U.S. Department of Agriculture as a bonus for reducing the error rate in processing SNAP applications to fund the program. The agency shall work to identify and utilize funds as matching dollars for the continued success of the Healthy Bucks program and shall report semi-annually to the General Assembly on the status of the program. The report shall include, at a minimum, the number of recipients, counties served, and cumulative expenditure data for the program.

38.24. (DSS: Internal Child Fatality Review Committees) For Fiscal Year 2017-18, the Director of the Department of Social Services shall create and fund Internal Child Fatality Review Committees (internal committees) pursuant to the authority granted in Sections 43-1-60(3), 43-1-80, and 63-7-910(E) of the 1976 Code to allow for the rapid and expeditious review of reported child fatalities that are reported to the Department of Social Services on suspicion of abandonment, child abuse, neglect or harm as defined in Section 63-7-20. This review process will enable the department to respond to the safety needs of any surviving siblings and will lead to improvement in the departments efforts to prevent child fatalities caused by abandonment, child abuse, neglect or harm. Each internal committee shall be composed of a board-certified child abuse pediatrician, an agent from the State Law Enforcement Division, a local law enforcement officer, a representative from the local coroners office, and representatives from the Department of Social Services. The internal committee may invite other service provider organizations as deemed necessary. The department is authorized to provide reasonable compensation for board-certified child abuse pediatricians serving on an internal committee. Internal committees shall have access to information and records maintained by a provider of medical care regarding a child whose death is being reviewed by the internal committee, including information on prenatal care; all information and records maintained by any state, county, or local government agency, including, but not limited to, birth certificates, law enforcement investigation data, county coroner or medical examiner investigation data, parole and probation information and records, and information and records of health agencies that provided services to the child or family. The meetings, information obtained by, reports prepared by, and statements made before the internal committees are confidential and protected from disclosure pursuant to the Freedom of Information Act, criminal and civil proceedings, and subpoenas as set forth in Sections 63-7-940 and 63-7-1990.

38.25. (DSS: Tuition Reimbursement/Student Loan Repayment) The Department of Social Services is allowed to spend state, federal, and other sources of revenue to provide tuition reimbursement and/or student loan repayment to aid in retaining caseworkers and critical needs department jobs based on objective guidelines established by the State Director of the Department of Social Services.

The department may also provide paid educational leave for any employees in an FTE position to attend class while enrolled in programs that are related to the agencys mission. All such leave is at the agency heads discretion.

The department may enter into an agreement with staff employed in critical need departments to repay them for their outstanding student loans and/or reimburse tuition expenses. The employee must be employed in a critical needs area, which would be identified at the agency heads discretion, be in a covered FTE, and not have any disciplinary actions. Participants in this program must agree to remain at the department for a period of five years. The department may pay these employees up to $7,500 each year over a five-year period in accordance with a program developed by the department. Payments will be made directly to the employee at the end of each year of employment. Payments cannot exceed the balance of the student loan or the cost of tuition.

38.26. (DSS: Federally Certified Child Support Enforcement System Project) In order to expedite the completion and certification of the Automated Child Support Enforcement System required by the Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. Section 654a), the Department of Social Services is authorized to adopt, to the fullest extent possible, the system and operating procedures of the Delaware Transfer System. To the extent the Transfer System operating processes deviate from, or are incompatible with, current South Carolina practice, the department is authorized to determine the most effective and efficient practice to comply with federal requirements. The department shall work with Clerks of Court to identify and prepare for the changes involved in the implementation of the Transfer System which may impact their current operating practices with regards to performance of required child support functions. Pursuant to the Social Security Act and S.C. Code Section 63-17-610, Clerks of Court shall utilize the federally certifiable child support system and the state disbursement unit developed by the department to perform required child support functions.

38.27. (DSS: Wilderness Therapeutic Camps) The Department of Social Services shall make and promulgate such rules and regulations relating to licensing standards and other matters as may be necessary to carry out the purposes of Title 63, Chapter 11, Article 1 of the 1976 Code as applied to Wilderness Therapeutic Camps. For this purpose, a Wilderness Therapeutic Camp is a therapeutic camp organization or facility with an outdoor or wilderness focus that is engaged in receiving children for care and maintenance, either part or full time, but shall not include any summer camp, day camp, or after school program, and shall also not include any other outdoor education or youth development program or facility where participants usually attend for less than 15 days, and does not include any licensed residential group care organization, child caring institution or group home or facility that meets the facility requirements of S.C. Code of Regulations Section 114-590.

