State rep on DSS: 'It needs to be reformed'

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCIV) - A South Carolina representative says she is not surprised by an anonymous psychiatrist's complaints with the Department of Social Services.

State Rep. Jenny Horne, of Summerville, says she heard similar complaints, including the inability to get someone on the phone to closing cases that shouldn't be closed and sending kids back to homes where there is alleged abuse.

This is why she requested a legislative audit months ago, which is now in its preliminary phase.

"It needs to be reformed. Some people may not need to be working at DSS if they have the attitude that they are not going to protect children," she said.

The child psychiatrist at the medical University of South Carolina is amused by the responses DSS provided ABCNews4.

"They used a lot of 'should' statements. 'Children should be investigated. Children should make sure they are in a safe place.' And I agree. The 'should' statements show me they are not doing it," the psychiatrist said.

A DSS spokesperson told ABCNews4 that cases should not be dropped when a child moves to a new county, but this doctor says differently.

"The fact that we are discussing it makes me feel better. However, these are responses from someone sitting at a desk in Columbia and not really in the trenches where the issues are," the doctor said.

DSS told ABCNews4 that "because this doctor in the story is anonymous, we have no way of verifying their claims. Therefore, we reached out to our contacts with MUSC. They expressed no concerns with DSS."

The statement from DSS reaffirmed the agency's mission to respond to all allegations of abuse and neglect, adding that can only happen if a mandated reporter involves local law enforcement and DSS officials.