Taking a new, in-depth look at the state system for protecting children was approved Monday by the state Legislative Audit Council.

The Council unanimously approved the decision as part of a new audit it ordered of the state Department of Social Services.

“This is really more of a look at Child Protective Services,” said state Rep. Jenny Horne, R-Summerville, who spoke to the Council at its meeting in Charleston.

Horne said her concerns are based on constituent complaints about the safety of at-risk children. She said children have died because the system failed them.

“We’ve had way too many dead children lately. Children of this state are being placed at great risk,” she said.

Horne said she discussed her concerns with DSS leaders, and they have shown a willingness to work with her to address her worries. The last audit of the agency was in 2006, she said.

“I think they (DSS) need another look. Where there is smoke there is fire,” she said.

More than 30 members of the state House Republican Caucus, including Horne, expressed concerns about child protection in South Carolina in a three-page letter to the Council.

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