SCFPA wants to recognize workers who are making a difference in the lives of children.
Each worker selected will receive a $100 gift card and a Certificate of Recognition.
Send worker name, contact information and reason for nomination to Mary Brown.
Send Mary Email
CONGRATULATIONS Ian! It is our pleasure to recognize Ian Hodges, York County DSS.
One foster parent had this to say, “Ian Hodges has been a great caseworker and a delight to work with. Ian always gets back to me. Always. He is honest and my girls will always come first in his eyes. He is truly is kind and caring! We love him!”
Congratulations, Ian, for outstanding service to children and families!
CONGRATULATIONS Amber! It is our pleasure to recognize Amber Hayden, Case Manager with Greenville County DSS. Thank you, Amber, for outstanding service to children and families!
From one family who nominated Amber, “Amber was new when we got her as our caseworker, but she is amazing. She is involved, concerned, compassionate, and kind. She certainly has the needs of the child, foster parent, and the families in her mind. She is prompt in getting needed information and providing what we need. She calls to check on our child when he is sick or has been sick. She provides resources and updates as needed. You can tell she truly loves her job and the children. She also has been a Rockstar during COVID19. This has not been an easy time, yet she has been available via Skype and FaceTime. She has worked tirelessly to make sure we are okay during this pandemic as well. I could write a book! She is simply a Rockstar and deserves to be recognized!”
Congratulations, Amber! It is our privilege to honor you as Social Worker of the Month!
CONGRATULATIONS Courtney! It is our pleasure to recognize Courtney Mericle, with York County DSS! Thank you, Courtney, for outstanding service to children and families!
As one family told us, “Courtney Mericle from York County DSS is an amazing caseworker. She goes out of her way to help foster children. She is always a phone call away as I never have a problem reaching her. I can always talk to her about anything – any issue, any need the children have. She always seems to find a way to solve any problem I am having. There is no other caseworker like her.”
Courtney, it is our privilege to celebrate you as Caseworker of the Month. Thank you for being such a blessing to our children and foster families!
CONGRATULATIONS Nikki! It is our pleasure to recognize Nikki Johnson, a Family Support Coordinator in Upstate Foster Family and Licensing Support. Nikki is an exemplary employee. She goes above and beyond to support her foster families. She advocates for any needs they have, and gets creative when needed to find the assistance they need. She makes herself available to her families 24/7, even when they just need a listening ear. In addition to providing this support, she always ensures her families remain in compliance, and are providing safe, nurturing care to the children in their homes. She educates her families about the placement needs of older children and siblings, and has successfully encouraged multiple families to broaden their acceptance factors to serve these children. Nikki is so consistently positive and cheerful. She is a cheerleader not only for her foster families, but her co-workers. She is a “ray of sunshine” in our program, even during times where the morale of the team has been low due to caseload/staffing issues. No matter what challenges she has faced in her workload, she expresses how much she loves her work, and it truly shows. We are so fortunate to have Nikki in our program. She fully embodies the DSS core principles of Competence, Courage and Compassion.
Congratulations, Nikki, for outstanding service to children and families!
CONGRATULATIONS Lorianna! It is our pleasure to recognize Lorianna Barnhill, with Pee Dee Foster Family and Licensing Support. Thank you, Lorianna, for outstanding service to children and families!
Lorianna’s Supervisor had this to say, “Lorianna Barnhill is a Family Support Coordinator for Pee Dee FFLAS. She is primarily responsible for support of foster families in Chesterfield, Marlboro and Darlington Counties. She has been with the agency since 2012 and is a delight to work with. Lorianna is very attentive to her foster families as well as her co-workers. She is very responsive, always respectful and has a vast knowledge of licensing policy. Lorianna’s work is always very neat, thorough, and submitted prior to deadline. I feel she is a favorite among foster parents.”
Foster parents who work closely with Lorianna, had this to say, “Lorianna always returns phone calls and texts regardless of the time of day or night.” “Lorianna helps me with things that aren’t even her job.” “Lorianna knows I don’t use email, so she has things sent to her and then prints and sends them to me. She always goes out of her way to help her foster families.”
