News and Updates

Family Connection of South Carolina continues to adjust outreach policies

Family Connection of South Carolina (FCSC) will temporarily postpone in-person activities including trainings, outreach events and home visits due to continued concerns about the coronavirus virus (COVID-19).

Family Connection of South Carolina Seeking Volunteer Leaders

(Columbia, SC, January 20, 2021)—For 30 years, Family Connection of South Carolina has been changing lives by making connections, raising awareness, and promoting inclusion for children and youth with disabilities and specialized healthcare needs. The organization offers programs and services  Read More

Infant Research Opportunity at Early Social Development Lab at U of SC

Interested in monitoring your baby’s development? The Early Social Development Lab at U of SC is currently recruiting infants younger than 6 months for a research study dedicated to improving the early detection of autism. We are especially interested in  Read More

Family Connection of South Carolina to receive proceeds from annual Polar Plunge

Each year, we are fortunate to be one of the beneficiaries of the proceeds of The ChippenWhales Polar Plunge—hosted by Children’s Charities of the Midlands a non-profit organization established to better the welfare of kids in need.  This year’s plunge  Read More

Jena and Brad Martin to be honored as 2020 Angels in Adoption!

Jena Martin, our Director of Special Populations, and her husband Brad were recommended by Senator Tim Scott and have been chosen as a 2020 Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute (CCAI) Angels in Adoption® Honoree! Brad and Jena started their adoption  Read More

A Parent’s Journey: Meet the Giles Family

In 2012, Courtney Giles and her husband Martin, adopted a baby boy whose start in life began as a micro preemie. Baby Marcus was born 16 weeks early, weighing just 1lb 80z. He spent 151 days in the NICU before  Read More

Statement from Family Connection of South Carolina regarding school reopening plans

Family Connection of South Carolina recognizes the importance for families to have education and learning opportunity options, whether a return to in-person classroom instruction, hybrid options, or virtual only. We emphasize however, that the health and safety of students, teachers,  Read More

To support infant development, encourage parents to read, sing, and tell stories with their children

By Asiya Kazi and Sarah Daily The first three years of life are critical for parent-child bonding. Nurturing care and protection provided to children during this time period promote their development, mental health, and resiliency across the life span. In  Read More

Meet Andrew Delaney!

Andrew Delaney walks down a path in the park

Andrew Delaney, age 17, is featured in a recent article by Perkins School for the Blind. The story offers a glimpse into part of the online course work Andrew is doing at home. The Perkins campus is currently closed due  Read More

Update From the Office of Special Education Programs

Q&A document in response to inquiries concerning implementation of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) Part B dispute resolution procedures in the current COVID-19 environment.

Matthew Harper named Project SEARCH intern!

Family Connection’s Farren Allen accepted to Next Generation Leaders!

(June 22, 2020)–We are delighted to announce Farren Allen, Research and Evaluation Manager, has been selected to participate in the Next Generation Leaders (NextGen) cohort of the Association of Maternal and Child Health Programs Leadership Lab! Participants in this 10-month  Read More

Family Connection of South Carolina Announce New Board Members

(Columbia, SC, June 16, 2020)—Family Connection of South Carolina welcomes recently elected members Dr. Mitchell Yell, of the University of South Carolina, Karen Crider of the State Treasurer’s Office, and Elizabeth Kinney, of School District Five of Lexington and Richland  Read More

Messages of Fatherhood. Jimmy Anderson, a Family Connection parent shares his story in Upstate Parent.

Thank you to our friend Jimmy Anderson for sharing his insights on fatherhood and family!

Family Connection Statement regarding Events of May 25

At Family Connection of South Carolina, we share in the heartbreak and shock that has affected our country since the death of George Floyd and the devastating events that have followed in Minneapolis and communities across the country.   One  Read More


(COLUMBIA, SC May 18, 2020) – Family Connection of South Carolina (FCSC) and the South Carolina Department of Education have launched a new program called Text 2 Read for parents of preschoolers. Parents can use their cell phone to text  Read More

Thank you for choosing Family Connection on Midlands Gives Day!

Thank you to all of the generous contributors who donated to Family Connection of South Carolina through the Midlands Gives event this year! Because of you, and our generous anonymous donor, the Cheerful Giver, an unprecedented $7,000 was raised! Your  Read More

WIS-TV Interview with Amy Holbert

CEO Amy Holbert’s appearance on WIS-TV discussing Family Connection of South Carolina’s resources and services for families! Watch the interview!

