SC

SCDSS Whistleblower Memo Leaked

A FRIGHTENING LOOK INSIDE THE PALMETTO STATE’S “WELFARE” AGENCY In case you hadn’t heard, things are bad at S.C. Gov. Nikki Haley‘s Department of Social Services (SCDSS).  Like … real bad. FITS first began exposing the many issues with this agency more than two years ago (while the rest of the state’s…

A FRIGHTENING LOOK INSIDE THE PALMETTO STATE’S “WELFARE” AGENCY

In case you hadn’t heard, things are bad at S.C. Gov. Nikki Haley‘s Department of Social Services (SCDSS).  Like … real bad.

FITS first began exposing the many issues with this agency more than two years ago (while the rest of the state’s media was sound asleep).  These reports that have since mushroomed into a full-fledged debacle for Haley.  The governor’s “rock star” director – Lillian Koller – resigned in disgrace in June (thanks to this story), and now the agency is weeks (maybe days) away from the release of a damning audit.

After failing to sweep the scandal under the rug, Haley has since done her best to target the state lawmakers who are investigating SCDSS.

She’s already gone after her one-time ally Katrina Shealy – who is leading a state panel investigating the agency – and sources tell FITS she’s now attempting to discredit S.C. Rep. Jenny Horne, the lawmaker who initially requested the forthcoming SCDSS audit.

S.C. lawmakers are meeting next Tuesday – September 16 – to try and figure out what the hell to do with the mess.

Not surprisingly, they’re trying to determine exactly what’s wrong – and what they should do to fix the problems.

Courtesy of a whistleblower at the agency, here are some suggestions …

(Click to enlarge)

scdss 001 scdss 002 scdss 003 scdss 004

As you can see, this memo (obtained exclusively by FITS) is brutal …

Specifically, it accuses the agency of all sorts of data manipulation including fixing numbers for audits “so DSS looks good.”  It also questions multi-million dollar contracts awarded by former director Lillian Koller – and calls attention to a massive decline in licensed foster homes used by the agency (3,288 in February of 2011 compared to 2,541 in February of 2014).

The memo also references an “exodus” of qualified staffers at multiple levels of the agency, including “county directors, supervisors, county workers, seasoned workers, new workers and very new workers.”

“Some are forced out, some are fired, and some are getting out of the hostile environment,” the whistleblower adds, noting that “it costs taxpayers an astounding amount of money to keep re-hiring and retraining staff for the same position.”

“By the time this administration leaves, the rest of us will have a real mess on our hands and a lot of lives to clean up,” the author of the memo writes.

“We are threatened and demeaned,” the memo concludes.  “We go into homes in squalor; we are exposed to roaches, rates, head lice and fleas. Daily we are confronted by children with broken bones, broken families and broken spirits.  We get yelled at by hostile families and get berated by family court judges. With law enforcement, we remove children crying, screaming and cursing while parents are reacting in a myriad of ways.  Workers cry in the hallway because of the stress.  The paperwork is outrageous and repetitive.  People like to judge us before they walk in our shoes.  This is not a job for the faint of heart but for those who are passionate for our vulnerable children and adults.  Contrary to the numbers offered by (the) state office, caseloads are high – turnover of staff will do that.    Now (legislators are) shaking their heads, wondering what is happening at DSS.”

Wow …

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74 comments

Tunes'n'News September 9, 2014 at 5:23 pm

I’ve got some first hand knowledge of SCDSS workings. The last paragraph is spot on. God Bless the good folks who work there. It’s a really difficult job at very little pay. Unless you don’t give a rats ass and don’t do your job. For those folks, it’s money for nothing.

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SC Political Digest September 9, 2014 at 5:25 pm

You liberals created this welfare state, of irresponsible, unaccountable “parents.”

Are you so stupid you think you can use your incompetence, and ignorance, to damage people who oppose your solutions and failure?

PS: Koller is gone. And it sounds like it’s democrat voters abusing the children, along w/ liberal judges. I think Sheheen has got a lot a ‘splainin’ to do. This is his baby..and he seems to have neglected it, much like the people who empower you democrats.

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Soft Sigh from Hell September 9, 2014 at 6:02 pm

Do we add “Kicks kids when they are down and out” to GlansTangle’s rap sheet.

Fortunately Sen. Shealy can separate political expediency from childrens’ safety and well-being. And kudos to Rep. Horne too.

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Buz Martin September 9, 2014 at 6:20 pm

Never thought I’d up-vote ANYTHING good said about Shealy. But I just did it, with your comment.