Lorianna, it is our privilege to celebrate you as Social Worker of the Month. Thank you for being such a blessing to our foster families!
CONGRATULATIONS Madeline! It is our pleasure to recognize Madeline Jenkins, with Midlands DSS. Thank you, Madeline, for outstanding service to children and families!
Madeline Jenkins, started with a bang! Although new to SCDSS, Madeline has made huge positive impacts on the people she works with, and supports, as a Licensing Worker. She graduated from the University of South Carolina upstate, where she studied psychology and child advocacy. She knew without a doubt that working within the foster care system, would be a great fit for her passion for serving others. She works closely with foster families to maintain and support their efforts as they accept vulnerable kids into the home. The encouragement and organization that Madeline brings to the field is what will ultimately retain foster families through the years, which is of course, significant to the work that we are all trying to accomplish! Madeline’s loves outside of work are her Siamese cat and chocolate lab. She loves heading to the lake, learning new things, and spending time with her fiancé.
CONGRATULATIONS Paul! It is our pleasure to recognize Paul White with Charleston County DSS. Thank you, Paul, for outstanding service to children and families!
“We have been Foster Parents for several years and have had three long term children, a few short-term cases and MANY case workers assigned to them. Paul White was assigned to our current placement this summer. He has been a such positive presence for Charleston DSS! He initiates communication, responds promptly and appears to comprehend details of our very complex case. I’ve observed him with our foster child and our foster child’s siblings and Paul has a very nice way of interacting with children of all ages. We also recognize his professionalism in many challenging situations.”
“Paul frequently voices his appreciation of our efforts to provide a safe and loving home for our foster child. Paul is a wonderful addition to the Charleston DSS office!”
CONGRATULATIONS Rhonda! It is our pleasure to recognize Rhonda Murray, with Greenville DSS. Thank you, Rhonda, for outstanding service to children and families!
Dedicated. Hard-working. Loving. Approachable. Understanding. Team Player. Unselfish. These are just a few of the words used to describe Rhonda by those who nominated her for this recognition. How do these words pertain to the children on her caseload? Rhonda works tirelessly and gives unselfishly to ensure her children stay connected to siblings. She is always there for her children when they need her and helps guide them through difficult times; sometimes sternly, if necessary, but always lovingly and with true understanding. Since Rhonda is always approachable, the children respect her and feel safe knowing she is there for them.
Congratulations, Rhonda! It is our privilege to honor you as Social Worker of the Month!
CONGRATULATIONS Tamara! It is our pleasure to recognize Tamara Phillips, with Anderson DSS. Thank you, Tamara, for outstanding service to children and families!
“Tamara has been with the agency for 25 years and has been an exemplary caseworker who has made a tremendous impact on the children and families she serves. She is an amazing advocate for these children and makes sure they don't get lost in the system.”
“She has worked with one client for over 10 years and just successfully transitioned him at age 21 into a transitional living facility. She never gave up on this child even when he was incarcerated for almost two years at age 18, religiously going to visit him each month even when she did not have to do so. Upon his release from jail when he was living in a homeless shelter, Tamara continued to visit with him each month until he was allowed to return to foster care after his court hearing was completed. She worked very hard with his attorney to get his charges reduced to time served and being placed on probation. This child is now employed and successfully aged out of care at age 21. It is an honor and privilege for me to be working with Tamara!”
Congratulations, Tamara! It is our privilege to honor you as Caseworker of the Month!
CONGRATULATIONS Morgan! It is our pleasure to recognize Morgan Bryant, with Greenville DSS. Thank you, Morgan, for outstanding service to children and families!
“Morgan was the second caseworker for our foster child. This child was our first long term placement. My husband and I didn't know the Foster Care routine such as court, visitations, etc. and it is somewhat scary for new foster parents being in a room with bio parents who are angry for having their children taken away. I didn't know how a caseworker should be until I met Morgan. Morgan was always pleasant and upbeat. I appreciate her honesty. She made me feel valued as a foster mom and never made me feel like my questions were stupid or trivial. I feel she also has a presence about her that she doesn't allow the bio parents to intimidate her or bully her. She was very accommodating when picking up our foster daughter for visitations. Whenever I had a question about court or visitation, she would always get back to me or find out an answer in a timely fashion. I really appreciate her being our DSS worker. I know how hard those caseworkers work and some days they feel defeated. I will continue to pray for them. The kids in Greenville County need Caseworkers like Morgan. Thank you so much Morgan for all you do for the kids!“
Congratulations, Morgan! It is our privilege to honor you as Caseworker of the Month!
