Social services annual report presented

Published 12:25 pm Thursday, September 6, 2018

The Tyrrell County Department of Social Services incurred administrative expenses of $1,185,736 during the fiscal year that ended June 30, and it received $365,141 from the county and $820,595 from other sources, reported Brandy B. Mann, director.

In July the state Department of Health and Human Services mandated performance standards in all 100 counties, with the threat of state takeover or “pulled funding” for non-compliance.

“At this time, some performance measures will be difficult for small counties since the caseloads are small and one case can skew the percentages,” Mann reported. She added that Tyrrell DSS “will strive to meet the expectations.”

Over 700 Tyrrell residents received Food and Nutrition Services benefits (formerly food stamps), and more than 1,000 receive Medicaid.

(The most current certified state population estimate for Tyrrell was 4,136 in July 2016. The federal census count in 2010 was 4,407.)

Mann reported that 37 program fraud investigations were conducted in the 2018 fiscal year, up from 17 in 2017 and only one case in 2016. During fiscal 2018 the agency recouped $7,539 from clients who fraudulently obtained services.

Eight children were taken into DSS custody as a result of 37 reports of alleged abuse, neglect, or dependency. The investigations prompted one caretaker to be criminally charged with felony indecent liberties with a child and two to be charged with misdemeanor child abuse, Mann stated.

Tyrrell County’s sole foster home was licensed by DSS in May.

Adult Services received 30 reports of alleged abuse, neglect or exploitation of an elderly or disabled adult. The agency currently has five wards and is fully responsible for deciding their placement, healthcare, and basic needs.

Mann also reported that Adult Services continues to handle multiple complaint investigations and monitoring visits on a monthly basis at the assisted living, Tyrrell House. These visits require thorough investigations including review of medication, healthcare compliance, personal care, supervision, resident rights, funds, food and nutrition, physical environment, staffing, admissions, discharges, tranfers, and activities. If there are any findings, Tyrell House is required to comply with a Plan of Protection as well as a Plan of Correction.

Recent staff changes at Tyrrell DSS include newcomers Rachel Hofmann, Cara Spruill and Hollie Ambrose, all in the Economic Services unit.