Columbia, S.C. – Governor Henry McMaster today announced that Amanda F. Whittle will be the first person to fill the position of South Carolina’s State Child Advocate, which was created by S.805 during last year’s legislative session. Whittle has 14 years of experience as an attorney with the South Carolina Department of Social Services (DSS) and was one of three candidates recommended to the governor by the Joint Citizens and Legislative Committee on Children.
Since 2015, Whittle has served as DSS’ Assistant General Counsel, representing the agency in civil litigation, serving as a continuing legal education trainer for county attorneys and paralegals, representing DSS in adoption finalization matters, and more.
“Last year, I was honored to sign into law legislation that created the Department of Children’s Advocacy, and today, I’m proud to nominate Amanda Whittle to serve as South Carolina’s first State Child Advocate,” said Gov. Henry McMaster. “Ms. Whittle’s broad professional legal experience, as well as her leadership roles on the state and local level, make her uniquely qualified to serve in this position protecting our state’s children.”
Whittle is a graduate of the University of South Carolina Aiken and of the University of South Carolina School of Law. She is also certified as a Child Welfare Law Specialist by the National Association of Counsel for Children. Prior to joining DSS, Whittle spent 10 years in private practice, primarily practicing in Family Court.
According to law, the State Child Advocate is responsible for ensuring that children receive adequate protection and care from services or programs offered by the Department of Social Services, the Department of Mental Health, the Department of Health and Human Services, the Department of Juvenile Justice, the Department of Health and Environmental Control, the Department of Disabilities and Special Needs, the John de la Howe School, the Wil Lou Gray Opportunity School, and the School for the Deaf and Blind.
The Department of Child Advocacy will also “develop and promote a broad vision for reform, driven by the values and goals of child-serving agencies, to make the services and programs provided by state agencies more effective for children, youth, families, and communities.”
Additionally, the Department of Child Advocacy will assume multiple divisions relating to children that were previously housed within the Department of Administration, including: Cass Elias McCarter Guardian ad Litem Program, Division for Review of the Foster Care of Children, Continuum of Care for Emotionally disturbed Children Division, and the Interagency System for Caring for Emotionally Disturbed Children.
Whittle, 47, is a resident of Aiken County.
S. 805 goes into effect July 1 of this year.