State DSS to review Union County policies

by: Jim Bradley Updated:


UPDATE (Tuesday, Nov. 19): Union County Sheriff’s deputies originally told Channel 9 on Friday the boy was a foster child, but on Tuesday officials with the Department of Social Services told Channel 9 the couple had legal guardianship over the boy and he was not part of the foster system.

Union County leaders spent Monday doing damage control after a scandal involving the county's Department of Social Services.

DSS supervisor Wanda Sue Larson was suspended after being arrested for child abuse. Sheriff's deputies say her 11-year-old son was found handcuffed to a pole at her home with a dead chicken tied around his neck.

The state's director of Social Services told Eyewitness News he's sending investigators to Union County to begin a review of policies and procedures at the local DSS office. Wayne Black said the review is being done at the request of Union County.

Union County issued a written statement Monday saying it "wishes to express concerns and compassion" for the child at the center of the controversy.

Larson and Dorian Harper had a total of five children living with them. Union County said none of those children were placed in the home by local DSS while Larson was working for DSS. Asked to clarify whether that means the children were placed there by DSS in another county, spokesman Brett Vines said he couldn't offer any more information.

The arrest and alleged abuse have left many Union County residents outraged and demanding answers from local leaders. "They need to let the public know what their intentions are of how they're going to handle it," said Carla Clingerman. "If you can't follow the law, how can you direct others people to follow the law?"

Larson began working for Union County DSS in 2003 and was promoted to supervisor. In 2009, she was given an award for child safety by the Union County Violence Prevention Taskforce.


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