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      SC joins 25 states working to protect kids caught up in drug raids

      COLUMBIA, S.C. (WCIV) -- State officials say drug busts and meth labs are forcing them to take action in better protecting children.

      South Carolina is now the 26th state in the nation to join the National Alliance for Drug Endangered Children. The Department of Justice and state agencies say guidelines are needed to protect a growing number of innocent kids who are exposed to drugs.

      U.S. Attorney Bill Nettles says the alliance will now protect all children who may have fallen through legal loopholes during drug busts and meth lab raids.

      "My number one job is to make South Carolina a safer place," he said. "Law enforcement joins me in recognizing that what we need to do is make things safer. So now what we're doing is recognizing that part of making things safer is having a plan for what to do with a child if he gets pulled out one of these environments."

      Civil and social service leaders are backing the justice department's move to create the South Carolina Drug Endangered Children Alliance. It created guidelines for protecting kids who are trapped in dangerous homes because of illegal drug use.

      "We have victims in our children and if we do not break the cycle, that they will in turn maybe grow up to be drug dealers themselves," said Orangeburg Public Safety Chief Wendell Davis.

      Statistics show there's more production and usage of meth across the state, including the Lowcountry. New protocols are designed to guide law enforcement agencies on helping innocent kids who are involved.

      "I think that we have put together some guidelines for law enforcement, social services, and our medical community that all of us can work together to make our children safer," said State Law Enforcement Division Chief Mark Keel.

      Lowcountry law enforcement and other agencies will train for the new measures on June 12 at Trident Technical College.

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