CONGRATULATIONS Morgan! It is our pleasure to recognize Morgan McDowell, with the Greenville DSS. Thank you, Morgan, for outstanding service to children and families!
“I just want to say what a joy it is to have Morgan McDowell as our caseworker. She is such a light in our children’s lives. She cares about her cases and the children matter to her. She really attends to every detail about our children. Every time we see her we know our children will be taken care of, but also that she listens to every detail about her cases. I have seen her working tirelessly to manage her cases with a smile and happy spirit. We adore having Morgan as our case worker and we appreciate everything she does for our family. She is protective and fair and constantly advocates for the kids. She deserves to be acknowledged for her tireless dedication and her joyful spirit about what she does for others on a daily basis.”
Congratulations, Morgan! It is our privilege to honor you as Caseworker of the Month!
CONGRATULATIONS Zanaiya! It is our pleasure to recognize Zanaiya Lytle, with York County DSS. Thank you, Zanaiya, for outstanding service to children and families!
“Zanaiya is always so kind and helpful each time we talk. She is always more than willing to answer questions I have and makes herself available for me to contact her. I can tell she loves her job because even in the small things, Zanaiya shows commitment and joy. She truly leads by example and has a huge heart for children. I am thankful for her advice and encouragement throughout our fostering journey. It definitely makes a difference when you feel supported. Zanaiya loves her foster families and we love her!”
CONGRATULATIONS Kali! It is our pleasure to recognize Kali Huskey, with Anderson County DSS. Thank you, Kali, for outstanding service to children and families!
Families had this to say, “Kali is always involved in her kiddos’ lives. She is available even when she is not on call. She checks on the kids just to see how their day or week has gone. She is protective them. She doesn’t want children on her caseload to experience any more trauma than they have already had to endure. She sets up appointments and always sends out information to foster families quickly and efficiently. Kali is also a volunteer firefighter. Kali goes over and beyond to take care of the kids assigned to her.”
“We are grateful for Kali as the foster care worker for our children. We’ve heard some families say they have a hard time getting ahold of their caseworker, but we’ve never had that problem.”
Keep up the great work, Kali!
CONGRATULATIONS Latoya! It is our pleasure to recognize Latoya Readon, with Dillon County DSS. Thank you, Latoya, for outstanding service to children and families!
“Latoya Readon is by far the best caseworker we’ve ever had. She makes sure she is there for her families days, nights, weekends…it doesn’t matter. She returns calls and texts right away. She has the biggest heart for the children on her case load and truly loves them and wants the best for them. She is always positive and encouraging to both the foster families and the children. She deserves this recognition.”
Congratulations, Latoya! It is our privilege to honor you as Social Worker of the Month!
CONGRATULATIONS Gretchen! It is our pleasure to recognize Gretchen Dalton, with Greenville DSS. Thank you, Gretchen, for outstanding service to children and families!
“I’d like to nominate Gretchen Dalton, Greenville County. She was my foster child’s caseworker, however has now been promoted to a Supervisory position. This is my 19th foster child and Gretchen has been the best, long term caseworker I’ve worked with. She really cares about the children and goes out of her way to accommodate both foster and biological families. I don’t think there has ever been a time when she did not return a phone call or a text. Now, that in itself, is reason enough for her to be nominated!”
Congratulations, Gretchen! It is our privilege to honor you as Social Worker of the Month!
CONGRATULATIONS Ashley! It is our pleasure to recognize Ashley Simmons, with Greenville DSS. Thank you, Ashley, for outstanding service to children and families!
Ashley Simmons is ‘one of a kind,’ according to those who nominated her for this recognition. They say her desire to communicate well with foster parents is unmatched. She returns calls, texts and emails in a timely fashion and is always a good listener when foster parents need someone to listen. Ashley never seems stressed and is always smiling and working hard to do the best job possible for the children we are serving. She is very genuine and when she has to work overtime due to unforeseen circumstances, her only goal is to ensure the children and families’ needs are met.