Parent Survey: Your Child’s Special Education Needs During COVID-19 School Closures

We want to hear from you! We would like to understand how the extended school closures have affected your family. Your input will help us continue to serve your needs! All feedback is confidential and no identifying information will be  Read More

Resources for South Carolina Educators, Parents and Students

Columbia, S.C. – As teachers, parents and students adjust to a new and unprecedented way of learning and living, the South Carolina Department of Education (SCDE) is dedicated to delivering support as we all navigate and learn together. This week, the South  Read More

Child Abuse Prevention Month

April is Child Abuse Prevention Month. In 2020 this takes on heightened meaning in the midst of our current uncertainty. Throughout the month we will post messages to help keep families strong and children safe amid these physically isolated times. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram!  Read More

SCDHHS Coronavirus Resources and Updates

The South Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (SCDHHS) is providing important resources and updates to ensure Healthy Connections Medicaid members continue to have access to care during the outbreak of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). These updates include temporary  Read More

Celebrating our CEO, Amy Holbert

Amy Holbert

Amy Holbert, CEO, has a lot to celebrate. Recently, she has been accepted into the Diversity Leaders Initiative at Riley Institute, appointed onto the Parent to Parent National Board of Directors, and recognized as an aRPy ambassador. Amy was carefully  Read More

Young Adult Leaders

Family Connection of South Carolina is looking for Young Adult Leaders willing to provide leadership, guidance and support in creating and participating in a variety of projects and community initiatives. The Young Adult Advisory Council (YAAC) is a diverse group  Read More

Exceptional SC, 2019-2020 Student Scholarship Application Open

Our portal for the 2019-2020 school year is now open. The legislature granted us $12 million in scholarship funds for this year, and we are working to make sure those funds are raised quickly. Scholarship applications are open until Tuesday,  Read More

SCVR Summer Camp Series

SCVR’s Comprehensive Evaluation Centers are hosting a Summer Camp Series for students with barriers to education or employment. Enjoy fun-filled activities at NO COST: † Escape rooms, scavenger hunts, ropes courses and other games and challenges Career exploration in forensic  Read More

Autism Family Support Center

Are you the parent or caregiver of an individual with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) who exhibits challenging behavior or skill deficits? Would you like to receive individualized training to address these concerns? A highly-qualified team of Board Certified Behavior Analysts  Read More

Dental Survey

Junior Dental Students at the MUSC James B. Edwards College of Dental Medicine under the supervision of Dr. Ziegler and Dr. Pilcher, are conducting a survey of individuals with Down Syndrome to determine the incidence of bruxism (tooth grinding) in  Read More

South Carolina High School Credential

The purpose of the SC High School Credential is to provide equitable job-readiness opportunities for these students throughout the state, ensure they have evidence of employability skills, and honor the work they have undertaken in our public schools. Learn more

Making the most of the holidays

For most, the holidays are a time of excitement, anticipation and joy. But for some, especially families who have children or relatives of any age with a disability or special healthcare need, holidays are different than the idealistic images portrayed  Read More

Support Parent Spotlight: Jessica Cheanratana

Jessica Cheanratana is the mother of twins who were born at 24 weeks and encountered many difficulties along their journey. She says she had no idea of the many complications that could arise or where to turn for information and  Read More

30th Annual Disability Advocacy Day

The South Carolina Partnership of Disability Organizations (SCPDO) is accepting high quality, digital photos of people supported and that are willing to be highlighted on Disability Advocacy Day for their perseverance and contributions to our community. Examples may include people  Read More

Developmental Screenings are key

Every parent wants to raise a healthy, happy child. Because children grow and learn on their own time tables, it can be hard to know if your child is behind in certain areas of development. Monitoring and being aware of  Read More

Safe Sleep

Why are we still talking about this? Each year, about 3,500 infants die unexpectedly during sleep time from SIDS or accidental suffocation. The rates of accidental trauma and injuries due to unsafe sleep environments/bed-sharing is increasing. From 2010-2017 in Greenville  Read More

Diagnosis Spotlight: ADHD

The number of children diagnosed with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in the United States has increased dramatically. Here are some helpful tips to help your child succeed in school: Become an effective case manager. Keep a record of all information about your  Read More

