Foster Care bill passed into law creates "watchdog" to protect c - FOX Carolina 21

Foster Care bill passed into law creates "watchdog" to protect children

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GREENVILLE, SC (FOX Carolina) -

"It has to be somebody who loves children, someone who has seen on the front lines the things that can happen and how children can fall into the cracks" Trey Ingram said. 

Ingram and Dan Bracken have been searching for a someone to fill and create a new position; a position holding government agencies accountable 
They said it's a position that would give a voice to South Carolina children and one that has never existed until now. 

These two Upstate foster care fathers have worked to a pass a bill, creating an independent watchdog role called "State Child Advocate."

"You now have an independent powerful, voice to reach out to you. You don't have to reach out to the agency that initially caused harm, you don't have to hire a lawyer to find a remedy and courts. You can go directly to State Child Advocate." 

Bracken and Ingram have also created an entirely new agency, the Department of Child Advocacy. The department would cost the taxpayer not a cent more, but re-create countless benefits for kids. 

"If we're going to take these kids away from their families, we need to make sure that we give them the best care that we can and the best outcome we can and that's what this office will do."

Representative Neal Collins said three bills pushed by Bracken and Ingram have passed in an unprecedented three days, supported by their community, and showing there's power in numbers.

"I received more emails in a 24-hour period from my constituents than this whole year combined on every issue," Representative Collins said.

"It's a testament to see how powerful the people really are and can be when we all unite together and want to see a positive change," Ingram said. 

The two men said the state child advocate position will be filled by next summer. The person filling the position will have subpoena power, can make reports of what they're finding in the system and be able to propose changes to current laws. 

Reports of abuse and neglect will still be reported to Department of Social Services. 

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