Post and Courier reporter wins national award for series on children’s homes

Post and Courier reporter Lauren Sausser has been named the winner of an investigative reporting award from the Association of Health Care Journalists for her three-part series on group homes for children in South Carolina.

The association honors the best health reporting in print, broadcast and online media across the country. Other winners this year include The Wall Street Journal, The Oregonian and the (Minneapolis) Star Tribune.

Sausser’s “Warehousing our Children” series, published in July, revealed that South Carolina sends its youngest foster children into group homes and institutions at a higher rate than any other state in the country, even though experts agree that these facilities may subject some children to severe abuse and neglect and that they don’t provide the kind of emotional support most children need.

Judges for the contest called the series “impressive reporting and a moving account of harm to children.”

The Post and Courier’s series about the state’s perpetually high infant mortality rate placed second in the Association of Health Care Journalists’ public health category.

“Cradle of Shame” was written by reporters Doug Pardue and Sausser. It also was published in 2015.