Union Co. leaders' plan to overhaul child welfare

by: Blair Miller Updated:


UNION COUNTY, N.C. - Union County leaders released their plan to overhaul the Child Welfare Program at the Department of Social Services Monday night. 

DSS became the focus of a state and local investigation when one of its supervisors was charged with felony child abuse.
Commissioners said they were already reviewing the department before Wanda Larson was arrested. The commissioners have been looking at making some major changes with what started as an internal investigation but later turned into a process involving outside consultants.

“It’s a plan to improve Union County’s children’s welfare program,” said Commissioner Jonathan Thomas.

Thomas also said the report is important for the county because it comes from an outside source.  Deputies also say they found an 11-year-old boy in the care of Larson who was handcuffed to the porch with a dead chicken hanging around his neck. 

Since this occurred, the county has made major changes to keep anything like this from happening again. 

Five social service workers have been fired and a top manager has been demoted since the arrest. 

Richard Matens, executive director of Union County Human Services, said the county was already in the process of an internal review when Larson was first arrested.

The state signed off on the changes two weeks ago.