Congratulations, Ashley! It is our privilege to honor you as Social Worker of the Month!
CONGRATULATIONS Kendal! It is our pleasure to recognize Kendal Farmer, with the Region 5 Foster Family Licensing and Services Unit. Thank you, Kendal, for outstanding service to children and families!
Kendal Farmer has been working with DSS for many years and has exceled in every area she has worked. Children love her and families adore her because she is trustworthy, hardworking, dependable and they know she is always working in their best interest.
One foster family had this to say, “Kendal is always the person I know I can call when I need an answer, support or just advice. She has been an amazing advocate, friend and mentor. She tackles every challenge and every problem with competence, kindness and grace. And she still manages to go home and be an amazing mother and foster parent.”
Congratulations, Kendal! It is our privilege to honor you as Caseworker of the Month!
CONGRATULATIONS April! It is our pleasure to recognize April Owens, with the Region 4 Foster Family Licensing and Support Unit. Thank you, April, for outstanding service to children and families!
April is dedicated to her job and the families in her region. Her families have stated, “April is on call even when she isn’t and she is always available to answer any question we may have. If she does not know the answer, she will find it!”
April takes the time to build relationships with families Region 4. She truly cares about the children in care and takes the time to get to know them. She attends parties, monthly meetings, foster care functions, adoptions, and recruitment events.
“April goes above and beyond in everything she does and DSS, foster families and children are fortunate to have her.”
Congratulations, April! It is our privilege to honor you as Caseworker of the Month!
CONGRATULATIONS Amanda! It is our pleasure to recognize Amanda Healy, with Lexington County DSS. Thank you, Amanda, for outstanding service to children and families!
Amanda Healy has been a standout from the beginning. Families say that she always does a great job with the children she serves. They like her and they trust her.
When asked what made her decide to go into social work, Amanda responded, “I want to be an advocate for children who have been victims of maltreatment. I want to be able to help families get back on their feed and learn how to provide a safe, stable environment for their children to return home.” Amanda has never regretted her decision as she says she really enjoys working closely with the families and children she serves.
Congratulations, Amanda! It is our privilege to honor you as Caseworker of the Month!
CONGRATULATIONS Von! It is our pleasure to recognize Vonzella Smith, with Region 5 Initial Licensing. Thank you, Vonzella, for outstanding service to children and families!
A few statements from families Von has worked with: “She never missed an appointment and always did what she said she would do.” “We had a few times where we felt overwhelmed, but Ms. Smith always encouraged us.” “She always made us feel as if we were a priority.”
A message from her Supervisor: “Vonzella Smith was employed with McCormick County DSS for six years, serving primarily as a foster care case manager and licensing worker. She retired in 2012 and rejoined the agency part-time in 2014 to help with licensing back logs in Aiken County and has been working with Region 5 Initial Licensing since it began in 2015.
She has truly been a great asset to Region 5 and DSS. She is professional, dependable, no-nonsense and knowledgeable, all traits required to complete great and accurate home studies. She is diligent and efficient and she has been the sole Initial Licensing Coordinator in all twelve Region 5 Counties since June 2015, with the exception of 6 months.
Vonzella has really been the glue that has held Region 5 Licensing together over the last three years. With the challenges of starting a new program, I have always been confident in knowing I had a reliable employee in Vonzella as she has kept our new license applications moving forward and provides a positive attitude for the team. I am grateful to have her on my team.”
Congratulations, Vonzella! It is our privilege to honor you as December’s Social Worker of the Month!
CONGRATULATIONS Kristin! It is our pleasure to recognize Kristin Stewart, with Anderson County DSS. Thank you, Kristin, for outstanding service to children and families!
Kristin Stewart has been an exemplary caseworker and made a tremendous impact on the children and families she serves. One foster family had this to say, “Our family has worked with many other caseworkers and by far Kristin is the best! She is an amazing advocate for these children and makes sure they don't get lost in the system. She provides and encourages parents every opportunity to do what needs to be done in order to get their children back. We have been graced with Kristin for 1-1/2 years. Our foster children think of her as family and love it when they get to see her. We have never met a more caring caseworker than Kristin. She is an Angel here on Earth for these children.”
