USC Pro Bono Program director to lead Children’s Justice Task Force in SC

By Peggy Binette,, 803-777-5400

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful committed citizens can change the world; indeed it is the only thing that ever does.”

Pamela RobinsonMargaret Mead’s words perfectly describe the work of the South Carolina’s Children’s Justice Task Force, says its newly elected chair, Pamela Robinson, director of the Pro Bono Program at the University of South Carolina’s School of Law.

“In South Carolina, the Children’s Justice Task Force plays a vital role in protecting children from child abuse and neglect,” Robinson said. “Our important charge includes the assessing of the state’s response to abuse and neglect, making and implementing recommendations to improve those systems and affecting policy so that it is consistent with those recommendations and our mission.”

Robinson was among several members recently elected to lead the Children’s Justice Task Force, a federally funded program that helps states improve the investigation, prosecution and judicial handling of cases of child abuse and neglect.

In addition to Robinson, new members include 9th Judicial Family Court Judge Daniel E. Martin Jr., 3rd Judicial Circuit Family Court Judge George M. McFaddin Jr., Heather Scalzo, assistant public defender in Greenville County, and Margaret Ortiz, Hispanic outreach coordinator for Family Connections of S.C. They join Elizabeth Ralston, vice-chair, and 31 other members who represent a spectrum disciplines that range from law enforcement and healthcare professionals to judges, attorneys and parents.

South Carolina has maintained the Children’s Justice Task Force since 1994, with the Children’s Law Center at the USC School of Law providing staff support.

The task force was established to fulfill the 1974 Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act, which was amended by the Children’s Justice and Assistance Act in 1986. The amended act not only encourages states to improve the handling of child abuse cases but provides the monetary funds to do so.

For more information about the Children’s Justice Task Force, visit USC’s Children’s Law Center website.