New Form & Deadline for Exceptional Needs Parental Tax Credit

The South Carolina Department of Revenue (SCDOR) will begin accepting applications for the Parental Refundable Tax Credit this Monday, October 1, 2018 at noon. This new date is due to the impacts of Hurricane Florence in certain areas of our state.  Read More

Seacoast Disaster Relief

The Seacoast Church has partnered with Christ in Action to send two teams to serve in New Bern, NC. Opportunities will include serving meals and cleaning homes and yards as needed. For more information, visit this Seacoast Church Relief website at  Read More

Training Highlight

With a new school year quickly approaching, it is helpful to have your child’s medical and education history organized and in one place to share with anyone who may interact with your child. We offer a training session on creating  Read More

Special Populations

As your Parent Training and Information Center, Family Connection works specifically to support special populations as defined by federal law. In collaboration with the South Carolina Department of Education, Office of Special Education Services (OSES), resources and support are provided  Read More

Support Parent Spotlight: Belinda Patel

Belinda Patel’s son was diagnosed with autism around the age of three, and she remembers the overwhelming feelings of simply not knowing what to do next. Someone gave her the name and contact information of a support parent, and when  Read More

Speak Up…for your child

It’s that time of year, where we find ourselves deep in the alphabet soup of the special education world. IEPs, 504s, referrals and assessments; wherever you are in the journey, these quick tips can help you thrive, not just survive,  Read More

Education News and Updates

As the school year begins, here are some updates of interest. Drinking Water in Schools In recent years, there has been increased attention to lead in drinking water. Although lead is found throughout the environment, lead can accumulate in the  Read More

One Family’s Journey

andrew and his folks

Meet Andrew, a South Carolina resident and Super HERO! Andrew was born with a rare genetic condition called CHARGE syndrome. Getting the care Andrew needs has been challenging for his family. He was born with a severe heart defect and  Read More

Fill the last days of Summer with learning

child reads in the grass

Early literacy is a key to success for any child. Children learn from reading long before they’re ready to read on their own. Holding a book teaches top/bottom, left/right, front/back. Turning pages and talking about what’s on each page teach  Read More

Support Parent Spotlight: Christina Emrich

Family Connection has just over 450 active volunteer support parents statewide. Support parents are volunteers raising their own child, at least one year or older, with a disability or a special health care need. They enjoy talking and sharing information,  Read More

Partnering with Richland Library on LOOK! Forward Photography Exhibit

Partnering with Richland Library on LOOK! Forward Photography Exhibit

COLUMBIA, SC The 2018 LOOK! Forward Photography Exhibit opens June 2 at the newly renovated Richland Library Main, 1431 Assembly St., in downtown Columbia. The exhibit, which remains on display through August 17, showcases the beauty and strength of 48  Read More

Summer Camps Must Reasonably Accommodate Children With Disabilities

Columbia, SC – With summer approaching, parents and camps alike are making plans for terrific, fun opportunities for young campers to learn new skills and grow in their confidence and abilities. The United States Attorney’s Office has taken the opportunity  Read More

SCDDC Partners in Policymaking accepting applications now

South Carolina Developmental Disabilities Council is beginning it’s recruitment of individuals with intellectual disabilities and parents with young children with intellectual disabilities for our Partners in Policymaking program that begins in October. Download an Application

Children’s Bureau spotlight

Family Connection of South Carolina and Children’s Trust of South Carolina are featured in The Risk and Prevention of Maltreatment of Children with Disabilities for their collaboration on the evidence-based Positive Parenting Program, Triple P. In February 2017, staff at  Read More

a Night to Shine

We’d like you to know about an awesome opportunity coming up on Friday, February 7: The Night to Shine Prom for people with special needs, hosted by local churches and sponsored by the Tim Tebow Foundation! Every guest of Night  Read More

Double Your Impact on #GivingTuesday

One week from today on Tuesday, Nov. 28, you can help us raise $3,000 on #GivingTuesday to celebrate the 3,000+ families served last year by our top programs. A single generous donor will match dollar-for-dollar the first $1,500 donated on  Read More

ACA Open Enrollment Through December 15

The Health Insurance Marketplace will open November 1, with a shortened enrollment period that closes on December 15. Several changes have been implemented by executive order that will impact Open Enrollment for the Affordable Care Act (ACA) Marketplace in South  Read More

Governor McMaster Proclaims October 2017 as Disability Employment Awareness Month

From Able-SC: The SC Governor proclaimed that people with disabilities are capable, contributing members of society worthy of full access and inclusion in South Carolina’s workforce.  Let’s rally to show all of South Carolina that people with disabilities CAN work  Read More

Autism Academy of SC is Now Enrolling for Fall Social Skills & Parent Groups!