Congratulations, Kristin! It is our privilege to honor you as November’s Caseworker of the Month!
CONGRATULATIONS Karen! It is our pleasure to recognize Karen Sabet, with Region II/York DSS. Thank you, Karen, for outstanding service to children and families!
Karen Sabet has been with DSS for a couple of years. During that time, she has worked with initial foster home licensing and is now concentrating on licensing families through ICPC. Karen has definitely made an impact on the families she serves as indicated by one family’s statement, “I would like to extend my sincerest appreciation to you for the contributions you have made in these few months servicing us in fostering my niece and nephew. We thank you for your enduring loyalty and diligence. The mission of the service could not be achieved without the dedication and hard work of employees like you. Please accept this note of congratulations on a job well done. Take a moment to reflect on your accomplishments and take pride in knowing that you are available to your team.”
Congratulations, Karen! It is our privilege to honor you as October’s Social Worker of the Month!
CONGRATULATIONS Lailah! It is our pleasure to recognize Lailah Abdul-Mateen, with Berkeley County DSS. Thank you, Lailah, for outstanding service to children and families!
Lailah has been with Berkeley County DSS since October 2017. While working in the Assessment Unit, she constantly puts herself second for the safety and wellbeing of our children. When asked about the hard work and time involvement in her job, her exuberant reply is, “I LOVE IT!!” Lailah further states, “It has been such a humbling experience being able to aid children in this platform and take on such a protective role. I pride myself on Timeliness, Teamwork and Integrity. I give much thanks, supervision and guidance to my supervisors, MY SUPPORT SYSTEM, Trina Carr and Taji Billups. I am continuously being challenged to think critically for the sake of children that doesn’t have a voice.”
CONGRATULATIONS Paula! It is our pleasure to recognize Paula Curtin, with Region 2 Initial Licensing in the York County DSS office. Thank you, Paula, for outstanding service to children and families!
Paula has been working with the Initial Licensing Unit since 2016, licensing families primarily in York, Union, Lancaster and Chester counties. Paula’s thorough attention to detail and amazing work ethic has garnered her rave reviews from the families she works with. One family had this to say, “When you’re starting down a new path and you’re not given a road map or even basic directions, it is easy to get overwhelmed. Paula was not just a GPS, but a personal tour guide willing to hold our hands along the journey. Paula met with us within a week of the first phone call and we quickly became members of the PC (Paula Curtin) fan club. Even when there wasn’t anything going on, she checked in just to say, “nothing is going on.” I will honestly say, had it not been for Paula, we would likely have backed out of this process very early on. She made us feel like we had a friend at DSS working with us to make our foster dreams a reality. Since becoming licensed, I’ve actually heard from her more than my current case worker or the case worker of the child placed with us. In short, we ADORE Paula and just wanted to take a few minutes to let you know.”
Paula’s ability to encourage families to get their part done in the licensing process paperwork and home inspections has allowed her to maintain the “top spot” in licensing families in fewer days than any other licensing worker for the last 15 months with an average of 105 days from signature of the application to the date the license is issued.
Thanks, Paula, for caring enough about families and children to go the extra mile!
CONGRATULATIONS Christa! It is our pleasure to recognize Christa Carter, with Lancaster County DSS. Thank you, Christa, for outstanding service to children and families!
Christa has always had a passion of helping at-risk children and children that struggle to recover from trauma. She enjoys working and rebuilding her community and has enjoyed working with children in many different areas. As a foster care worker, Christa is always punctual and is very kind and caring when dealing with the children.
CONGRATULATIONS Sesily! It is our pleasure to recognize Sesily Simmons, with Richland County DSS. Thank you, Sesily, for outstanding service to children and families!
“Sesily is a caseworker with Richland County DSS. She does an amazing job with the children on her caseload. She is always prompt and she always returns calls and texts in a timely manner. Sesily puts her children and the families serving them as her first priority and it shows!”