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SC Political Digest September 9, 2014 at 6:29 pm

How long before you peer behind the shadows to see – as only you, RonPaul and FITS, can…her in a sweetheart deal w/ Jakie to lure jobs to Lexington or outlaw nudie clubs so she can secretly open her own???…LMAO….

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Buz Martin September 9, 2014 at 11:05 pm

Your delusions know no bounds, do they?

RogueElephant September 9, 2014 at 7:18 pm

Senator Shealy is truly a rose among thorns in the senate. One fine lady on her way to being a great senator.

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Hugh September 9, 2014 at 8:35 pm

Yeah, and she opposes your darling Haley.
She also opposed your butt buddy Bauer!

RogueElephant September 10, 2014 at 8:14 am

I didn’t say she was perfect.

SC Political Digest September 9, 2014 at 6:26 pm

America is in a state of decadence, selfishness and trashiness because of people like you. Liberals promote every and any vice or evil that comes down the pike….Aren’t you always savaging Christians, when we denounce drugs, drunkenness, sleazes and irresponsibility?

Those children w/ broken bones, or beaten to death, are your answer. But like all liberals, you flee from your handiwork, when it manifests….

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RogueElephant September 9, 2014 at 7:20 pm

It’s called The Great Society + 50 yrs of rot.

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Forensic Audit Needed! September 9, 2014 at 8:12 pm

Your common sense always stands out. Love it!!

larry September 12, 2014 at 5:31 am

At least it was an attempt to correct some of the wrongs from the past of how people was treated. How did your people treated other people that did not look like you?

BigT's Big Fat Paintbrush September 9, 2014 at 7:31 pm

What a simple-minded statement, Tangs. Hypocrites like you are killing your ’16 chances. Also, looks liie Haley’s PR machine’s having an “Oh, fuck!” moment…

How much canvas does your ass need to paint a picture?

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nitrat September 9, 2014 at 8:42 pm

Child welfare existed decades before the New Deal was a glimmer in FDR’s eye…you fool.
And, if you’ve ever heard of Charles Dickens, you would know that there were ‘poor houses’ for a century before that…you ignorant, uneducated fool.

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Tunes'n'News September 9, 2014 at 5:32 pm

And the multiple paragraphs on page 2 and 3 about the money spent on private agency contracts is SPOT ON! These people are not really accountable, are used as tools to get the numbers down, and generally gum up the works rather than moving things more efficiently or in the best interests of the children or families involved.

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Forensic Audits Needed September 9, 2014 at 8:11 pm

They are leeches. And independent forensic investigation will uncover criminal conduct.

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Jenny Folks September 9, 2014 at 9:48 pm

A forensic investigation of where Ervin’s money is coming from? Good idea.

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nitrat September 9, 2014 at 8:40 pm

There has got to be kickbacks or campaign contributions coming out the wazoos of every one of those contractors.

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Gale September 9, 2014 at 5:43 pm

This needs to be investigated by the feds starting with the occupants of the mansion.

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Mark September 9, 2014 at 8:54 pm

Haley is feckless and the voters desperately need to wake up and forbid her a disastrous second term!

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Jenny Folks September 9, 2014 at 9:46 pm

Elect Obama Jr or horseface Ervin and that ugly bitch he calls a wife? No way!

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Vote Haley out September 9, 2014 at 10:33 pm

You mean Haley as far as Obama Jr……right they are just alike in terms of self serving liars.

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larry September 12, 2014 at 5:01 am

Why is there so much hate to Sheheen and Ervin? to call people names and his wife a bitch do you hate them that bad yes I don,t like Haley but I am not calling her a bitch it all about what,s going on over at DSS and can she manage it for the betterment of the children under their control and if you like Haley then tell us what she is doing good for those kids there but this name calling is not helping

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mark September 10, 2014 at 11:35 am

Is it true that her parents are living in the mansion while their Spence’s Plantation lake home is on the market?

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Baley September 9, 2014 at 5:49 pm

Sheheen and Ervin need to go there and talk to the workers.

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Jenny Folks September 9, 2014 at 9:43 pm

I agree. Sheheen can shit his pants and Ervin can ask for a loan.

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Sharon September 9, 2014 at 10:34 pm

And Haley can keep telling her idiot staff to cover up shit till after the election asshole.

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Is vacation over already? September 10, 2014 at 12:14 am

Why the name change Sandi?

