Established in 1995, the Children’s Law Center at the University of South Carolina Joseph F. Rice School of Law is dedicated to improving outcomes for our state’s most vulnerable children and promoting sound policy and best practices in the field of children’s law. We provide extensive training and coordinate meetings for more than 10,000 professionals annually, including attorneys, judges, child welfare staff, guardians ad litem, juvenile justice professionals, law enforcement officers, educators, and other child-serving professionals.
Serving as the state's centerpiece for training and knowledge in children's law, we offer a wide range of high-quality training programs designed to promote excellence and enable professionals to better serve children. In addition to training, Center staff members develop and distribute written resource materials, offer information and technical assistance to practitioners, and provide research assistance and staff support to various task forces and committees across the state, including the South Carolina Children’s Justice Act Task Force, the South Carolina Citizen Review Panels, the South Carolina Family Court Bench-Bar Committee, and the Joint Citizens and Legislative Committee on Children.
In collaboration with South Carolina Court Administration and the South Carolina Department of Social Services (DSS), the Center administers the court liaison program to improve the legal processing of child protection cases. Court liaisons work throughout the state to track cases, monitor hearings, address issues that might cause delays, and summarize case files to assist judges and DSS.
Center staff members also conduct research and data analysis to identify systemic barriers facing our at-risk children and those already in crisis and to find effective solutions to overcome those barriers. Another role of the center is to inform and provide guidance to state legislators and policy makers to facilitate sound decision making regarding laws and policies impacting the safety and well-being of our state’s children.