What we do
The Investigations Unit (IU) receives, refers, monitors and/or investigates complaints regarding services provided to children by nine state agencies:
- Department of Social Services
- Department of Mental Health
- Department of Juvenile Justice
- Department of Health and Environmental Control
- Department of Health and Human Services
- Department of Disabilities and Special Needs
- Governor's School of Agriculture at John de la Howe
- School for the Deaf and the Blind
- Wil Lou Gray Opportunity School
When necessary, the IU alerts relevant state agencies to the complaints and helps facilitate intra-agency cooperation to resolve the complaint.
Complaints we do not handle
The IU transfers complaints to the appropriate agency if it:
- relates to abuse or neglect
- is related to an open matter with another agency
- does not involve services provided to children (such as child support matters or private custody actions)
For private custody, visitation, or other family court matters, please contact your local Clerk of Court’s office or speak to an attorney. If you need an attorney, you may contact the South Carolina Bar’s Lawyer Referral Service at (803) 799-7100 in Richland or Lexington counties, or 800-868-2284 for all other counties.
Any questions or concerning involving another Department of Children’s Advocacy division should be sent directly to the appropriate division director:
- Foster Care Review (Lindsey Taylor)
- Guardian ad Litem (LaDara Josey Depugh)
- Continuum of Care (Greg Wright)
How to submit a complaint
When possible, please fill out the online complaint form to help ensure the IU has all the necessary information to begin addressing your concerns. If you are unable to use the online form, complaints can also be made by sending an email to email@example.com or calling 1-800-206-1957. If no one is available to answer, please leave a message, and your call will be returned within one business day.
The IU does not accept anonymous complaints because we may need to contact you to verify necessary information or seek clarification. However, you may let us know if you do not want us to disclose your identity when communicating with others about your complaint.
Frequently asked questions
Visit our Frequently Asked Questions page to learn more about how we can help.
Education and resources
The IU has helped create a Resource Library to help the public know where to turn, should they need access to services provided to children and families.