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Sable September 9, 2014 at 5:56 pm

Duh, I worked at DSS for 10 years in the 70’s and 80’s. Sounds like its about the same its always been. It goes in cycles: big scandal, a committee or something is assigned to “fix” it, there are some personnel changes and some “new” procedures. Things quiet down for a while. Then a new scandal and the cycle starts over. DSS is primarily welfare and food stamps. Child protection is a sideline and its always been that way. The legislature set it up long ago and the restructuring of 1993 doesn’t seem to have made much difference over the years.

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nitrat September 9, 2014 at 8:38 pm

I worked a decade + before the cabinet system and another decade + after the cabinet.
You have no concept of the deterioration that occurred within less than 5 years of the implementation of the cabinet system. SC is simply not going to elect governors who are interested in actual governing as opposed to the salary, perks and benefits.
It accelerated under the now 12 years of the Sanford/Haley administration when the pure political hacks started being appointed state director.

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Fostered Dude September 9, 2014 at 6:03 pm

Throw that bitch in jail!

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Jenny Folks September 9, 2014 at 9:49 pm

Kathryn? Na.

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Baruch September 9, 2014 at 6:27 pm

What happens when people who don’t believe in government run government.

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Uncle Ruckus September 10, 2014 at 1:38 am

Come on now, finding homes for black childrens is almost as tough as finding homes for old pound dogs.

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PleaseRightThisShip September 9, 2014 at 6:32 pm

This will hurt Nikki. You know, I actually like her, she has ruled in a moderate way, but I think she is way in over her head. I like her ads about bullying. She has a nice decent streak within her heart. She is too much politician, and too little a problem solver.

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In the know September 9, 2014 at 6:53 pm

It’s ironic bc Nikki Haley is a BULLY.

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Queen Jean September 9, 2014 at 9:40 pm

Nikki is just an amateur BULLY. I am the consummate, professional BULLY. Thank you. Nikki should follow my lead – just hire poor, dumb robots who KNOW they are indebted to you for life and one can be covered for decades.

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Beartrkkr September 10, 2014 at 2:10 am

But she’s got your back…

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Concerned for SC September 10, 2014 at 6:08 pm

Holy cow, Haley parading out a middle school child who was suicidal to show how concerned she is??? If this child wasn’t actually bullied before these ads, she certainly is now. I hope that this is just political hype and not the actual child.

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Iftheyonlyknew September 9, 2014 at 6:35 pm

DHEC’s whistleblower email is coming at some point, if it’s not already sitting on a legislator’s desk.

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How Now September 9, 2014 at 8:26 pm

What will the topics be there do you think?

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Jenny Folks September 9, 2014 at 9:53 pm

LMAO! Is it from the source on I-26? Fool.

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Iftheyonlyknew September 10, 2014 at 9:06 pm

Huh?

Sources in the Asylum are abounding.

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billbrasky September 10, 2014 at 9:29 am

Hopefully the LAC won’t audit them….we might have to wait another decade before we ever hear back from them.

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Janes pains September 9, 2014 at 7:32 pm

YOU MIGHT ASK who really implemented all of this. The same people who are running the agency now! Jessica Hanak-Coulter and Amber Gillum. Lillian was a hapless pawn of Isabel Blanco (whose policies got GA workers arrested) and Jessica. Amber executed the contracts and made up the data.

YOU MIGHT ASK where Isabel now works….Casey Foundation.

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Tozzle September 9, 2014 at 7:46 pm

Jessica and Amber are not experienced – they’re way over their heads.

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Janes pains September 9, 2014 at 8:44 pm

Amen. But they are more than inexperienced. They are horrid and care not one whit about kids. They have sold their souls to the devil and been responsible for murdering kids. They should be indicted for what they have done.

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nitrat September 10, 2014 at 2:43 pm

And, Casey is the SOURCE of all the keep-the-kids-with-abusive-parents crap across this country.

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Love Life September 10, 2014 at 3:42 pm

Yes I can’t stand CASEY Foundation is CRAP!!!!! They are taking dollars away from much needed salarie increases. My question is……why did Haley go to Hawaii to find the right administration.

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Wal-Mart September 9, 2014 at 7:38 pm

Looks like Haley’s numbers keep on “Rolling Back” and that pesky election is drawing nearer…

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Amy September 9, 2014 at 7:47 pm

NikkI Haley has been a disaster since day one.

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Catherine September 9, 2014 at 8:28 pm

Amen!

