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Bill Number: 3068 Ratification Number: 623 Act Number 546 Introducing Body: House Subject: Relating to the taking of a child into emergency protective custody
(A546, R623, H3068)
AN ACT TO AMEND SECTION 20-7-610, CODE OF LAWS OF SOUTH CAROLINA, 1976, RELATING TO THE TAKING OF A CHILD INTO EMERGENCY PROTECTIVE CUSTODY BY A LOCAL CHILD PROTECTIVE SERVICE AGENCY, SO AS TO REVISE THE TIME WITHIN WHICH A PRETRIAL HEARING AND CUSTODY HEARING THEREON MUST BE HELD, TO ALLOW CUSTODY OF THE CHILD TO BE RETURNED TO THE PARENTS OR GUARDIANS BEFORE THE PRETRIAL HEARING UNDER CERTAIN CONDITIONS, TO PROVIDE THAT AT THE PRETRIAL HEARING THE RESPONDENTS SHALL HAVE THE RIGHT TO SUBMIT CERTAIN AFFIDAVITS AND TO CROSS-EXAMINE THE AGENCY'S WITNESSES AS TO WHETHER THERE EXISTED PROBABLE CAUSE TO EFFECT EMERGENCY REMOVAL, AND TO DELETE PROVISIONS REQUIRING THE CHILD TO REMAIN IN THE PLACEMENT MADE BY THE AGENCY DURING THE PENDENCY OF THE REMOVAL PROCEEDING.
Be it enacted by the General Assembly of the State of South Carolina:
Emergency protective custody hearings and procedures revised
SECTION 1. Section 20-7-610(D) of the 1976 Code is amended to read:
"(D) The local child protective service agency, upon the notification, shall begin a child protective investigation, including immediate attention to the protection of other children in the home, or other setting where the child was found. The agency then shall initiate a removal proceeding pursuant to Section 20-7-736 on or before the next working day in the appropriate family court. Upon a determination by the agency before the pretrial hearing that the basis of the report of abuse or neglect is unfounded, the agency may return temporary physical custody of the child to the parents or guardian, after consultation with the circuit solicitor, retaining legal custody pending the pretrial hearing. The family court shall schedule a pretrial hearing to be held within ten days of the initiation of the proceedings, unless the tenth day falls upon a Saturday, Sunday, or holiday, in which case the pretrial hearing must be held no later than the next working day. If there is no term of court in the county when the pretrial hearing must be held, the hearing must be held in another county in the circuit. If there is no term of family court in another county in the circuit, then the pretrial hearing must be heard in another court in an adjoining circuit. At the pretrial hearing, the family court shall undertake to fulfill the requirements of Section 20-7-110 and shall conduct a prima facie review of any emergency action taken or initiated in behalf of the child. At the pretrial hearing, the respondents have the right to submit affidavits as to any facts which are alleged to form the basis of the removal and to cross-examine the agency's witnesses as to whether there existed probable cause to effect emergency removal. The hearing to determine whether removal of custody is needed, pursuant to Section 20-7-736, must be held within forty days of the date of receipt of the removal petition."
Place requirements deleted
SECTION 2. Section 20-7-610(G) of the 1976 Code is deleted.
SECTION 3. This act takes effect upon approval by the Governor.