By SEANNA ADCOX
COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) - The Department of Social Services director says the task of protecting South Carolina's elderly and disabled adults has become an "afterthought" at the agency.
Susan Alford told a Senate panel that a decade of budget cuts and staff shortages have "marginalized" such services, but she's working to change that.
The Senate panel that's been investigating DSS since January 2014 has focused on children's deaths amid high caseloads.
Now the panel plans to turn its attention to vulnerable adults.
South Carolina's over-64 population is among the nation's fastest growing.
Yet, fewer vulnerable adults are receiving services through DSS.
Alford expects to seek money for more caseworkers in the upcoming budget, both for children and adults.