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Shutupimtalking September 9, 2014 at 7:59 pm

FINALLY! Now action is needed. Don’t let those who dare speak up risk everything in vain. Let’s face it when the agency administration knows it is so distrusted by county staff that they hire a consulting firm for damage control and to help improve communication, it’s time to make serious changes in the leadership this administration has touted and values so much.

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Love Life September 9, 2014 at 9:34 pm

Amazing how DSS continue to move in the wrong direction. There is a need for extreme changes starting with the acting state director, the state deputy director, the human services director, the team leaders and especially all of these HAVE NO CLUE what their doing county directors!!!! It a shame what these county directors like the one in Charlesto County is being paid. Go to SC State Salaries data base and be wowed!!!!

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It Is Over For Obama September 9, 2014 at 7:59 pm

Inexperienced overpaid directors … my count, there are several hundred directors being paid between 80 grand and 100 grand a year + annual leave + sick leave + more than the norm “holiday pay.”
Its a mess at DSS so big, it will take years to get it under control and straightened out. The corruption and fleecing of tax payer dollars is a free for all. False Claim Act violations out the ying yang.

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CLEAR IT OUT NOW!!!! September 9, 2014 at 8:07 pm

The ones working on the inside – the ones who have been there for years – those are the ones who should be getting promoted to director spots.
Large companies I have worked for, they have suggestion boxes. And each week, an unbiased, impartial panel discusses anonymous or signed employees suggestions. Many were utilized.

This mess with State Government is every where. Its not disgruntled employees. Its those at the top who might be have master degrees and the like, but they really don’t know what in the fuck they are doing! NO EXPERIENCE. NO KNOW HOW. Never really run much of anything – and if they have, I bet it was UN-SUCCESSFUL.

Same thing in the House of Representatives … same thing in the SC Senate …. one hell of a corrupt mess.
And who pays for this? YOU!

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Clean House September 9, 2014 at 8:25 pm

It’s in middle management as well. I don’t know about at DSS but at certain other agencies they are prominent among the main problems, not particularly the top.

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Bonnie September 9, 2014 at 8:33 pm

Like:
Koller
Kitzman
St. Onge
Turner
Adams
Schroder
Keel
Hitt
Templeton
All Haley appointees, all failures!

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How Now? September 9, 2014 at 8:39 pm

Taylor at DNR?

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Soft Sigh from Hell September 9, 2014 at 8:46 pm

I would like to see lots more whistleblowing publicized.

I think that is one of the real values of the “alternative” media.

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Siamese September 9, 2014 at 8:55 pm

With all the federal monies involved in each agency, the whistleblowing should go to them. They are the only ones that can do anything at this point. I am talking forensic audits

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Sherry September 9, 2014 at 9:23 pm

The mainstream media never reports stories like this its always copy and paste. There is no more investigative jounalism left in this state. They all scared Haley will blackball them. Cowards.

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Vote Haley out September 9, 2014 at 10:38 pm

To lower caseloads, DSS will ask state lawmakers for
additional money in its budget next year to hire 202 more people,
including 109 child welfare caseworkers, 79 child welfare supervisors,
12 second shift caseworkers and 2 second shift supervisors.

Columbia, SC (WLTX) After months of questions, a state Senate
investigation, and its director’s resignation, the South Carolina
Department of Social Services is announcing some major changes aimed at
better protecting children and improving services.

One of the
biggest concerns at the agency has been the caseloads that many of its
workers are handling, with some having caseloads of more than 100.
There’s no universally accepted standard for how many cases one worker
should handle because it depends on things like the type of case and
what stage in the process each case is in. But the Child Welfare League
of America recommends that caseworkers handle no more than 12 cases that
involve investigations, 17 cases of family preservation, or 12 to 15
foster care cases.

To lower caseloads, DSS will ask state
lawmakers for additional money in its budget next year to hire 202 more
people, including 109 child welfare caseworkers, 79 child welfare
supervisors, 12 second shift caseworkers and 2 second shift supervisors.

But
that still needs legislative approval, and next year’s budget doesn’t
take effect until July 1, 2015. To lower caseloads before that, DSS will
start allowing cases to be shared across county lines.

Acting DSS
director Amber Gillum says, “Let’s say County A has fewer caseloads,
maybe more people, more capacity. County B is a larger county that may
be a little overwhelmed. Are there some cases in County B that County A
workers can manage, to even it out a little bit?”

DSS is also
looking for ways to improve its processes and paperwork, looking for
where bottlenecks and backlogs happen within the system to find ways to
speed things up.

