According to the Department of Health and Human Services, there are nearly 2,500 incidents of child abuse perpetrated by daycare providers each year in the United States. If you suspect your child is being abused at a child care facility in South Carolina, it is critical to remove your son or daughter from the situation, report it to the Department of Social Services (DSS), and contact local law enforcement.
Reporting Child Abuse to Police & State Agencies
When you contact DSS or the police, be prepared to provide them with information regarding the following:
- your reasons and suspicions for making the report;
- the name of the child or children involved in the abuse;
- the location where the abuse is occurring and the current location of the child;
- the name of the person you suspect is abusing the child, if you know it;
- the names of any state agencies who have been previously involved with the facility or child; and
- your name and contact information, in case the agency needs to follow up, although you may report anonymously.
Once you’ve made the report, law enforcement and DSS will investigate. Additionally, unless you choose to report anonymously, you should be notified of any case updates.
Basis for Reporting Daycare Abuse
In South Carolina, suspected abuse is all that is necessary to make a report. So long as you have a "good faith" basis for contacting law enforcement, you have every right to call their attention to potential harm.
Additionally, under South Carolina law [20-7-510(A)], there are individuals who are designated as “mandatory reporters,” or people who, because of their occupation, are required by law to notify officials of suspected abuse or neglect.
Mandatory reporters include:
- social workers;
- daycare employees;
- police officers;
- members of the clergy;
- teachers, counselors and principals;
- medical professionals, such as doctors, nurses and dentists;
- foster parents or guardians;
- film processors; and
- computer technicians.
Even if you are not a mandatory reporter, if you have reason to believe a child is being abused or neglected at daycare, please inform DSS and the police.
Legal Action To Hold The Daycare Accountable
In addition to contacting the proper authorities, you may seek justice from our civil courts. If your child was abused at a South Carolina daycare, the facility may be liable both criminally and civilly. We have helped a number of families bring daycares to justice for the harm they inflicted, or allowed to be inflicted, upon innocent children. To learn more about the ways we may be of service, contact our Columbia office today at (803) 790-2800. We pride ourselves on protecting families, and look forward to speaking with you.