CONGRATULATIONS Laquesha! It is our pleasure to recognize Laquesha Washington, with Beaufort County IFCCS. Thank you, Laquesha, for outstanding service to children and families!
“Laquesha is level-headed, responsive, and a true joy to work with. She is conscientious of our time and many appointments and is always timely and reliable. Furthermore, our foster girls respond well to her calm demeanor and are less anxious around her than the other workers. Fostering special needs kids is a challenge but it is a huge benefit to have workers who look out for the best interest of the child and are a resource for the foster family. We are hoping to finalize an adoption soon and when we do we will miss working with Laquesha and the support she provides. Please recognize her for her outstanding commitment to serving our children and families.”
CONGRATULATIONS Kaci! It is our pleasure to recognize Kaci Wingate, with Region IV. Thank you, Kaci, for outstanding service to children and families!
Kaci Wingate is Supervisor of the entire Region IV office and has had to juggle child placements, license renewals, ICPC and initial licensing. In addition, she is never too busy to focus on recruitment and retention of foster homes – often, going to events and speaking to groups in the evenings or on weekends. She is also never too busy to give her attention to family members or employees who are experiencing difficulties in their own life situations. Region IV has had fewer homes close than any other region during the last year as Kaci and the Family Support Unit make supporting foster families a top priority. In addition, under Kaci’s leadership, Region IV excels in placement of sibling groups and placement of children under twelve in foster homes. Region IV has had fewer licensed homes close than any other Region over the last year. Way to go, Kaci!
CONGRATULATIONS Alysha! It is our pleasure to recognize Alysha Drain, with Greenville County DSS. Thank you, Alysha, for outstanding service to children and families!
“Alysha is a caseworker with Greenville County DSS. She is amazingly organized and always answers questions quickly. Another awesome thing about Alysha is that she always does what she promises the children as well as the foster parents. Having Alysha as a caseworker gives us, as foster parents, the confidence and security to focus on the well-being of the child when in our care. We enjoy working with her and consider her a friend and mentor to her kids.”
CONGRATULATIONS Andrea! It is our pleasure to recognize Andrea Lloyd, with Lancaster County DSS. Thank you, Andrea, for outstanding service to children and families!
“Andrea is a Foster Care case manager with the Lancaster DSS office. She works diligently to advocate for the children on her caseload and ensure that they are safe and their needs are consistently met both while they are in foster care and after they return home or exit to other permanency. Andrea is a strong foster care case manager who has worked hard to learn about the many changes the program has experienced in the past two years with the new foster care policy, new federal and state laws, and other foster care program improvement initiatives. It has been difficult to keep up with, but she continues to push forward, continue to learn, and serve the children, birth families, and foster families as best she can. She often works late hours and weekends to make sure foster children get what they need when their foster parents are not able to transport to appointments and family visits. Andrea’s co-workers say that she is a team player who is always willing to help co-workers catch up on paperwork deadlines, think through tough cases or situations, and ride along with them on-call or on those long drives to make visits with foster children placed several counties away. Andrea is a leader amongst her peers and a wonderful advocate for children in foster care. She is most deserving of this recognition.”
CONGRATULATIONS Carmella! It is our pleasure to recognize Carmella Hemingway, with Horry County DSS. Thank you, Carmella, for outstanding service to children and families!
“My husband and I have been foster parents for five years. During that time, we have realized Carmella is an amazing caseworker. She always knows her cases and does what is best for them as quickly as possible. She has an amazing work ethic and a sincere love for the children.”
CONGRATULATIONS Shirley! It is our pleasure to recognize Shirley Singleton, with Charleston County DSS. Thank you, Shirley, for outstanding service to children and families!
“Mrs. Shirley Singleton is a very caring and dedicated licensing worker for Charleston County Foster Care. She is the kind of worker that a foster parent can call and get help with anything that's needed. She tirelessly strives to place children in need of home for the night or long term if that's the need. Sometimes people say they have difficulty getting in contact with a licensing worker, but that's not the case with Mrs. Singleton. She gives her families her business as well as her cellphone numbers and she returns their calls quickly. I can't think of a better Licensing Worker of Charleston County Foster Care than Mrs. Singleton to be Worker of the Month.”