Registration deadline:  September 4, 2017 HOW TO REGISTER FOR GROUPS If your child has participated in social skills groups during previous sessions, please complete the attached fee agreement to confirm your enrollment.  All fees are due no later than September  Read More

Pack the Park

Enjoy a night of fun at the ballpark with family and friends in the Palmetto Citizens FCU All-Star Seats and watch the Fireflies take on the Charleston Riverdogs. Tickets are only $10, and $5 from each ticket will be donated  Read More

Act NOW on Proposed Medicaid Changes

Image of two children

Your voice is still needed NOW to ensure that children with disabilities and special healthcare needs continue to have the services they desperately need through Medicaid. Several options to repeal the Affordable Care Act have been considered, and our Congressional leaders are  Read More

Family Connection 5Ks

Join us to run, walk or stroll in the Family Connection 5Ks and help us promote active lifestyles for everyone! The Columbia 5K is set for September 30 and the Anderson 5K is set for November 4.  Thanks to all Ainsley’s  Read More

SC Department of Health and Human Services South Carolina Interagency Coordinating Council for the BabyNet Early Intervention System Announcement of Public Hearings

April 5, 2017 Pursuant to Executive Order 2016-20, lead agency designation for South Carolina’s Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) Part C program, known in South Carolina as “BabyNet”, will be transferred from South Carolina First Steps to School Readiness  Read More

PUBLIC NOTICE: Proposed Palmetto Coordinated System of Care Waiver Program

The South Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (SCDHHS) gives notice that a proposed application for the Palmetto Coordinated System of Care (PCSC) waiver will be submitted to the Centers of Medicaid and Medicare (CMS) and is available for  Read More

Waivers 101: An Overview of Medicaid Waivers and Services

December 5 @ 12:00 pm – 2:00 pm DESCRIPTION: This webinar provided an overview of Waivers and waiver-based services. SPEAKER: Guest Speakers: Lori Manos, Michelle White and Susan Bolt DATE: December 5, 2016 For the  transcript of the webinar, view this Waivers  Read More

PCSC: Where We’ve Been and Where We’re Going

SPEAKER: Gwynne Goodlett DESCRIPTION: The first of a series of monthly webinars is an update on progress on the development of the Palmetto Coordinated System of Care, entitled “Where We’ve Been and Where We Are Going.”  This webinar covers what a  Read More

PCSC: Everything You Wanted to Know, But Were Afraid to Ask: A Conversation with Tonna Okei about Cultural and Linguistic Competency

SPEAKERS: Tonna Okei and Gwynne Goodlett DESCRIPTION: The second in a series of monthly webinars is an update on progress on the development of the Palmetto Coordinated System of Care, this webinar will update participants about who the state is trying  Read More

Medicaid 101

SPEAKER: Shannon Staley December 15 @ 12:00 pm – 2:00 pm Title: Medicaid 101: An overview of Medicaid and TEFRA This Medicaid 101 Video will take you to a replay of the webinar. To download the transcript of the webinar, click this  Read More

Free to be Me Webinar

This is a workshop that discusses options for Teens and/or Young Adults planning to live independently and their parent or caregiver. Date Recorded: 4/16/2016 Link to Webinar Recording

Columbia Buddy Walk® Set for October 25

  COLUMBIA – October is Down Syndrome Awareness Month and the time to join Family Connection of South Carolina for its 17th Annual Columbia Buddy Walk®. The event is from 1-5 p.m. on Sunday, October 23 at Saluda Shoals Park  Read More

Family Connection Holds Columbia 5K

Come run, walk or stroll at Saluda Shoals Families and children of all abilities are invited to join us to promote active lifestyles and inclusion for everyone! Family Connection and Ainsley’s Angels are partnering on their first Midlands Area 5K  Read More

SC Home and Community-Based Services Statewide Transition Plan Information

The SC Home and Community-Based Services (HCBS) Statewide Transition Plan is going through a third public comment period due to changes made in the plan per Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) requirements. The comment period is Aug. 17  Read More

Ready to Help at Family Connection

Columbia, SC: The torrential rains and floods have caused tremendous loss and damage in the Midlands and across South Carolina. But the spirit and connections of our communities and our state remain strong. Regardless of backgrounds or beliefs, people have  Read More


