About Florence County Disabilities & Special Needs

Florence County Disabilities and Special Needs Board began in 1981 and was known as Lake City Area Citizens for the Mentally Handicapped. The Organization was established to promote the welfare, training and recreational for people with intellectual disabilities. It began with four employees and served 18 people.

On 1982, the Lake City Area Citizens for the Mentally Handicapped joined the Lake City Development Center, Florence Adult Development Center and Friends of the Mentally Handicapped Children and established the Florence County Mental Retardation Board. By-Laws and a Constitution were established and seven Board members were nominated by the Florence County Delegation and appointed by the Governor. The Florence County Mental Retardation Board operated under the South Carolina Mental Retardation Board.

The purpose of the organization was as follows:

  • Promote general welfare, care, supervision and treatment of developmental disabilities and the physically or intellectual handicapped.
  • Promote programs such as day care, recreation, schooling, and training in self-help skills, personality development and socialization.
  • Promote understanding of the problems of the intellectually disabled by the general public and promote public support and assistance.
  • Solicit and collect funds, gifts, or personal property fro the purpose of assisting people with developmental and related disabilities.
  • Hire and train personnel or services to carry out the purposes of providing services and support to people with intellectual and related disabilities.
  • Coordinate developmental disability activities in Florence County.

On November 29, 1993, Legislature changed the name of the South Carolina Department of Mental Retardation to South Carolina Department of Disabilities and Special Needs. Therefore, the name of the Florence County Mental Retardation Board was changed to Florence County Disabilities and Special Needs Board and services and supports were extended to people with developmental disabilities, autism and head and spinal cord injuries.

Today, Florence County Disabilities and Special Needs Board has approximately 325 employees and provides services and supports to over 1000 people.

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Our Vision & Mission

Our vision is to be the premier provider in promoting and supporting self-determination, personal growth and inclusion for people to achieve their desired outcomes. Our mission statement is centered around RESPECT: Respecting; Educating; Supporting Person's Expectations and; Choices with Trust.

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Our Guiding Principles

  • Trust and Respect for others (Golden Rule)
  • Person-centered, quality enhanced service delivery in the pursuit of excellence
  • Prevention
  • Health and Safety
  • Resource efficiency

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Facts & Figures - HIDDEN TEMPORARILY

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Members of the Board

Florence County Disabilities and Special Needs Board are nominated by the Florence County Delegation and are appointed by the Governor. 

Board members are appointed as representatives from various Legislative House Districts. 

Our board members are as follows:

  • Dr. Roy Hudgens, Chairman. Dr. Hudgens was appointed to the DSN Board on May 16, 2002. He lives in Florence, SC and represents House District #63.
  • Dr. Ila McFadden, Vice Chair. Dr. Ila McFadden was appointed to the Board on June 14, 2002. She lives in Olanta and represents House District #60.
  • Mrs. Lou Vause, Secretary. Mrs. Lou Vause was appointed to the Board on March 18, 2004. She lives in Timmonsville and represents House District #60.
  • Mr. John Cusack. Mr. John Cusack was appointed to the Board on August 29, 1997. He lives in Pamplico and represents House District #61. 
  • Mr. Harry Patterson. Mr. Harry Patterson was appointed to the Board on March 27, 2007. He lives in Florence and represents House District #63.

Florence County Disabilities and Special Needs Board members are volunteers and do not receive pay for their services. Meetings are held monthly except for the months of July and December.

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