The Coroner’s Office C.O.N.E.C.T. Team will support and provide comfort to surviving family members and their friends through a partnership with area ministers and grief counselors.
The C.O.N.E.C.T. Team is composed of compassionate caring volunteers who are willing to reach out into the community to connect with someone they do not know – offering a kind word and a caring presence when a family member receives the notification of a death from our office.
In South Carolina, it is the Coroner’s Office that notifies the next of kin of a death. With the C.O.N.E.C.T. Team, a volunteer is on call to accompany the Deputy Coroner who notifies the family of a death. A volunteer also may follow-up with a family contact within a few days or weeks after initial notification.
The goal of the C.O.N.E.C.T. Team is to have a volunteer available to be with a family. The volunteer helps fill in the gap in that short period of time between the delivery of death notification and the activation of the family’s personal support system.
C.O.N.E.C.T. Team volunteers offer support and emotional first aid that may include:
- Bringing a calming presence to survivors
- Helping contact and convene other family, friends, and community support
- Helping survivors know the next steps
- Suggesting ways for survivors to care for themselves and one another
- Providing information and resources on frequently asked questions
The C.O.N.E.C.T. Team sponsors a Holiday Memorial and Remembrance Gathering near the end of each year. Volunteers are invited to attend county burials to be with family and friends of the deceased.
There is a formal application and orientation process for C.O.N.E.C.T. Team volunteers. This process includes periodic training opportunities; continuing education in crisis care; understanding of crisis reactions, response, and grief care.
We encourage other Coroners and counties in South Carolina to offer volunteer outreach to citizens served by their offices. We offer consultation and leadership in C.O.N.E.C.T. Team development to Coroners throughout the state. Most recently we have been in conversation with York, Lexington, Orangeburg, and Hampton counties who are in various stages of C.O.N.E.C.T. Team development and implementation.