Support group at

First Baptist Simpsonville

Every Wednesday  6:30pm

3 Hedge St, Simpsonville, SC 29681



Understanding and Navigating the legal system

…through a resource-foster parent’s eyes 

(by Stephanie Holland)


Our Goal at Miracle Hill:

Helping you throughout the process, as you continue to grow in Christ, and as you provide healthy family relationships for children where they can thrive as they grow.

* Emergency Protective Order – DSS or law enforcement receives a report of abuse/neglect

    ** must get order from a family court judge to assume temporary custody.

* Probable Cause Hearing – held within 72 hours

* Foster parents to receive written notice of the date, time & location of the PC hearing

* Merits Hearing – to be held within 35 days

* Permanency Planning Hearing – MUST be held within 12 months of a child entering FC (at a minimum).

* Permanent Plans for a child include:

    ** reunification

    ** guardianship

    ** termination of parental rights/adoption

    ** concurrent plan or reunification & TPR

    ** extension of the placement plan

* Permanency Planning Hearings can include:

    ** An agreement by DSS and GAL with the biological parents to a permanent plan for the child

    ** Biological parents have the right to contest the plan DSS is recommending.

    ** Result: continued for a “contested hearing/trial”

* Review Hearing (COR)

    ** Any party may request a review hearing to address issues about the child’s current situation

    ** This includes foster parents if they are a party to the case!!

    ** Biological parents can voluntary relinquish

    ** If there is no agreement between the parties, there will be a TPR trial

    ** Foster Parents may file a motion to intervene as a party to the action

* Can file a “private” motion for TPR
    ** With or without having filed a motion to intervene

* Can join with DSS’s motion for TPR

* Grounds for TPR include:

    ** Severity/repetition of abuse or neglect; home cannot be made safe in 12 months

    ** “failure to remedy”

    ** Willful failure to visit for 6 months

    ** Willful failure to pay child support

    ** Abandonment

    ** Child in FC for 15 of the last 22 months

    ** Diagnosable condition unlikely to change

* Judge may issue a ruling that day

    ** TPR granted

    ** TPR denied

OR, may take the ruling “under advisement”

* If TPR is granted, biological parent(s) have the right to appeal

    ** Administrative appeal (goes back to the judge for review)

    ** Appeal to the SC Court of Appeals, SC Supreme Court

    * Foster parents can attend with or without counsel (but having a lawyer is highly recommended)

    * Foster parents will be asked questions by the attorney(s), judge

    * Happy Day for judges, foster parents, children, adoption workers & licensing workers!!!

    * Under SC law, DSS should provide written notice of the date, time & location of all hearings in a foster child’s case

    * The foster parent may address the court during the proceeding

      ** This is at the judge’s discretion

      ** If addressing the court, should speak about the child’s needs

    * Right to attend all court hearings for a foster child in their care

      ** PLEASE inform your licensing worker of any upcoming court dates!

    * Right to intervene as a party at any point in the process

    * Right to attend all Foster Care Review Board Hearings for a foster child in their care

      ** If unable to attend, should provide a written summary to the Review Board

      ** PLEASE inform your licensing worker of any upcoming FCRB hearings!

If addressing the judge or the Foster Care Review Board members, please remember to be respectful – no personal attacks on agencies or people. This is an opportunity to speak about the child you are caring for and what is best for them!

The Children's Foster Care Review Board:

    * Made up of volunteer citizens from around the state who provide an external system of accountability and advocacy for children and families involved with the foster care system.

    * Utilizes panels of community volunteers to promote safe, permanent homes for children in foster care in a timely manner and to increase public awareness regarding the impact of child abuse and neglect.

Services Provided:

    * Review foster care placement to ensure that permanent plans are being made for children and families.

    * Held every six months that a child is in care

    * Review Board makes recommendations to the family court AND has the right to intervene as a party (can file a motion for TPR)

Responsibilities under SC Statutes

    I. represent the best interests of the child;
    II. advocate for the welfare and rights of a child involved in an abuse or neglect proceeding;
    III. conduct an independent assessment of the facts, the needs of the child, and the available resources within the family and community to meet those needs;
    IV. maintain accurate, written case records;
    V. provide the family court with a written report, consistent with the rules of evidence and the rules of the court, which includes without limitation evaluation and assessment of the issues brought before the court and recommendations for the case plan, the wishes of the child, if appropriate, and subsequent disposition of the case
    VI. monitor compliance with the orders of the family court and to make the motions necessary to enforce the orders of the court or seek judicial review
    VII. protect and promote the best interests of the child until formally relieved of the responsibility by the family court.

Helpful legal resources for resource-foster parents:

USC Children’s Law Center:

USC Center for Child & Family Studies