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Investigations Unit: Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions How can I make a complaint about a state agency to the Department of Children’s Advocacy Investigations Unit? Click here to submit a complaint form at any time of day or night. The Investigations Unit will receive, review and respond to your online submission within one business day of your complaint submission. If you have an emergency, contact 911. If you wish to make a report of abuse or neglect, call DSS at 1-888-227-3487.

How do I reach the Investigations Unit if I want to speak with someone? You can call 1-800-206-1957 or email at info@childadvocate.sc.gov during normal business hours Monday through Friday between 8:30 a.m. and 5 p.m. If your call is not answered, that means the investigators are speaking with other callers or contacts. Please leave a message and your call will be returned within 24 hours or a business day. If you have an emergency, contact 911. If you wish to make a report of abuse or neglect, call DSS at 1-888-227-3487.

Does the Department of Children’s Advocacy Investigations Unit accept or investigate complaints regarding state agencies other than the nine listed? No, the Investigations Unit only investigates complaints regarding the nine listed agencies.

What types of complaints does IU review, monitor or investigate? IU is authorized to accept complaints which relate to services or programs children receive from the nine listed agencies.

When I make a complaint against a state agency regarding services for a child, what should I expect? Pursuant to S.C. Code of Laws Section 63-11-2290, the Investigations Unit is required to transfer a complainant to the appropriate agency if the complainant’s submission is related to abuse, neglect or an open matter with another agency. The law requires that a complainant work with the agency about which they are complaining to give that agency an opportunity to resolve the issue. For this purpose, we will provide you with that agency’s phone number to speak with someone in their Constituent Services office. If a complaint is not resolved by the relevant state agency within a reasonable period of time in light of the circumstances, if the resolution is determined to be unsatisfactory to the State Child Advocate, or if the complaint reasonably causes the State Child Advocate to believe that a child may be in need of immediate assistance, then the State Child Advocate may conduct an investigation of the complaint.

How long does an investigation take? The length of the investigation depends on the complexity of the issues and may also include monitoring to ensure that the matters are fully addressed. Some calls do not result in investigations but are resolved with referrals to specific contacts and resources.

Can I obtain a copy of the information the IU gets from the state agency? No. You must request this information directly from the agency. Pursuant to S.C. Code of Laws Section 63-11-2250, any and all information and records acquired by the Department of Children’s Advocacy in the exercise of the offices’ purpose and duties are confidential and exempt from public disclosure.

What types of complaints or issues are NOT investigated by DCA’s Investigations Unit?

  • Child abuse and neglect
  • Adult abuse and neglect
  • Child support disputes
  • Guardian ad Litem Program (GAL Program)
  • Foster Care Review Board (FCRB)
  • Continuum of Care (COC)
  • Employee discipline or behavior
  • Private matters where a child is not being served by one of the nine agencies
  • Any concerns where a person receiving services is 18 years or older
  • Civil rights violations
  • Fraud, waste or mismanagement in state government

Who can I contact about matters which are not investigated by the Investigations Unit?

  • To report abuse or neglect: 1-888-227-3487
  • For questions regarding child support through DSS: 803-898-9282 or 1-800-768-5858
  • For questions regarding child support that does not involve DSS, contact your local Clerk of Court’s office.
  • For general questions and complaints regarding a specific employee’s behavior, contact the constituent services office for that employee. Below you will find a list of contact information for all nine agencies. 
  • For complaints regarding the Department of Children’s Advocacy or any of its divisions, please contact the State Office of Inspector General at 1-855-723-7283.
  • For complaints regarding civil rights violations, visit the Department of Justice website at www.justice.gov and see link to submit a complaint.
  • For complaints regarding fraud, waste, abuse, mismanagement, misconduct, violations of state or federal law, and wrongdoing in state government, contact the Office of Inspector General at 1-855-SCFRAUD (1-855-723-7283).

Nine agencies contact information: