The South Carolina Department of Social Services (DSS) has created unnecessary hurdles for citizens searching the child abuse registry. Even though DSS is a state agency, and even though the child abuse registry is supposedly available to the public, you can’t search it without special permission.
In fact, you may need the consent of the person you want to investigate. For instance, if you want to check whether your babysitter is a registered abuser, you will first need their written authorization.
The babysitter or childcare provider has to sign a Release that you can send to the main DSS office in Columbia. A letter then comes back informing you whether the person is on the child abuse registry.
This process is not free, either. The background check could cost up to $25.00 – on top of the tax dollars you are already paying toward DSS.
While checking the sex offender registry is free, searching the child abuse registry is not. Despite this fact, we encourage parents to conduct a thorough background check on all childcare providers. If the babysitter or nanny refuses permission, it could be a red flag and cause for further investigation.
Should you have questions about the law surrounding child abuse and safe child care in South Carolina, I am here to help. For more information, call me today at (803) 790-2800.