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South Carolina Department of Social Services

V. Susan Alford, State Director  

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What is the purpose of this service?

The primary purpose of adoption service is to help children who would not otherwise have a nurturing family of their own to become members of a family that can give them the care, protection, and opportunities essential for their healthy personal growth and development (from Child Welfare League of America).

Who can receive these services?

The Department offers statewide services to:

  • Parents who are considering the release of their child(ren) for adoption;
  • Children who are voluntarily released by parents or the court has given custody to the Department, and who have a permanent plan of adoption; and
  • Persons who wish to adopt children.
  • Adoptive families who have finalized an adoption and are experiencing problems related to the adoption.
  • Adult adoptee, adoptive families, birth parents of the adoptee who request non-identifying information or reunion register services. Reunion register services are also provided to biological siblings of the adoptee.

How are the services provided?

Adoption services are provided by four regional offices in the state. Individualized services are provided for children and families based on an assessment of need.

What services are offered?

Adoption Services include assessment and preparation of children for adoption, 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 adoptees, and birth families.

What is the Safe Haven for Abandoned Infants Act (Daniel's Law)?

This state law provides pregnant women with an alternative to abandoning a newborn baby in potentially fatal circumstances such as in the dumpster. Under the Safe Haven Act, an infant can be left with a hospital or hospital outpatient facility, law enforcement agency, fire station, emergency medical services station, or any staffed house of worship during the hours the facility is staffed. The infant must be less than 30 days old, unharmed, and left by the parent or other person acting for the parent. The law provides the parent immunity from prosecution if the conditions are met. A baby left under these conditions will be placed in DSS foster care and adoptions proceedings will be initiated immediately. Contact the local DSS office if you need additional information or click on the following link: Daniel's Law Brochure. Additional information for a parent or pregnant woman can be accessed at http://dss.sc.gov/content/library/forms_brochures/files/2496.pdf

If you are staff at a facility designated by law as a Safe Haven and receive an infant, state law requires that you complete a standardized form (DSS Form 3082). This form will go with the infant to the medical facility. This form can be accessed at http://dss.sc.gov/content/library/forms_brochures/files/3082.pdf.

A poster (DSS Form 2497) containing the general requirements for the Safe Haven can be downloaded or printed from http://dss.sc.gov/content/library/forms_brochures/files/2497.pdf. This document is suitable for posting at your facility as a reminder of this obligation.

How to apply?

Individuals who are interested in becoming an adoptive parent may call 1-888-828-3555 or contact the regional adoption office in your county of residence.

Steps to become an adoptive parent

  • Contact one of the regional offices to inquiry and receive application.
  • Application completed and returned to the regional office which serves your resident county.
  • Complete SLED/ Fingerprints and Child Abuse Central register releases on all members of household 18 years and older.
  • Attend 14 hours of preparatory training to help with self evaluation of the types of children which would fit into your family.
  • Fire and sanitation inspections completed on home by the Fire Marshal and DHEC.
  • Home Visits: adoption specialist visits the home and completes interviews for pre- placement investigation.
  • Three/ Four References received and interviewed by adoption specialist.
  • Medicals are required on all family members.
  • Provide copies of birth certificates, Marriage license and divorce petitions and decrees if applicable.
  • During assessment family and agency assess qualifications and readiness to adopt.
  • Approval received and family considered for children along with other approved and waiting families.
  • Placement committee selects family and notifies family and family is presented full background on child/ children for whom family is selected.
  • Family meets child and begins visitation with child.
  • Placement occurs when child and family are ready for move.
  • Post placement period begins and can continue up to 12 months.
  • Finalization of the adoption in Family Court.
  • Adoption Preservation services are available upon request after the finalization of the adoption. Adoption is a lifelong process, counseling and other referral services may be available to the family as needed and requested by the family.

Children available for adoption

South Carolina children waiting for adoption.

Training for adoptive parents

Training for adoptive parents is provided through our Regional Adoptions Offices.

More Information & Resources

What is Waiting Child WACH?

Waiting Child WACH premiered in 2000 and is a joint venture between WACH FOX 57, the South Carolina Council on Adoptable Children, and the Department of Social Services. WACH FOX News periodically profiles foster children and recruits permanent families for them.

Hotlines

  • 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)

Mailing Address

South Carolina
Department of Social Services
P.O. Box 1520
Columbia, SC 29202-1520

Telephone

(803) 898-7318