South Carolina Joint Citizens and Legislative Committee on Children holds hearing in Lowcountry

Published: Oct. 14, 2021 at 11:45 PM EDT
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CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - The South Carolina Joint Citizens and Legislative Committee on Children holds hearings each fall to get input and recommendations from the community. Doctors, parents, and advocates spoke for three hours today, bringing up diverse issues ranging from dental hygiene to gun violence.

Twenty-five speakers took the podium both in person and virtually today at Trident Technical College.

“Tonight, we heard about human trafficking, we heard about maybe a change in the child abuse and neglect definition that’s in the statute. We heard about incredible work that’s going on with advocates all over the state and folks that are asking legislators to support that,” Amanda Whittle, State Child Advocate and Director of South Carolina Department of Children’s Advocacy, said.

South Carolina residents were given the chance to come face-to-face with the ones making important decisions regarding the wellbeing of their children.

Deborah DePaoli says it’s a chance to give children a voice in a space where their voices aren’t usually welcome.

“My favorite part about it- this is what democracy is. This is what we’re doing like these are your lawmakers and you get to come and you get 5 minutes at the mic to share what’s on your heart, said Deborah DePaoli, State Manager for the Save the Children Action Network.

Whittle says she’s proud to be part of a state that gives people access to legislators and leaders at the state level.

“These are the folks who have to comply and enforce and live by the laws that are created so it makes sense that they have a voice in that,” Whittle said.

She says she believes legislative action will happen for some of the issues discussed tonight.

“The joint citizens and legislative committee on children, they’re not just talkers, they’re walkers, they walk the walk. They do the work. And we’re fortunate to have them,” Whittle said.

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