On Thursday, June 22, at a press conference and in a press release, Guilford County officials explained the actions the county is taking to address the eye-opening problems recently discovered in the Guilford County Division of Social Services.
After three children were killed in a housefire late last year, an investigation by the state found that Guilford County Child Protective Services workers and other DSS staff were not abiding by policies and rules meant to keep kids safe.
In the June 22 press release, Guilford County provided details of the Corrective Action Plan the county has submitted to the state.
Guilford County Assistant County Manager Victor Isler stated on Thursday, “We recognize the community has questions about how the county’s Child Welfare team is performing, and we are going to be transparent about our plan and our progress implementing it because we are talking about the lives of families and children, and we want all members of our community, especially those families and children we serve, to know we take this very seriously.”
Isler added that the county is “committed to the protection of children and the preservation of families” and is taking comprehensive steps to address the state’s findings.
In addition to actions demanded by the state, the county is forming a new Child Welfare Support and Early Intervention Team that will provide preventative services to families “who rise to the attention of DSS, but do not meet the legal threshold for an assessment.” Though that won’t happen until next year.
Guilford County filed its proposed action plan on Thursday, June 15 and has created a page on the county’s website that allows the public to track the implementation of that plan.
The Corrective Action Plan includes things like adding more DSS staff, providing more training and allowing more oversight by the court system.
DSS is also bringing back recent retirees to “support all supervisors in further developing coaching and modeling for staff,” and is reorganizing the Children’s Services Division in a way that’s meant to improve outcomes.
Guilford County will provide a report on progress to the state, county commissioners and the public within 30 days of final acceptance of the proposed plan by the state.