DSS Director Admits Turnover Trouble at Richland Office

Columbia, SC (WLTX) - We've heard complaint after complaint, and now the State Director of Department of Social Services has admitted there's trouble at the DSS office in Richland County.

During testimony Wednesday, Director Lillian Koller says some of the trouble deals with turnover. One of the first things she brought up was a story we first reported on: The death of 4 year old Robert Guinyard who died in his parents care despite multiple reports to DSS.

Previous Coverage:A Look Into the Death of Robert Guinyard

"When you ask where are our problem areas, we will say top of the list: Richland," Koller said. "The issue is not how many positions do I have, it's how many people do we have."

Koller centered the current problems in the Richland office around the death of Robert Guinyard. After his death, 8 workers either left the Richland office or were fired.

"We need more people there, no question about it," Koller said.

Senator Katrina Shealy (R-Lexington) says around the state, she and fellow committee members are hearing case workers have too many cases.

"They tell me they have 45 cases. They tell me they have 70 cases," Shealy said. "They're from Charleston County, they're from Greenville, they're from Pickens County. They're from all over the state of South Carolina, so it's not just Richland County."

Koller says by this summer, the agency has to submit a new federally mandated formula that will create a ratio of cases to case workers.

Even with all of the director's testimony, questions about Koller's leadership spilled over to Facebook overnight. It all started after Governor Nikki Haley posted she was proud of Director Koller for answering the committee's questions with full transparency. But later, the Governor called out Senator Katrina Shealy, accusing Shealy of spreading a lie about the director's religion.

Still on Facebook, Shealy responded she was disappointed the governor would accuse her of spreading rumors. Shealy ended the back and forth saying she's owed an apology and cares for the kids of South Carolina.

Koller is expected back in front of the committee to answer more of it's questions about non-profits that interact with cases and the adoption process.


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