RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCT) — Effective Monday, the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services will temporarily assume leadership of child welfare services at the Bertie County Department of Social Services, the state announced Friday.

Bertie County and Bertie County Department of Social Services leadership are aware and have expressed support of this temporary action, according to a press release.

“Supporting the well-being of children and their families is a top priority for the department, and we take seriously our role in helping children grow up in safe, loving, permanent homes,” said NCDHHS Secretary Kody Kinsley. “Taking this urgent, temporary action will help us work collaboratively with Bertie County leadership to strengthen the county’s ability to deliver child welfare services.”
 
NCDHHS initiated a review of child welfare services in Bertie County after learning of serious concerns around its practice, delivery and administration of child welfare services. Subsequent information gathered during NCDHHS’ communication with Bertie County DSS leadership and staff, case and record reviews and on-site visits revealed a systemic lack of adequate training, supervision and capacity to deliver appropriate child welfare services in accordance with law, rule and policy. 
 
“We have a responsibility to make sure that children in Bertie County are safe and healthy,” said Bertie County Manager Juan Vaughan II. “Given the critical work performed by child welfare services, we agree that this temporary action is urgent and necessary, and we look forward to working together with NCDHHS to strengthen our work with vulnerable children and families.”
 
NCDHHS staff will be on site at the Bertie County Department of Social Services during this interim period and will work closely with staff to manage and stabilize child welfare services as well as develop a plan to bring it into compliance with all applicable laws and appropriate practices.