TOP FIVE: Loss of construction workers, rise in foster care children, more

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By Lindsay Street, Statehouse correspondent  |  Our weekly Top Five feature offers big stories or views from the past week or so with policy and legislative implications that you need to read because of how they could impact South Carolina.  If you have stories to suggest to our readers, send to:  feedback@statehousereport.com.

  1. S.C. is losing construction workers, The Association of General Contractor of America, November 2017.

South Carolina is one of nine states to lose construction workers from October 2016 to October 2017, according to construction labor data. The state is 42nd for construction job gains. The other states losing workers include North Carolina, Illinois, Iowa, Missouri, North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska and Alaska — with Missouri and Iowa losing the most construction jobs. California and Nevada had the biggest job gains for the year. Here is the data for South Carolina:

  • Number of construction jobs October 2016: 98,100
  • Number of construction jobs October 2017: 97,900
  • Jobs lost: 200 (or 0.2 percent)
  1. Number of children in foster care rises in S.C., Carolina, nation, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, October 2017.

About 900 more children found themselves in foster care in South Carolina from 2014 to 2016, according to federal data. According to data from the Children’s Bureau at HHS’s Administration for Children and Families (ACF) Adoption and Foster Care Analysis and Reporting System (AFCARS), the number of children in foster care nationally increased by more than 10,000. About 92,000 children were removed from their homes in 2016 due to having at least one parent with a drug abuse issue. Here is the data for South Carolina:

  • Children in foster care 2014: 6,520
  • Children in foster care 2015: 7,038
  • Children in foster care 2016: 7,413
  1. 81 percent of girls incarcerated in S.C. have history of sexual, physical abuse, NPR, Dec. 3, 2017.

A woman serving a life sentence for the murder of a Nashville man in 2004 says she was the victim of child sex trafficking. Cyntoia Brown’s case has grabbed national attention. Brown said she was forced into prostitution at 16 and that she killed a man she thought was going to kill her. Here’s the South Carolina focus in the article:

“In a number of states that had available data looking at girls in the [prison] system, the overwhelming majority of girls behind bars had suffered instances of sexual and physical violence. In some states like South Carolina it was 81 percent of girls; in places like Oregon it was upwards of 93 percent. So when we looked at those high rates of traumas together, with the most common offenses that girls were being arrested for, it really made clear that it was that victimization that was driving the abuse.”

  1. Nearly 700 South Carolinians diagnosed with HIV/AIDS in 2015, S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control, Nov. 28, 2017.

South Carolina’s health agency released information about diagnosis of the sexually transmitted or blood transmitted diseases HIV and AIDS to coincide with World AIDS Day on Dec. 1. An excerpt:

“In 2015, nearly 700 adults and adolescents were newly diagnosed with HIV in South Carolina. As of December 31, 2016, there are an estimated 18,998 South Carolina residents living with diagnosed HIV infection, including AIDS … DHEC estimates that almost 6,000 persons living with HIV are not currently receiving medical treatment.”

  1. S.C. is one of 20 states with domestic violence task force, National Conference of State Legislatures, Nov. 28, 2017.

South Carolina was highlighted in a recent review of states addressing domestic violence. In January 2015, then-Gov. Nikki Haley established the Domestic Violence Task Force to “address the cultural issues surrounding domestic violence in the State of South Carolina, including social, economic, and geographic issues as well as professional standards and best practices within government and non-government organizations.” An excerpt from the report:

“Approximately 20 states have a legislatively created domestic violence task force, commission, work group or the like. Of those, only one, South Carolina’s, specifically incorporates a child support component or coordination with the state child support program … The (2015) task force consisted of 40 members from across the state, and was divided into three divisions, Criminal Justice, Victim and Offender Services and Community Awareness, Education and Outreach. Notably, the Victim and Offender Services Division was chaired by Katie Morgan, Director of Child Support Services within the Department of Social Services.”

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