Agency Overview

The Department of Social Services (DSS) is a cabinet agency with the State Director appointed by the Governor of South Carolina with the advice and consent of the Senate. The Department has offices in each county and regional offices for adoptions, intensive foster care and clinical services, and child support enforcement.

The Department’s mission is to serve South Carolina by promoting the safety, permanency, and well-being of children and vulnerable adults, helping individuals achieve stability and strengthening families.

DSS provides protective services for children and vulnerable adults, adoption, and foster care services. It administers federal Title IV-B Child Welfare Services and Title IV-E Foster Care and Adoption Assistance program. Additionally, the Department is the administrator of the Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children. The Department also establishes standards for and licenses child care providers and residential group homes for children.

Through its Division of Economic Services, DSS administers economic assistance programs including federal Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program, which provides employment and training for people receiving cash assistance. The Department administers food assistance programs in every county in South Carolina. The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) is a federal benefit to assist low income people in the purchase of food. Also, a commodities program distributes supplemental food through a network of food banks. Other food programs provide financial assistance for child and adult care providers, homeless shelters and summer feeding sites for children. The Department also administers the child support enforcement program under federal Title IV-D and other child support services, including fatherhood initiatives.