Children’s Trust to Unveil Priorities for 2024 Legislative Session at State House Event on Nov. 1
Children’s Trust of South Carolina has set its policy priorities for the 2024 legislative session and identified strategies to prioritize the well-being and development of children and their families. Its top priorities include lowering maternal and infant mortality and increasing access to child care.
Children’s Trust will host an event to reveal their legislative priorities alongside Sen. Katrina Shealy and others at the state house on Wednesday, Nov. 1, at 9 a.m
“We have an opportunity in this next legislative session to help families, especially mothers and their babies,” said Sue Williams, CEO of Children’s Trust. “We call on the legislature to help us expand voluntary home visiting programs and increase incentives for employers to offer child care benefits.”
Home visiting programs work one-on-one with mothers to help the mother and infant during those critical early months right after childbirth when the mortality rate for mothers and their babies is high. A 2023 Infant Mortality report released by S.C. DHEC showed that infant mortality rates rose 12 percent from 2020 to 2021.
Less than 10 percent of eligible families receive voluntary home visiting services, which in addition to addressing mortality, is proven to reduce government assistance and support, build school readiness, lower crime rates and identify health and learning issues before expensive government-funded interventions are necessary. South Carolina can serve more families through a state financial investment of $250,000. This funding would be matched 3-to-1 by the federal Maternal Infant and Early Childhood Home Visiting grant.
The scarcity of quality child care is a multi-layered problem requiring innovative solutions and collaboration. More than 15 percent of unemployed women report that they can’t work because of a lack of child care. The South Carolina Legislature can encourage more businesses to offer child care benefits by updating the existing business child care tax credit.
“These legislative priorities are good for families, communities and government. They help moms raise healthy, thriving babies and reduce government assistance and support. By investing in children and their families today, we are building a healthier future for South Carolina,” said Beverly Hamilton, chair of the Board of Directors of Children’s Trust.
As legislative priorities, Children’s Trust has also identified expanding free breakfast and lunch programs in public schools and prioritizing crisis stabilization units for children and youth.
This legislative agenda results from extensive collaboration and input from members of the Children’s Trust policy committee and its board of directors representing all corners of the state.
The organization will host a news release event on Wednesday, Nov. 1, at 9 a.m., on the First Floor of the South Carolina State House. The following individuals are scheduled to speak:
- Sen. Katrina Shealy, R-Lexington; member of the Joint Citizens and Legislative Committee on Children
- Beverly Hamilton, Chair, Children’s Trust of South Carolina; retired associate vice president of government contracts at Molina Healthcare of Souith Carolina
- Dr. Ramkumar Jayagopalan, secretary-treasurer, South Carolina Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics; board-certified pediatrician at Carolina Pediatrics; and board member, Children’s Trust
- Dr. Elizabeth Mack, president, South Carolina Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics; and pediatric critical care medicine doctor at the MUSC Shawn Jenkins Children’s Hospital in Charleston
- Sue Williams, CEO, Children’s Trust
About Children’s Trust of South Carolina
Children’s Trust is the only statewide organization focused on preventing child abuse and neglect in South Carolina. It leads and supports a network that shares our belief that all children should thrive, live in secure families and be surrounded by supportive communities. Children’s Trust coordinates the state’s efforts for the Strengthening Families Program; Triple P (Positive Parenting Program); S.C. Adverse Childhood Experiences Initiative; Maternal, Infant and Early Childhood Home Visiting; Child Abuse Prevention Month; and KIDS COUNT. For more information, visit scChildren.org.