Are you someone that is looking for an opportunity to support your community, while having fun at the same time? We have the opportunity you have been looking for. Family Connection of South Carolina hosts three Buddy Walks across the  Read More

Family Connection of South Carolina Receives $1.4 Million in Federal Funding

COLUMBIA, S.C. – Family Connection of South Carolina has been awarded the 2015 Office of Special Education and Information for Parents and Children of Disabilities – Parent Training and Information Centers (PTI) grant issued by the US Department of Education  Read More


Family Connection of South Carolina’s executive director, Amy Holbert, has been selected to present at the 2015 MCH Workforce Academy: Leading in a Transformative Environment to Improve Population Health. She was picked from applications that were submitted from all over  Read More


Author: Jen Franklin Kearns, ds-connex team member A couple of weekends ago, my family and I were enjoying a Sunday afternoon at the pool. As we’re having an exceptionally rainy summer, we were anxious to take advantage of a window  Read More

25 Year Anniversary of the American’s with Disabilities Act

COLUMBIA, SC – July 26th, 2015 will highlight the 25 year anniversary of the American’s with Disabilities Act (ADA) being signed into action by president George H. Bush. To celebrate this 25th milestone, Protection and Advocacy, The University of South  Read More


Family Connection is so excited about our upcoming benefit concert, not only are we going to get to celebrate our 25th year anniversary with our community, but we get to party with the Mustache Brothers! We are showing our excitement  Read More


Early in Alexia’s diagnosis she was seeing multiple pediatricians and specialists, which for a young girl can be overwhelming and stressful. It was not until she met Dr. Jones that things started to come together for her. Her services became  Read More


It comes as no surprise that parents are feeling stressed, and when you have a child with a disability you can multiply that stress by 10! It is hard to find the time you need to take care of your  Read More


Facebook is and extension of our lives. It is how we communicate, share and find out what is going on with the world. I know that it is my primary source for getting news stories, and the best way to  Read More


Recently we discovered a “mommy blogger” that was willing to share her story about her daughter, Aubrey. Aubrey was born in September 2007 and was diagnosed with a rare seizure disorder at seven months old, that transformed into Epilepsy. Her  Read More


Camp Burnt Gin is an overnight camp for children who have special health care needs. The camp runs form early June until mid August. They host seven sessions; each one lasts six days. The camp provides a fun, safe summer  Read More


This post was contributed by Letrell Hodge What does your child want to be when they grow up? If they could do anything for a job, would they want to be a doctor, a teacher, or maybe a professional athlete?  Read More


This post by contributed by guest blogger Deborah Leigh Norman When my second son was born two months early and later diagnosed with Down syndrome, somewhere in the flurry of reading I consumed, I came across the poem “Welcome to  Read More


This post was contributed by guest blogger Rochelle Gadson So often when we hear the words let go, we find that this is the most difficult thing to do. Our insecurities kick in and we think of all the worst-case  Read More


This post was contributed by guest blogger Jennifer Jett.  It is hard to believe that we have been living in this storm for almost five years now. You notice I said living…we are actually doing more than that…we are thriving.  Read More


By Rochelle Gadson Rochelle’s daughter Abby Gadson As a mother, one of the greatest pains you can feel is when your child is not happy. You try to find almost anything to bring your child joy. Can I change the  Read More


Guest blogger Jennifer Jett shares the story of her son’s diagnosis, comparing her experience to a storm. I like to think of the last few years as a storm that slowly blew in without too many people noticing. I was  Read More


Family Connection’s Greenville office has created a ground-breaking photographic display of children with special needs having fun in their community, with family, at school , at work and play. This exhibit was created with grants from The Children’s Hospital of  Read More


By Laura Townsend Kane, parent of a child with autism Note: Laura Townsend Kane, parent of a child with autism, has written a guest blog post about how extended family can help when someone in the family has autism. Puzzle  Read More


Today we recognize World Autism Awareness Day. Families gathered at local parks across the state to celebrate by enjoying a picnic lunch and lighting it up blue! Check out some of our kids who are going blue for autism awareness:


South Carolina’s own hit singer/songwriter Edwin McCain will perform an intimate concert for 400 guests to benefit Family Connection of SC April 28 at the Hall at Senate’s End. Tickets are selling out fast, so don’t wait until the last  Read More