State evaluation reveals several deficiencies at Wilkes County DSS

WILKES COUNTY, N.C. — The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services has released a six-page evaluation report that outlines several deficiencies within the Wilkes County Department of Social Services.

The investigation began after state officials learned of a case where Wilkes County social workers removed two young girls from one abusive home, then placed them in a home where they were sexually abused again.

North Carolina Division of Social Services staffers reviewed a sample of 28 cases in March and found problems involving leadership, oversight, and record-keeping.

The report also revealed that Child Protective Services workers in Wilkes County interviewed and did background checks on all adults in the child’s home in only 35.3 percent of all cases. Ongoing visits to make sure the child was safe only happened in 11.8 percent of cases.

“DHHS staff conducted a thorough review of the Wilkes County Child Welfare Program, focusing on child protective services, and we identified several areas needing improvement and deficiencies that must be addressed. DHHS takes the safety and well-being of every child very seriously, and we will provide the technical assistance necessary to ensure that the Wilkes County Child Welfare Program is strengthened,” said Wayne Black, Director of DHHS Division of Social Services in a statement.

The report says Wilkes County DSS has to come up with a plan to address the issues spelled out by the state. There will be a follow up review within six months to see if Wilkes County has made any progress.

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