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DSS documents funds

By Shavonne Potts
spotts@salisburypost.com
Any time money changes hands within the Rowan County Department of Social Services, there is a record. In fact, there are multiple records.
DSS Budget Analyst Jane Johnson and Accounting Technician Mary Sloop updated the DSS board Tuesday on the agency’s procedures for handling funds.
Anytime a receipt is issued, they said, four copies are filed.
The first goes to the client and the second to the accounting department. The third one goes to whichever program the funds are being taken from, and the fourth copy is always kept in the book.
“No one person has access to money without someone else being involved,” Johnson said.
Each year the state requires a complete self-assessment, the county auditor looks at the financial statements and the department has a yearly audit.
Even the Christmas Happiness funds are deposited into a separate system. The money collected is logged into a different system from the regular DSS financial records.
The Children Services office at Mahaley Avenue does not even receive payments.
Board member John Blair asked if these precautions came about because of backlash from the community.
Sloop said it was the department’s way of being proactive.
“It also reaffirms public confidence in our spending,” Johnson said.
Director Sandra Wilkes said that in neighboring Mecklenburg County, there has been some backlash from the community about abuse of funds from some nonprofits, the social services department being one.
In other business, Jon Hunter, coordinator for the One Church One Child program, gave an update.
Through the faith-based initiative, churches help meet the needs of children and families by becoming adoptive or foster parents or providing support to the agency through donations.
Many of the churches donate furniture, food, clothes and other items to families in need.
Hunter said 35 churches and 31 individuals are involved in the program. Since the program’s inception in 2006, gift cards totalling $15,527.95 have been received, and 854 children have been helped. A 21-person board manages the program.
Information about the items and money donated and the people who are helped is tracked and held in three different databases.
The board also heard about the prescription drug abuse subcommittee, which is headed by newly appointed Deputy Chief Kevin Auten of the Rowan County Sheriff’s Office. Wilkes said Auten will come up with some possible dates for a meeting.
Board chairwoman Lillian Morgan said the Rowan-Salisbury School System will send brochures to its sixth- and ninth-grade students about the dangers of prescription drugs.
Morgan said they hope to have enough brochures to send to other grades in the near future.

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