Mandatory Reporting of Child Abuse and Neglect - South Carolina

Date: May 2023

Professionals Required to Report
Citation: Ann. Code § 63-7-310

The following professionals are required to report: 

  • Physicians, nurses, dentists, optometrists, medical examiners, or coroners 
  • Employees of county medical examiner's or coroner's offices
  • Any other medical, emergency medical services, mental health, or allied health professionals
  • Members of the clergy, including Christian Science practitioners or religious healers
  • Clerical or nonclerical religious counselors who charge for services
  • School teachers, counselors, principals, assistant principals, or school attendance officers
  • Social or public assistance workers, substance abuse treatment staff, or child care workers in a child care center or foster care facility
  • Foster parents
  • Police or law enforcement officers or juvenile justice workers
  • Undertakers, funeral home directors, or employees of a funeral home
  • Persons responsible for processing films or computer technicians
  • Judges  
  • Volunteer nonattorney guardians ad litem serving on behalf of the South Carolina Guardian Ad Litem Program or the Richland County Court-Appointed Special Advocates program

Training Requirements for Mandatory Reporters

Citation: Ann. Laws § 63-7-450

The Department of Social Services Protective Services shall inform all persons required to report pursuant to § 63-7-310(A) of the nature, problem, and extent of child abuse and neglect and of their duties and responsibilities in accordance with this article. The department also shall, on a continuing basis, conduct training programs for department staff and appropriate training for persons required to report.

The department, on a continuing basis, shall inform the public of the nature, problem, and extent of the child abuse and neglect and of the remedial and therapeutic services available to children and their families. The department shall actively publicize the appropriate telephone numbers to receive reports of suspected child abuse and neglect, including the 24-hour, statewide, toll-free telephone service and respective numbers of the county department offices.

The South Carolina Department of Social Services provides information for mandatory reporters on its Report Child Abuse and Neglect webpage, including the types and signs of abuse and neglect and special instructions for reporting maltreatment of children in foster homes, group homes, or child care facilities.

Reporting by Other Persons
Citation: Ann. Code § 63-7-310

A person who has reason to believe that a child's physical or mental health or welfare has been or may be adversely affected by abuse and neglect may report, and is encouraged to report, in accordance with this section. 

Institutional Responsibility to Report
Citation: Ann. Code §§ 63-7-310; 63-7-315

A person who reports child abuse or neglect to a supervisor or person in charge of an institution, school, facility, or agency is not relieved of their individual duty to report in accordance with this section. The duty to report is not superseded by an internal investigation within the institution, school, facility, or agency.

An employer must not dismiss, demote, suspend, or otherwise discipline or discriminate against an employee who is required or permitted to report child abuse or neglect pursuant to § 63-7-310 based on the fact that the employee has made a report of child abuse or neglect.

An employee who is adversely affected by conduct that is in violation of this section may bring a civil action for reinstatement and back pay. An action brought pursuant to this section may be commenced against an employer, including the State; a political subdivision of the State; and an office, department, independent agency, authority, institution, association, or other body in State government. 

Standards for Making a Report
Citation: Ann. Code § 63-7-310

A report is required when a reporter, in their professional capacity, receives information that gives them reason to believe that a child has been or may be abused or neglected. 

Privileged Communications
Citation: Ann. Code § 63-7-420

The privileged quality of communication between spouses and any professional person and their patient or client—except that between attorney and client or clergy member, including a Christian Science practitioner or religious healer, and penitent—does not constitute grounds for failure to report. However, a clergy member, including a Christian Science practitioner or religious healer, must report in accordance with this article except when information is received from the alleged perpetrator of the abuse and neglect during a communication that is protected by the clergy and penitent privilege as provided for in § 19-11-90. 

Inclusion of the Reporter's Name in the Report

The reporter is not specifically required by statute to provide their name in the report. 

Disclosure of the Reporter's Identity
Citation: Ann. Code § 63-7-330

The identity of the person making a report pursuant to this section must be kept confidential by the agency or department receiving the report and must not be disclosed, except as specifically provided for in statute.