April 2021 eNews

ICS Speaks Before SC House Education and Public Works' Early Childhood Subcommittee
Bryan Boroughs, ICS Vice President and General Counsel, spoke before the South Carolina House Education and Public Works Early Childhood Subcommittee on April 7. ICS was invited by the committee to speak about child care amid the COVID-19 pandemic, and also about the coordination of services that support young families across the state. 
This is the inaugural year of the SC House’s subcommittee on Early Childhood. We are very excited to see a regular legislative committee focused on the success of young children, and extend our thanks to the House Education and Public Works Committee for establishing this subcommittee, and to Chairlady Calhoon, Rep. Govan, and Rep. Oremus for inviting us to join them.


by Robert Saul, MD - President, South Carolina Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics; Professor of Pediatrics (Emeritus), Prisma Health Children's Hospital-Upstate

The abuse and neglect of our children is one of the most gut-wrenching topics that our society has to deal with. Children, our most precious resource for the future and our most vulnerable group of people, deserve our protection. Actually, they deserve our constant and absolute efforts. The COVID-19 pandemic has undoubtedly added to the incidence of child abuse and neglect as noted by the American Academy of Pediatrics but unfortunately detection has decreased due to the isolation of families and remote learning. The support systems which are already fragile and, at times, painfully inadequate are even more strained now. It is incumbent on all of us to be attuned to the needs of children and families at risk and provide the necessary intervention. But prevention is the key!...

  1. Enable our children to be honest about the circumstances in their life. Those at risk are often able to tell a trusted adult what is happening. We need to empower them and not neglect their appeal for help.

by Lorraine Kagan-Sullivan, South Carolina's Act Early Ambassador

Did you know 23 percent of children aged 3-17 in South Carolina (210,441) have one or more emotional, behavioral, or developmental conditions (KIDS Count Data Book, 2017-2018)? That is nearly one-fourth of the children in our state. According to Child Welfare Information Gateway, the percent of children in foster care is even higher with one-third of children having a diagnosed disability....

According to the Harvard’s Center on the Developing Child, “In the first few years of life, more than one million new neural connections form every second.” Early identification of developmental problems during the first five years can make a huge difference in changing the trajectory of a child’s life. However, research shows only about 30 percent of children with delays and disabilities are detected (Glascoe, 2000).

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) developed the “Learn the Signs. Act Early.” (LTSAE) to improve early identification of children with autism and other developmental disabilities so children and families can get the services and support they need. The LTSAE program encourages parents and providers to learn the signs of healthy development, monitor every child’s early development, and take action when there is a concern.

What We've Been Up To
  • Virtual Pediatric Residents Day

On Friday, April 16, ICS and the South Carolina Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics (SCAAP) hosted a virtual Pediatric Residents Day at the State House. This annual event is pediatric residents with the tools and support needed to effectively advocate on behalf of the young children and families in their care.
The focus was on three priority health issues impacting South Carolina's children and youth: e-cigarettes, childhood vaccinations and impacts on herd immunity, and gun safety. The day began with a morning briefing, followed by legislative roundtable discussions on each issue area, and it concluded with a federal update.
  • Hybrid Workshop: Thinking About Boys
Mary MacKenzie (standing) discusses the nuances of boys.
Thomas Compton (foreground), manager of a Spartanburg County First Steps, Quality Counts center.
Excerpt from ICS Senior Fellow, Mary MacKenzie's blog, "A Hybrid Workshop, 'Thinking About Boys,' for Spartanburg County First Steps":

On Saturday, April 17, I presented to Spartanburg County First Steps, Quality Counts early childhood settings on the subject, “Thinking about Boys.” This followed a formula we used last fall, whereby the live portion of the program took place in a setting with the childcare providers present (all duly masked and socially distanced) and then, simultaneously, the presentation was streamed to five satellite locations via Zoom. The aim of the session was to identify differences in boys’ and girls’ development, to explore whether girls and boys learn differently, and to think about implications for practice and devise strategies. The presentation was based on research from an excellent book entitled, Getting it Right for Boys, written by Neil Farmer, an eminent early year’s consultant in the United Kingdom. Farmer explores why boys do what they do and how to make the early years work for them.

I started the session by saying, I did not want to stereotype boys in any way, but rather to identify what research and experience have shown. I explained that we should develop ways to improve the educational experience of boys in early childhood while tapping into their interests and energy. Concurrently, I wanted to help make the teaching experience of the childcare providers less challenging and more fulfilling and enjoyable.

  • Webinar: Children Think Better on Their Feet than in Their Seat

This web session was held April 6 for Clemson University's early childhood, primary, secondary and special education students. The session, "Children Think Better on Their Feet than in Their Seat," was conducted by the Institute for Child Success's Senior Fellow, Mary MacKenzie. It concluded with many students inquiring about Forest Schools, the outdoor education model in which students use natural surroundings to learn personal, social and technical skills.

As Chair of the Advocacy Committee of the SC Kinship Care Advisory Council, ICS's Bryan Boroughs had the honor of moderating the event on April 20. Attendees included kinship caregivers, policymakers and stakeholders, raising awareness about the challenges faced by kinship care families and advocating for kinship care-focused legislation. Senate Bill 222 (S.222), which would allow more kinship caregivers to receive critical support and resources to ensure children in kinship care in SC are safe, was discussed.

Find out more about South Carolina Kinship Care:
ICS works on behalf of children from prenatal to age 8.

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