The Center for Child and Family Studies

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We work in partnership with the South Carolina Department of Social Services (SCDSS) to conduct Quality Assurance (QA) reviews of child welfare cases. The focus is to ensure services rendered to children and families are of sufficient intensity, scope, and quality to meet their individual needs.

The QA review process is directed by SCDSS with support and assistance from the University of South Carolina, The Center for Child and Family Studies (CCFS). South Carolina’s QA process is implemented using staff teams, with team members being provided by both DSS and CCFS.

We use the federal On-Site Review Instrument (OSRI) to review DSS foster care and family preservation cases. The instrument includes 23 items, which evaluate the county’s adherence to state and federal policies related to the safety, permanency, and well-being of children served in the state’s child welfare system.

In addition, QA reviews include a sample of foster care licenses, screened out CPS allegations, and unfounded CPS reports as required to meet state statute. While state law requires such a review in each county at least once every five years, South Carolina conducts reviews more frequently.

Findings from each review are presented to the county through debriefing summaries and reports, which identify organizational trends, strengths, and barriers to quality service delivery. To address identified issues, following an on-site review, DSS county personnel are encouraged to participate in a facilitated discussion. The participant-centered discussion is an interactive opportunity where information and knowledge are shared among participants with the assistance of a CCFS facilitator who has been trained in the content area being discussed.

The Center and DSS are also implementing a Continuous Quality Improvement (CQI) process.  Unlike QA, CQI is a more broad-based approach focused on systemic improvement and constant learning.  Therefore, the CQI process is less compliance-driven and case-specific; it offers a more proactive approach to service delivery. Together with DSS, we collect data that is iterative and continuous, and we seek to identify progressive thresholds of performance.

University of South Carolina