Orange County officials participate in NCACC Regional Meeting on Child Welfare

GREENSBORO (Jan. 29, 2018) – Orange County Commissioner Renee Price, manager Bonnie Hammersley,  Social Services Director Nancy Coston and Child Welfare Program Manager Duston Lowell participated in a regional meeting on child welfare hosted by the North Carolina Association of County Commissioners (NCACC) in partnership with the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services.  The meeting was held Jan. 22 in Guilford County as part of NCACC President Brenda Howerton’s initiative, “100 Counties: Helping Our Children Thrive,” which focuses on identifying ways for county government to make a positive impact in children’s lives.

“Despite a reputation of affluence and well-being, Orange County is home to children who, through no fault of their own, are living in the midst abject poverty, discrimination, substance abuse and domestic violence, and therefore subject to neglect, hunger and trauma,” said Price. “County commissioners, in my opinion, have a moral responsibility to address the needs of all children in our community, and our children can thrive if we continue to collaborate with and support the work of various governmental agencies and nonprofit organizations.”

The meeting brought together county commissioners, managers, and representatives from county Departments of Social Services to deepen the understanding of the state’s current system of child welfare and county responsibilities. It also provided a forum to discuss actionable county-level data, best practices, and the 2017 Family/Child Protection and Accountability Act (Rylan’s Law), sponsored by N.C. Sen. Tamara Barringer.

Speakers included representatives of NC DHHS, UNC School of Government, and the NCACC, with panel discussions led by county and social services attorneys and child welfare staff.

“One of the most important missions of our agency is to provide services to children who have been abused or neglected,” said Coston. “The THRIVE initiative focuses attention and resources on these vulnerable families. We look forward to working together to realize improved outcomes for all our children and families, and, consequently, the future of our communities.”

As part of the meeting, attendees also had the opportunity to provide comments for the Social Services Regional Supervision and Collaboration Working Group, which is the group established by Rylan’s Law to make recommendations to the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services. President Howerton, Kevin Austin, NCACC First Vice President and Chair of the Yadkin County Board of Commissioners, Robert Woodard, Chair of the Dare County Board of Commissioners, and Page Lemel, Transylvania County Commissioner, serve as members of this working group.

About the NCACC: The North Carolina Association of County Commissioners (NCACC) is the official voice of all 100 counties on issues being considered by the General Assembly, Congress and federal and state agencies. The Association provides expertise to counties in the areas of advocacy, research, risk management and education and leadership training.