TOM ERVIN’S PREPARED REMARKS FROM PRESS CONFERENCE AT DSS HEADQUARTERS ON THE MOST RECENT TRAGEDYThe news that five children from Lexington County have been massacred and left on the side of the road is a horrific tragedy. As a parent, I ask all South Carolinians to pray for the victims and their family. I want to thank law enforcement for their quick response to this tragedy.
In cases like these, we may never have all the answers to the questions that come to mind.
However, our state Department of Social Services has an ongoing responsibility to prevent these tragedies from happening over and over again. The children under DSS scrutiny are the most vulnerable population in our state and these children can’t protect themselves.
Unfortunately, we have seen these tragedies repeat themselves over and over again. From 2011 through 2013, 251 children have died under Governor Haley’s watch. This figure does not include the children that have died in 2014.
That is simply unacceptable.
Today’s news reports are that the Department of Social Services interviewed the man accused of killing his five children and concluded he was a, “highly intelligent, responsible father capable of caring for his children.”
On August 7th, DSS was at his home to investigate allegations of child abuse.
Less than a month later, these children are found dead.
Enough is enough.
I’m here today to call on the General Assembly to return in special session with the purpose of removing control of the Department of Social Services from Gov. Haley and placing it under the authority of an independent administrator or receiver.
Governor Haley’s record of failed leadership over DSS necessitates an immediate transfer of authority and control before another child is put in harm’s way.
I’m also calling on the legislative audit council to expedite the release of their independent findings concerning DSS, so we can implement new procedures and practices immediately.
I will continue to make this my focus until we can fix DSS. This is not politics, this is about protecting our most vulnerable children.
Yeah, I know. The failures of DSS to prevent child deaths is easily the most lurid policy failure that can be laid at the feet of the incumbent. There is a policy element to this horror. But to hold press conferences about it so soon…
Maybe it’s just me. I can’t even bring myself to read past the headlines of these stories. It’s just too painful to contemplate. Maybe he’s not being tone deaf. Thoughts?