It’s also looking at ways to keep its best
workers, including pay raises and creating new career options, so the
people who do the best work with clients keep doing that instead of
getting promoted to positions in which they’re supervising others.

Jessica
Hanak-Coulter, deputy director for human resources at DSS, says,
“Identifying lead workers as a career-ladder path, so those
practitioners who are great practitioners, and we need them to stay
practitioners, how might we reward them for good work and also have them
model, mentor, and teach other workers?”

The agency is also
asking for feedback from its caseworkers about what the agency can do to
help them. Would it help the workers, and the agency, for DSS to pay
for additional college courses? DSS is already looking at creating a new
position and hiring assistant caseworkers, people who can handle
administrative duties so caseworkers have more time to spend with
children and families.

The agency has already taken the step of
hiring a new liaison to coordinate efforts between DSS and law
enforcement. In July, it hired Jackie Swindler, a 37-year law
enforcement veteran who’s the former Chief of Police for the City of
Newberry. There have been cases when law enforcement is looking for
parents at the same time that DSS is looking for the children or a child
of those same parents, but DSS and law enforcement haven’t coordinated
their efforts. This new liaison position will do that.

DSS will also publish on its website all of the information about children who die of abuse and neglect.

Gillum
says, “The most important thing is looking at what happened, looking at
the system, identifying areas that we can improve upon if needed to
make sure that we’re doing everything we can to prevent it from
happening again.”

Fucking too late idiots….they didn’t ask for these funds because Haley told them not to…..thats her standing orders for cabinet agencies.

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Sam September 10, 2014 at 8:16 am

This behavior is endemic to other Haley-appointee run agencies. Soon to come audits will show similar manipulation (read:Lying) about both performance, finances, and policy. DHEC is next, then right down the line. I don’t care who gets elected as long as it isn’t the dishonest liar currently in the chair.

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billbrasky September 10, 2014 at 9:27 am

Honestly, what is this 2 year-long legislative audit going to say that we haven’t been told already by the local news stations, the legislative DSS subcommittee, and even FITS? We already know they hire outside consultants and don’t need to, we already know countless kids have died in DSS custody, we already know social workers get paid shit and it takes them forever to get certified, we already know that the agency has been a mess since day one. Why did the taxpayers of this state just pay a state agency to take two years to tell us what we already know, not to mention the fact that an audit finding from the LAC is akin to getting a stern talking to from the head janitor in elementary school. The only person that can really make a change is Haley and she’s done nothing but make bad decisions with many of her cabinet agencies since she was sworn in.

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michelle September 10, 2014 at 10:19 am

At the Indian grocery, asked the owner what his people thought of Haley and the upcoming election. He said, they supported her 4 years ago, now she is an embarrassment. They hoped for change and good things to happen, only to be extremely disappointed. Will vote democrat.

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Elroy September 10, 2014 at 10:48 am

What do you expect? The entry level job at DSS requires a Master’s Degree and pays $26,000 a year.

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freerthanfree September 10, 2014 at 3:44 pm

not true. A starting salary for an entry level job with DSS is roughly 21,000.00 yearly. No Degree required. But your estimate is accurate for caseworker positions.
On a side note, everything that has been coming out about DSS in these articles is completly true. I know from experience.

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inthetrenches September 10, 2014 at 7:33 pm

Until you get rid of all the Koller cronies in Columbia, you will have no positive change @ DSS. This includes the Interim Director A. Gillium, Dep Director Jessica Hanak-Coulter, Child Welfare Director S. Sturky, Office of General Counsel, ALL of the Regional Directors, all of the paid consultants, the incompetent County Directors they have appointed, and those idiotic performance coaches. Privatization of CPS is a disaster and unfortunately children and families have paid the price. County’s need Caseworkers!!!!

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Thomas September 11, 2014 at 2:07 am

The state is broke. Obamacare cost increases are being covered with new tax increases. And Obama wants to grant amnesty to 50 million Mexicans. You think it is bad now? Wait till Mexicans clog DSS and CPS.

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concerned September 11, 2014 at 8:52 am

and some criminal indictments at the Stae Office!

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Scairp September 11, 2014 at 1:00 pm

Now they have five dead children who were on their radar, murdered out of spite by their own father. I wonder how they will try to minimize that.

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joe December 22, 2014 at 7:36 pm

Theres also the problem of doctoring the paper work and tearing families apart that dont deserve it takeing on cases that shouldnt be and then making it look worse on paper so they dont look bad.

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