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South Carolina Department of Social Services

V. Susan Alford, State Director  

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In the past, DSS used its different divisions and their areas of expertise as the organizing principle for presenting our services. If you are used to looking up information under the name of the division that provides the service, these pages still use that method to organize information.

The programs and services provided by DSS are listed below in categories for Core Programs and Services, and Administrative Services

Core Programs and Services

Core programs and services administered by DSS (unless otherwise noted, these programs and services are administered through our county offices)

ABC Quality Program

The ABC Quality Program is SC’s Quality Rating and Improvement System (QRIS) for child care providers. It is a voluntary program that helps providers achieve high standards of quality in caring for the children they serve.

Adoption Services

DSS considers adoptions for children who are unable to return home or be placed with relatives. Adoption services include assessment of children, recruitment of adoptive families and placement of children in adoptive homes. DSS also offers services to birth parents who are considering adoption for their child or children. Post-adoption services exist for adoptive families, adult adoptee and birth families. A large number of children available for adoption are older, black or racially mixed, have physical or emotional handicaps or are members of sibling groups.

Adult Protective Services

Adult Protective Services protects the health and welfare of elderly and disabled adults. These services are provided to individuals who are 18 or older and are victims of actual or potential abuse, neglect or exploitation. This mistreatment may be caused by others or it may be self-inflicted. DSS is authorized to investigate all reports and provide services to meet the adults' basic needs and ensure their safety.

Child & Adult Care Food Program

In South Carolina, the Child and Adult Care Food Program is a key source of support for improving the nutritional quality of meals and snacks served to children and adults in day care.

Child Care Center for Career Development

The Center for Child Care Career Development is the professional development system for South Carolina’s child care workforce

Child Protective and Preventive Services

Child Protective and Preventive Services receive and assess or investigate reports of child abuse and neglect. These services, provided or coordinated by DSS, are designed to maintain children safely in their own homes when possible, reunite the family as soon as possible or place the children with relatives or in foster care, when necessary. Reports of suspected abuse or neglect should be made to the county DSS office.

Division of Early Care and Education

The Division of Early Care and Education manages all state and federal child care programs, and serves as the single point of contact for federal child care dollars in South Carolina. The mission of the division is to make child care more available and affordable to parents, and to increase the quality of care for all children in the state.

Domestic Violence

DSS seeks to prevent or reduce family violence and to ensure emergency shelter and related assistance to victims of domestic abuse. The agency contracts with shelters and counseling programs to address the needs of victims of domestic abuse and their abusers.

Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT)

EBT is the method South Carolina uses to issue SNAP benefits.

Family Independence

The South Carolina Department of Social Services is committed to helping people build better lives. Because of the changes in the welfare laws, DSS has become an agency that focuses on employment and training for its clients while maintaining its commitment to ensuring the well-being of the children and families it serves.

Foster Care

Foster care provides temporary services for children removed from their families because of abuse, neglect or exploitation by a parent or guardian. DSS seeks to license foster care providers who can best meet the individual needs of children. Whenever possible, DSS places the child close to home and in the most family like setting available. In South Carolina, about two-thirds of foster children live in foster family homes, and the rest live in group care and institutional settings. If the child cannot be reunified with family or placed with relatives, permanency may be brought about be termination of parental rights, adoption and independent living.

Foster Home and Group Home Licensing

DSS is mandated tolicense, register or approve foster family homes, 24-hour residential group homes and child placing agencies. The licensing staff seeks to ensure compliance with standards established by law and regulations in order to protect and supervise children in out-of-home care, provided by both the private and public sectors.

Independent Living

Independent Living is defined as an array of services provided to adolescents ages 13 to 21. The purpose of the Independent Living program is to provide the developmental skills necessary for foster adolescents to live healthy, productive, self-sufficient and responsible adult lives. The program's overall goal is to provide foster adolescents with opportunities to learn needed independent living skills and increase the likelihood of their successful transition from the foster care system.

Child Support Services

By establishing paternity and establishing and enforcing court ordered child support, the Child Support Services Division (CSSD) seeks to ensure that non-custodial parents live up to their financial responsibilities in the raising of their children.

Out-of-Home Abuse and Neglect Investigations

DSS is mandated by law to investigate reports of the abuse and neglect of children who reside in or receive care or supervision in residential institutions, foster homes and child care facilities.

SC Voucher Program

SC Voucher (previously named ABC Voucher) makes payments to child care providers to care for children from low-income families so their parents can work

Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)

For over 30 years, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), formerly known as the Food Stamp Program, has served as the foundation of America's national nutrition safety net, working to end hunger and improve the health of low-income people by helping families buy the food they need for a nutritionally adequate diet. In South Carolina over 100,000 households depend on SNAP benefits each month to get the food they need for good health.

Affiliated Programs

These programs and services are administered by other entities in conjunction with DSS


NexusKids is an interdisciplinary effort on behalf of children and youth to see services through the eyes of the child by involving those who have a vested interest in their future.


The Workforce Investment Act (WIA) provides services and training for your and adults, and "dislocated" workers.


  • To Report Child or Adult Abuse and Neglect call your local county office:
  • For information on SNAP benefits, contact DSS CONNECT at 1-800-616-1309 or any local DSS office during normal business hours.
  • To report Vendor/Retailer/DSS Employee Fraud
  • Report State Agency Fraud (Office of the Inspector General)