38.28. (DSS: Group Home Transition) For the current fiscal year, the Department of Social Services shall provide financial and administrative support and flexibility to Group Homes in order to best enable any necessary transition of services or the development of new service models for children and young adults. Group Homes with young adults between the ages of 18 to 23 years residing in approved and supervised independent living programs shall not be required to provide 24 hours per day face to face supervision for the resident. Regulatory and contractual requirements must not be different for supervision and staff ratios when a young adult aged 18 to 23 is a resident in an approved and supervised independent living program.

38.29. (DSS: Faith-Based Private Child Placing Agencies) From the funds appropriated to the Department of Social Services, the department shall make and promulgate such rules and regulations relating to licensing standards and other matters as may be necessary to carry out the purposes of Title 63, Chapter 11, Article 1 of the 1976 Code as applied to faith-based private Child Placing Agencies. For purposes of these regulations, any person or entity who holds legal or physical custody of a child for the purpose of placement for foster care or PreviousadoptionNext or a private placement and, which for the purposes of these regulations, retain their own system of foster homes, is a child placing agency as defined in S.C. Code of Regulations 114-550. Such regulation must not discriminate or suggest the taking of any adverse action against a faith-based child-placing agency or an agency seeking to become a child-placing agency on the basis, wholly or partly, that a faith-based child placing agency has declined or will decline to provide any service that conflicts with, or provide any service under circumstances that conflict with, a sincerely-held religious belief or moral conviction of the faith-based child placing agency.

38.30. (DSS: Foster Care Child Placements) With funds appropriated and authorized to the Department of Social Services for Fiscal Year 2018-19, the department shall ensure that the following provisions are implemented related to child placements. The department shall promulgate any necessary rules or regulations to implement these provisions:

(A) If a child in foster care has been placed within the same foster home for at least 9 consecutive months and if the foster parents are willing to provide permanency through PreviousadoptionNext for the child, the department must obtain an attachment assessment of the child and current foster parents before selecting a different adoptive placement or other alternative setting. The attachment assessment must be conducted by a qualified attachment expert. Qualified attachment experts may include individuals who can demonstrate training and or education in attachment theory, developmental psychology, and measures of attachment in addition to a minimum of ten completed attachment assessments.

(B) If a child's permanency plan includes reunification with a parent or caregiver, the department shall develop a transition plan for the child, with input from the Guardian ad Litem and a child-focused mental health professional. The department's proposed transition plan must include sufficient visitation with the permanent guardian to promote a successful and emotionally healthy transition for the child, facilitate a positive relationship between caregiver and child, and lessen trauma that may result from the move. If the department pursues placement with a natural parent, relative, or other adult with whom the child has never lived, as determined to be in the child's best interest, the department's proposed transition plan must be progressive and include increased overnight visitation with ongoing assessment of the plan and the child's adjustment by the Guardian ad Litem and child focused mental health professional. Modifications to the plan must be driven by the child's adjustment to the transition.

(C) In accordance with Section 63-7-1710, the department must file a Termination of Parental Rights petition if a child has been in foster care for 15 of the last 22 months unless there are extenuating circumstances as follows:

(1) When the child is over the age of 16 and the department has identified another planned permanent living arrangement.

(2) The department asserts to the court that the child may be safely returned to the parent because the parent has remedied the conditions that caused the removal, with or without supervision by the department for up to 12 months.

(3) The department's proposed treatment plan can be extended up to 18 months but only if: (a) the department presents compelling and persuasive evidence of how the parent has demonstrated due diligence in completing the plan; (b) the department can articulate for the court specific reasons to believe the parent will timely remedy the conditions which led to the removal; (c) the department affirms that the return of child to the parent would not cause unreasonable risk of harm; (d) the department has compelling reasons to assert that a Termination of Parental Rights is not in the best interests of the child; (e) the department has compelling reasons to assert the best interests of the child will be served by the extension.

(4) If the department assesses the viability of PreviousadoptionNext and determines that PreviousadoptionNext is not a viable option and has compelling reasons to assert that Termination of Parental Rights is not in the best interests of the child, then the department may pursue a permanent plan of custody or legal guardianship to relative or other person.

(D) In accordance with Sections 63-7-1640(G) and 1700(E), the department must file the petition for a Termination of Parental Rights within sixty days of the family court order designating the child's permanent plan or concurrent plan as Termination of Parental Rights and Previousadoption.


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