More than $200K repaid to feds after Cherokee County’s foster care errors

NC Department of Health and Human Services

The N.C. Department of Health and Human Services, housed in buildings on the campus of the former Dorothea Dix state psychiatric hospital, last year found years of errors by the Cherokee County Department of Social Services that required a costly repayment to the federal government. Cherokee County officials don’t seem to know about it.

The state and a small North Carolina county had to pay back more than $247,000 in federal foster care funds last year after mistakes by social workers and their supervisors.

The N.C. Department of Health and Human Services discovered the mistakes by the Cherokee County Department of Social Services and tallied up the costs during a deep examination of every open foster care case in mid-2018.

The audit followed the state’s temporary takeover of child welfare services in the county due to other violations that led to a criminal investigation of DSS.

But when Carolina Public Press asked about the foster care fund repayments, Cherokee County officials have so far either declined to comment or said they didn’t know anything about it.

At the same time, the former DSS director, Cindy Palmer, and possibly others, remain under criminal investigation by the state Attorney General’s Office. The State Bureau of Investigation took more than a year to examine issues related to the custody and visitation agreements and, as of September, additional issues that had come to light.


h/t Ann Vanderlaan


So who will be stuck with the bill again? Maybe the funds will come out of the extra 1/4 percent sales tax the Republican commissioners passed in the county. Don’t forget: it’s for the children.

David DeGerolamo

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