November 2019 Newsletter
Children with disabilities often land in the correctional system after they are failed by other systems that are meant to help them. Here in South Carolina lawmakers passed a bill, called Raise the Age, three years ago. The purpose of this bill was to raise the maximum age that teenagers could be considered adults in the criminal justice system from 17 to 18. An important goal of this bill is to keep teen offenders out of adult jails and afford them an additional year of eligibility when it comes to rehabilitative programs.
This bill had bipartisan support and went into effect in July 2019. With the Raise the Age Law being enacted in July, a Senate Select Committee was appointed to work with the Department of Juvenile Justice and other state agencies to develop an implementation plan, and combine this plan with evidenced-based reform to the juvenile justice system. The committee has held meeting across the state to hear from state agencies, stakeholders, and the public. Beth Franco, the Executive Director for Protection and Advocacy, spoke in front of the committee and shared recommendations, which include limiting the use of status offenses, providing more community-based versus secure evaluations, and responding to the lack of appropriate intensive treatment facilities for South Carolina youth.
Similar work is being conducted by P&A’s across the country. This month the National Disability Rights Network (NDRN) released a new report which highlights some of our work in SC to help children with disabilities that end up in Juvenile Justice.
P&A Service Highlight: Information and Referral Hotline
Each year P&A provides help to thousands of individuals through our Information and Referral toll free hotline. We provide information about the callers rights, suggest ways to resolve the problems they are having, and recommend additional resources. When appropriate, callers are referred for P&A case representation or to another organization that can help them. Here is what some of our clients this year have had to say about the person that helped them when they called “She was compassionate and willing to listen to my problems” and “She was knowledgeable on the phone and immediately sent an email with all of the resources she mentioned linked.” Helping people understand and advocate for their rights is a very important part of what P&A does. If you have a question call toll free at 1-866-275-7273.
New “Find a Facility” Tool from DHEC
S.C. Dept. of Health & Environmental Control (DHEC) has released a new Find a Facility Interactive Map on their website. Here you can find lists of all Adult Day Centers, Nursing Homes, Community Residential Treatment Centers, etc. Under each facility listed you can find information such as the contact information, license number, number of licensed beds (if applicable), and the regulation that the facility shall comply with. This application should help people in conducting their research on providers and health care opportunities, and assist people with a better understanding of what these licensed facilities offer.
GivingTuesday is a generosity movement unleashing the power of people and organizations to transform their communities every year on the Tuesday following Cyber Monday. Donations are critical to our ability to protect and advance the rights of people with disabilities across South Carolina. Click below to give today, on GivingTuesday, or any other day of the year. Then share on social media with the hashtag #WhyIGivetoP&A.
Kathy Martin has been with P&A for twelve years and is an attorney in our Columbia office. She is the team leader for Information and Referral Services. Her team is in charge of answering calls from people who have questions about their rights. In her personal time Kathy loves spending time with her family, especially her grandchildren. Thank you Kathy for always being available when our clients need help.