Judge: System’s goal is reunification

By Jason Evans

Staff Reporter

EASLEY — Local family court judge Karen Roper has always had a passion for the child welfare system.

“Going into law school, I knew that I wanted to do something in this system,” she said.

Roper spoke at a recent Pickens United meeting that focused on the Department of Social Services and foster care.

“I essentially have DSS in front of me at least one time a week,” Roper said. “In Pickens County, Wednesday afternoons are generally our DSS docket time.”

Family court needs include more docket time to deal with all the cases and giving caseworkers what they need so they stay with the agency and avoid turnover, she said.

“Giving DSS what they need to keep workers is essential,” Roper said.

A “big word” in the child welfare system is permanency, she said.

“That’s what we’re trying to find, whether that permanency is going back home, going to a grandma or another fit relative or family friend that will take on permanent custody or termination of parental rights and freeing

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