A day after Gov. Henry McMaster issued a politically polarizing executive order preventing the federal goverment from placing unaccompanied migrant children in South Carolina, a Christian ministry director wrote a letter asking the governor to revoke the ban.
In the letter, Lutheran Services Carolinas CEO Ted Goins said his nonprofit has taken care of 133 unaccompanied migrant children since 2017. He said none of those children ever ended up in the custody of South Carolina Department of Social Services (SCDSS) — which McMaster warned would happen.
“We respectfully disagree that programs like ours take away from DSS foster care or are a drain on South Carolina resources,” Goins said.
While McMaster warned yesterday that migrant children would strain the system, Goins disagreed.
“The children in our program do not use South Carolina resources, as they have their own federally funded medical insurance and do not attend public school,” Goins said. “Any child who is unable to be released to a family member or sponsor will be moved out of state to a federally funded foster care program.”
Goins said that his ministry would like to continue helping these children who have come from desperate situations and have endured so much trauma. He said most of the migrant children his organization has helped have only been in their care for a few months at most.
“Lutheran Services Carolinas has operated this small, specialized program without problem or concern since 2017,” he said. “I would respectfully encourage you to pause implementation of this ban to gather more information on this complex issue.”
McMaster’s order was filled with explosive language that many sources who spoke to FITSNews found offensive. The order essentially says if migrant children were placed in group homes, those facilities may not be “safe and sanitary.”
“We are very concerned about the negative impact of the executive order preventing the federal government from placing unaccompanied migrant children in South Carolina foster care and group home,” Goins said.
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On April 8, SCDSS director Michael Leach sent the governor a letter stating the federal government asked the agency about its capacity to house an influx of migrant children from the U.S. border on April 8.
Leach said that SCDSS was aware of six private providers that had the space to house the migrant children, but said the agency had a number of concerns in regards to housing migrant children.
In response to Leach, McMaster banned the federal goverment from housing any migrant children and threatened to punish those organizations that didn’t obey, according to the executive order.
McMaster announced the executive order just two days after his trip to the U.S. Southern border — a trip many on the left considered to be a taxpayer-funded photo-op to boost his campaign.
Also the border is a long way from South Carolina…. where we have plenty of major issues to deal with…
Given the timing and the loaded language of the executive order, several sources who spoke to FITSNews believed that McMaster sent the order to rally his GOP base.
“We are saddened that responding to a humanitarian crisis seems to have become politicized,” Goins said. “Our program serving unaccompanied children is, for our faith-based organization, a perfect example of The Good Samaritan in action.”
In his executive order Monday, McMaster failed to mention how he plans on addressing the many problems of SCDSS — which has failed children and taxpayers on virtually every front in the last decade.
In January, 3-year-old Victoria Rose Smith was allegedly murdered, while in the care of SCDSS, by her foster mother in Simpsonville, S.C..
For weeks, the case made national headlines and pundits such as Nancy Grace hammered SCDSS for their failures in placing a 3-year-old girl in the hands of an alleged murderer.
More than 42,000 people have signed a petition in support of reforming SCDSS asking state lawmakers to reform the scandal-scarred agency.
Since the tragedy, Gov. Henry McMaster has said nothing in response to the death of Victoria Rose Smith.
In 2018, 8-month-old Camden Shaw Kidder of Anderson County was murdered by his biological parents just one month after SCDSS reportedly concluded its 11th investigation against the baby’s father.
“Where was Baby Camden’s help when it mattered?” FITSNews founding editor Will Folks wrote in 2018. “Why does this keep happening in South Carolina? Does our state ever expect these horror stories to end so long as our government keeps perpetuating the underlying problem?”
And here we are in 2021 asking the same questions about another South Carolina child’s tragic death.
According to SCDSS Office of Child Fatalities, more than 25 S.C. children die every year due to maltreatment by a caregiver.
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Mandy Matney is the news director at FITSNews. She’s an award-winning journalist from Kansas who has worked for newspapers in Missouri, Illinois, and South Carolina before making the switch to FITS. She currently lives on Hilton Head Island where she enjoys beach life. Want to contact Mandy? Send your story ideas, comments, suggestions and tips to [email protected].