Welcome to the Palmetto State—surrounded by beautiful coastlines to the east, and the scenic Blue Ridge Mountains to the Northwest.
Family Connection of South Carolina has a 30-year history of serving families of children with disabilities and special healthcare needs. Since 2015 Family Connection has been the Parent Training and Information Center (PTI) for South Carolina.
Family Connection provides information, support, education and referrals to meet the individualized needs of referral families. Our staff helps parents navigate the stages of their child’s education and healthcare journeys to chart a course for success. The PTI provides support related to children and young adults ranging in age from birth through 26 years old and serves all 46 counties in the state.
Because we are a non-profit and receive funding through grants, our services are currently free of charge.
Our state education agency is the SC Department of Education (SCDE). The Superintendent of Education is Molly Spearman. SC has 85 school districts. Some counties are one district while other counties have multiple districts.
For information on childcare providers/facilities in your area and their quality ratings: scchildcare.org
BabyNet is South Carolina’s interagency early intervention system for infants and toddlers under three years of age with developmental delays, or who have conditions associated with developmental delays. It is managed by the SC Department of Health & Human Services (DHHS). Anyone can make a referral by calling 1-866-512-8881. If you have questions or concerns about your child’s development, check out “Your Child’s Journey Begins” on our home page.
Children who need, or are suspected to need, special education services and are older than three years of age should be referred to the school district in which the child resides. Contact information for individual schools and the districts can be found at the SC Department of Education website.
The Office of Special Education Services (OSES) has resources for parents.
All public schools in SC use Enrich web-based product for Individualized Education Plans (IEPs). More information about Enrich
In South Carolina a parent is defined as a person who legally has the care and management of a child. (S.C. Code Ann. § 63-1-40 (2010) This includes foster parents and guardians in most cases.
OSES offers an informal dispute resolution for families through a Facilitated IEP process.
Lannette Cox is the SC Ombudsman for OSES. 803-734-2833 [email protected]
SC schools have 60 days to complete an evaluation for special education services from the date of signed consent. Once the evaluation is completed, the LEA has fifteen business days in which to determine eligibility. An IEP must be developed within 30 calendar days of a determination that the child needs special education and related services and must be implemented as soon as possible after written parent consent is granted for the services in the IEP.
When a child with a disability, who has an IEP that is current in another state, transfers to an LEA in South Carolina, the new LEA, in consultation with the parents, must provide the child with a free and appropriate public education (FAPE), including services comparable to those described in the child’s IEP from the previous LEA. The new LEA may adopt the current IEP or conduct an initial evaluation to determine eligibility and develop and implement a new IEP.
Developmental Delay can only be used as the primary disability category on an IEP through the age of 9. A child who initially qualifies for services under the category of DD must be re-evaluated before their 10th birthday to determine if they continue to qualify for special education (SPED) under another category.
For children who receive SPED services in SC, transition planning begins at the age of 13. There are three options for these students: SC High School Diploma, The SC Credential, and an attendance certificate. It is important for parents to clarify which option their child is eligible for to ensure a smooth educational career path and exit to post-secondary education.
For information on The SC Credential visit thesccredential.org
On or before the student’s 17th birthday, the student’s IEP must contain a statement indicating that the student has been informed that at age 18, he or she has attained the age of majority in South Carolina and all parental rights transfer to him/her. Thus, at age 18, students become their own educational decision makers.
The Palmetto State is home to the Clemson Tigers and the University of South Carolina Gamecocks. Five of our instate colleges and universities offer non-degree programs for those individuals with intellectual disabilities who want a college experience. These schools include: University of South Carolina, Clemson University, Coastal Carolina University, College of Charleston, and Winthrop University.
For legal questions related to special education or disability rights, contact Disability Rights South Carolina at 1-866-275-7273 or www.disabilityrightssc.org.
Medicaid: SC Medicaid program is managed by DHHS. Katie Beckett/TEFRA is an eligibility category available in SC. Through this program, children with certain disabilities can qualify for Medicaid benefits regardless of parents’ income. For more information or to download the TEFRA application, check out the Healthcare tab on our website. The child must be a SC resident before applying for Medicaid.
You can also contact our office to get assistance completing the application.
SC Department of Disabilities & Special Needs (DDSN) is the state agency that provides services to children and adults with severe, lifelong disabilities of intellectual disability & related disability, autism spectrum disorder, traumatic brain injury, spinal cord injury and conditions related to each of these four disabilities. For questions: 1-800-289-7012. There are extensive waiting lists for waivers in SC. Among others, DDSN manages the ID/RD, Head & Spinal Cord Injury and the Community Supports waivers. We encourage parents to put their child’s name on waiting lists as early as possible.
SC has three Centers for Independent Living which cover 37 of our 46 counties. Find the center that covers your county
SC ABLE Savings Program are tax-advantaged accounts that allow people with disabilities to save and invest for their future without jeopardizing their government benefits such as SSI & Medicaid. For more information call 1-800-439-1653 or www.treasurer.sc.gov
We at Family Connection are proud to support our military families. SC is home to every branch of the military and many retirees. If your family is coming to SC due to PCS, please contact our military liaison, Elizabeth Allen [email protected]