December State Director’s Angle: Your Story

Don’t be afraid to admit your mistakes. Make them part of your story. 

By Michael Leach, DSS State Director

The calendar says tomorrow is December 1, 2020.  What a wild year this has been! It is hard to believe that the holidays are here and the end of the calendar year is in sight.

I am continually impressed with the work our DSS professionals have done to continue our critical day-to-day operations plus participating in the state’s COVID-19 response.  Many of you give so much of your time and talents to assist others with help. I can say without any doubt that DSS professionals are some of the hardest working employees in state government.

As we begin to shift our calendar to 2021, I want to engage you to think about the story that you are helping to write here at DSS. Each of our professionals is part of the agency’s story- along with the children, families and vulnerable adults we serve.

We rely on and expect families to be vulnerable and share their flaws and mistakes with DSS – an organization which has the potential to disrupt their lives. This takes great trust, but without it, DSS cannot assist the family in recommending services and supports to strengthen the family.

By learning from the vulnerability and trust our clients demonstrate every day, we can become more vulnerable, more open to feedback, thus more effective to those we serve. When someone shares a mistake with you, respond how a family wants a case manager to respond – with empathy, understanding, and support!

I challenge you to share your mistakes – big and small – with your teams in your everyday work and with us. Send us a quick write up or short video to to be posted for others to view and learn.

As the holiday season continues, I wish you and your family health and happiness with wishes for a prosperous 2021!

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.