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GPS Practice Model

South Carolina has adopted a model of casework practice for Child Welfare Services called GPS (Guiding Principles and Standards). The GPS practice model explains the values, principles, and core practice skills used by staff to empower children and families to achieve the goals of safety, stability, permanency, and well-being. Inspired by GPS navigation technology, the model will serve as a road map to help practitioners arrive at desired practice model outcomes and to achieve uniform practice within the department.


“Like a GPS system requires the user to know their destination, our practice model is designed to help us arrive at our important mission: To serve South Carolina by promoting safety, permanency, and well-being of children and vulnerable adults, helping individuals achieve stability and strengthening families. It outlines the shared values, principles, and core practice skills that are essential markers along the road to better outcomes for those we serve.

I want to ensure that our work as an agency demonstrates a belief that children, families and adults can succeed, that they have a voice and that they deserve our respect. We must engage, encourage, honor and support families, across all program areas at DSS, while continuing to keep the safety and well-being of children at the forefront of our decision-making. Ultimately, we want children’s lives to be better and their families stronger after our services and interaction are completed.”

DSS State Director Michael Leach


Our Vision and Values for Serving Families


We treat all individuals with dignity, educate them of their rights and responsibilities, and honor their values and culture.


Our service delivery system and practice is based on our desire to achieve high performance, meet outcomes, and ensure accountability.

Community Invested

DSS relies on formal and informal supports throughout each community to promote the prevention of child abuse and neglect, and promote child and family well-being and lifelong connections.


When our decisions and actions are transparent and data is utilized to improve our practice, positive outcomes for children and families are achieved.


Child Welfare Services Transformation

Best Outcomes for Children and Families

Do you have a complaint regarding services being provided to a child by a state agency? Please submit your complaint by phone (1-800-206-1957) or an electronic submission form here with the South Carolina Department of Children's Advocacy.