When a special state Senate panel tasked with reviewing the Department of Social Services convenes Wednesday morning at 9 a.m., the senators won't hear from that agency's director.
Director Lillian Koller will not testify Wednesday morning, her spokeswoman Marilyn Matheus confirmed to The Buzz late Tuesday.
Instead, Jessica Hanak-Coulter, deputy director of human services, will testify.
Koller has returned to work after taking a medical leave in December for an undisclosed ailment.
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But she still would not testify for health reasons, Matheus said Tuesday.
The panel formed last year after state Sen. Joel Lourie, D-Richland, wanted to review the deaths of three Richland County children who were abused and involved with Social Services in some way.
Last week, the panel heard from parents and grandparents of children in the system and advocacy officials.
Lourie said he hopes to learn at Wednesday's hearing more about how Social Services assesses children and families "and what changes they made, and why so many advocacy groups from around South Carolina feel these changes have been detrimental" to children.
Expressing sensitivity to Koller's health, Lourie added that the panel's work would "not be completed until we hear directly from her."