South Carolina Child Abuse Response Protocol Act
In 2018 SCNCAC began working in collaboration with the South Carolina Children’s Justice Act Task Force to develop a statewide child abuse protocol to formalize the use of Children’s Advocacy Centers and Multidisciplinary Teams in South Carolina. The shared goal was to deliver a best practice response to child abuse in South Carolina through the implementation of a standardized statewide child abuse response protocol. On May 6, 2021, Governor McMaster signed the SC Child Abuse Response Protocol Act bill into law. This is landmark legislation for South Carolina that formalizes the use of Children’s Advocacy Centers and Multidisciplinary Teams in the statewide response to child abuse.
The Protocol will help to ensure that all children in South Carolina have access to an evidence based and best practice response to child abuse to help provide healing and restore hope during the most difficult time in their young lives. This legislation requires that in the investigation of a known or suspected crime against a child, a multidisciplinary team must follow the Protocol as developed by the SC Children’s Justice Act Task Force and the South Carolina Network of Children’s Advocacy Centers. The SCNCAC first responder minimal facts interview cards, which were revised to match information that is in the Protocol, are two sided cards available from SCNCAC or your local CAC.
The SC Children’s Justice Act (CJA) Task Force and the South Carolina Network of Children’s Advocacy Centers (SCNCAC), formed an advisory group to develop the protocol. The Statewide Child Abuse Protocol Advisory Group consisted of professionals from multiple disciplines and agencies involved in the multidisciplinary team response, investigation and prosecution of child abuse, child neglect, and sexual exploitation in South Carolina. Professionals from all of the core MDT functions served on the Advisory Group representing law enforcement, child protective services, prosecution, medical, mental health, and victim advocacy, together with local CAC staff. In addition to members from the core MDT functions, the advisory group had representation from the CJA Task Force, SCNCAC, public school systems, Joint Citizens & Legislative Committee, and Guardian Ad Litem programs.
Members of the Advisory Group also met with the South Carolina Office of the Attorney General, statewide law enforcement organizations, South Carolina Department of Social Services, South Carolina Department of Children’s Advocacy, National Children’s Alliance, and other stakeholders to seek input on the protocol. The Advisory Group is thankful for all organizations and representatives who provided content and/or reviewed material for this protocol project.
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