Bill in the State House would work on DSS transparency - FOX Carolina 21

Bill in the State House would work on DSS transparency

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Last week, the SC Director of Social Services testified in front of lawmakers that the number of child deaths associated with the department have consistently gone down.

But some senators charged with investigating DSS are now looking to change the way DSS works and its transparency.

In the eight months since their investigation began, senators on the DSS Oversight Committee said the strict privacy laws surrounding DSS cases have prevented them from pinpointing the exact problems at the agency.

Due to state law, DSS cannot respond to specific testimony and allegations that certain cases of child abuse and neglect cases were mishandled.

A new proposed law would allow DSS the right to respond to allegations released in the press or to the public about specific cases.

Some lawmakers have said it would give the agency a chance to defend itself in the public.

"Once the information becomes public... it's been in the television and newspapers, I think people want to know what happened," said State Sen. Shane Massey, R-Edgefield. "If you have a four year old who gets killed, and the allegation is because DSS totally screwed up this case, then I think the public needs to know what DSS did or didn't' do. If there's a legitimate reason DSS did or did not do something, they need to be allowed to say that."

Lawmakers from the House and the Senate are also considering the idea of allowing DSS to release case details only behind closed doors in certain legislative hearings.

The proposal has been added to various other bill in the hope that it will pass before session ends.

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