Officials: Union Co. DSS to reopen past cases of child abuse - WBTV 3 News, Weather, Sports, and Traffic for Charlotte, NC

Officials: Union Co. DSS to reopen past cases of child abuse

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Former DSS supervisor Wanda Sue Larson Former DSS supervisor Wanda Sue Larson
UNION COUNTY, NC (WBTV) -

The Union County Department of Social Services will have to re-open three cases of possible child abuse and neglect after a state review found inconsistencies and other problems, according to officials.

Department of Human Services Director Richard Matens told WBTV Friday that state officials had visited Union County three times since December, and had randomly selected more than 50 cases dating back three years for review.

Some of those cases were handled by Wanda Sue Larson, the former DSS supervisor who was charged with child abuse after a boy in her care was found handcuffed to her front porch with a dead chicken around his neck.

Matens said the state review, which isn't yet final, centered on a lack of documentation.

"They believe a lot of things probably did occur but without documentation, they couldn't verify it," Matens said. "So that's an issue. If something happens or something needs looking into, it needs to be written into the charts."

The Justice For All Coalition, a group that has been calling for an investigation into the system, released a statement on the announcement Friday night.

"We are very happy to hear that the state is taking the severity of poor judgment as well as a poorly unmanaged system that has put our children in harms way in Union County into consideration. The Justice For All Coalition has obtained dozens of emails and documents of valid cases in Union county where the DSS system has failed so many families. We will continue to fight for ALL valid cases of injustice to be reopened in addition to the three mentioned. We still also believe that these cases should be reviewed by an unbiased third party from the federal level, not by the same system that has already failed these families once."

Matens says he expects the final report from the state to come in the next two or three weeks.

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