Many people expected the Guilford County commissioners to say something about the recent Guilford County Division of Social Services (DSS) scandal in which State of North Carolina investigators discovered that social services workers in Child Protective Services and other DSS workers dealing with kids have been completely ignoring duty, policy and the law in many cases.
However, that job is being taken on by county staff.
The investigation began after three children being overseen by Guilford County DSS were killed in a house fire last December.
On Thursday, June 22, county staff held a press conference in the Carolyn Coleman Conference Room on the first floor of the Old Guilford County Court House to answer questions regarding the case and to explain how the county would address the major shortfalls exposed by the state’s investigation.
One of the more interesting questions was answered in an email following the conference: No county employees have been fired as a result of the revelations.
A statement from the county, responding to a question asked during the press conference, reads, “There have been no terminations to date. Accountability is a core value of the County and we are committed to reviewing this matter at a systems level as well as service delivery, which includes looking at individual performance.”
The problems in DSS became public early last week after a Thursday, May 16 letter from the NC Department of Health and Human Services became public. That scathing letter exposed findings of the state that some county social services workers were completely ignoring many of the rules and practices meant to keep kids in the county’s care safe.
Before the Guilford County Board of Commissioners meeting on Thursday, June 15, Chairman of the Board of Commissioners Skip Alston said he anticipated that the board would have a comment following a closed session discussion with the county attorney.
However, the commissioners did not say anything after that discussion and still haven’t said anything publicly about DSS problems. One high-ranking county official said one major reason nothing was said is because the county is concerned with potential negligence charges in lawsuits that might be filed against Guilford County.
This week, before the county’s press conference, Alston reiterated that he could not say anything and added that county staff was taking the lead on informing the public through the June 22 press conference as to the corrective steps that are being taken.