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State DHHS takes control of Bertie County DSS Child Welfare Services

Published: May. 13, 2022 at 4:42 PM EDT|Updated: May. 16, 2022 at 5:34 PM EDT
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RALEIGH, N.C. (WITN) - The state Department of Health and Human Services has announced it will temporarily take leadership of Child Welfare Services at the Bertie County Department of Social Services Monday.

The NCDHHS says the action is authorized under state law, and Bertie County and BCDSS are aware and have supported the temporary action.

The state health agency said it conducted a review of Child Welfare Services in Bertie County after learning of major concerns around its practice, delivery, and administration.

In a letter from the DHHS to the BCDSS, Secretary Kody Kinsley said the state has been working with the county’s department since April 18th “on serious concerns involving the administration of child welfare services in the county.”

Kinsley says his department told BCDSS they needed to take immediate action to ensure their services were lawful, and DHHS members even visited the county to check on operations.

DHHS staff says information they gathered “revealed a systemic lack of adequate training, supervision, and capacity to deliver appropriate child welfare services in accordance with law, rule, and policy.”

The agency says it will be onsite at the county’s DSS during the interim period and will work closely with staff to manage and stabilize Child Welfare Services, and create a plan to make the service lawful and appropriate.

Kinsley said: “There is much work to be done to bring Bertie County DSS into compliance with our state laws, rules, and policies. Given the critical work performed by our child welfare system, and the urgency we face, NCDHHS is taking this action to help stabilize Bertie County child welfare services.”

On Monday, May 16th, WITN attempted to speak with the Bertie County DSS and the county manager’s office. Neither could be reached for comment.

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