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State DSS head: Group homes not long-term answer

By Jason Evans

Staff Reporter

jevans@thepccourier.com

EASLEY — The new director of the South Carolina Department of Social Services believes that group homes should only be a temporary measure.

Department of Social Services and foster care were the main topics of a recent Pickens United meeting.

“Group homes are fine, for the right child,” SCDSS director Mike Leach said. “There’s a lot of research to show that now. The federal government is forcing states to move forward and say ‘Use it, let’s make it sure it’s quality when used, use it for the right kids and don’t use it for too long.’”

Long-term group residency can create “disconnect from the community,” he said.

“That child loses access to their family a lot of times,” he said. “It does more harm than good. A lot of young people do thrive in those settings … but we need to make sure it’s only for the right young people.”

Leach said DSS “is the hardest job in state government,

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