CONGRATULATIONS Mary Beth! It is our pleasure to recognize Mary Beth Camp with Kershaw County DSS. Thank you, Mary Beth, for outstanding service to children and families!
“Mary Beth's first anniversary with DSS was July 11th of this year. Even though she has been at DSS a short time, she has already made an incredible impact. Mary Beth is an investigator with Kershaw DSS. Like many other case managers, she works tirelessly to keep our children safe - she works late nearly every night and has worked many weekends as well to do what it takes to get the job done. There are many examples I could give you to explain why Mary Beth deserves this honor, but I'll share just one that was truly moving to me. She was working with a foster child who had been sex-trafficked and the child explained to her that she would run away because she believed her abuser would find her in foster care and kill her; but, if she willingly returned to him then her punishment for leaving would be less severe. She was truly scared of her abuser and believed he would come for her. Mary Beth stayed with her nearly all weekend to help her feel safe. After a period of time, the girl shared more and more details about the abuse she endured. To convince the child she would be safe in foster care so she wouldn't run back to her abuser, Mary Beth asked the child to show her everything in her possession that her abuser had given her since these items may have been how he was able to track her down in the past. She showed Mary Beth a cell phone, a pocketbook, and a pair of boots. Mary Beth gave the child all the money in her pocket in trade for the three items so they could throw them away and buy new things. After that, the girl felt safe enough to remain in her placement and she quickly settled into foster care and her new school. In this child's life, and many others, Mary Beth did whatever was necessary not only to keep her safe but to make sure she also felt safe. Thank you for giving me the opportunity to recognize her through this nomination.”
CONGRATULATIONS Jessica! It is our pleasure to recognize Jessica Headen, with Richland County DSS. Thank you, Jessica, for outstanding service to children and families!
“Jessica Headen is all a foster parent could hope for in a caseworker. She always walks through my front door with a genuine smile. She's warm and kind. She responds quickly to emails and text messages. Additionally, she makes foster parents feel appreciated for the work they do. Her monthly home visits happen without fail. During her visits she takes time to not only interact with the children on her case, but also make sure we have everything we need. Jessica makes you feel like you're part of a team, family even.”
CONGRATULATIONS Benita! It is our pleasure to recognize Benita Floyd, with Greenville County DSS. Thank you, Benita, for outstanding service to children and families!
“Benita Floyd has been a caseworker with DSS for 3 years. She's been a Social Worker for close to 35 years. Benita feels that she was called to work with children and is dedicated and honored to serve the children of SC. She treats all of her children as she would her own and loves what she does. Benita's been helping people since she was a child and cannot think of anything else she would like doing better. Benita has a lot of awards, but doesn't get into bragging about them. But most personally, Benita was my first case worker and went above and beyond for her child who was in my care and never, ever made me feel as if I were bothering her or she didn't have time for me. I only wish every case worker were like Benita!!”
CONGRATULATIONS Erin! It is our pleasure to recognize Erin Lee, with Spartanburg County DSS. Thank you, Erin, for outstanding service to children and families!
“I would like to nominate Erin Alley Lee as caseworker of the month. She has been amazing with our boys. She has stood in the fire for them, always been available when I have called or when they have needed her. She even gave her personal number in case we needed her for emergencies. I have a level 3 therapeutic 16-year old and Erin has just been the best caseworker I have ever had; and I have had quite a few! Within the next 30 days we will adopt three boys, two of which, have special needs. She has been the best! So excited she will be recognized for her awesome work!”
CONGRATULATIONS Sarah! It is our pleasure to recognize Sarah Hamby with Greenville County DSS. Thank you, Sarah, for outstanding service to children and families!
“Sarah is simply the best there is! She is such a great resource and support to the families she has licensed. Every family I have ever spoken with that has Sarah as a worker has gushed about how wonderful she is to work with. Many (myself included) would not have continued to foster without her support and encouragement. She has served DSS well by giving foster families the care and knowledge they need to keep on keeping on. If you know Sarah, you know she is special.”
CONGRATULATIONS Trieneke! It is our pleasure to recognize Trieneke Rapp, with Greenwood County DSS. Thank you, Trieneke, for outstanding service to children and families!
“For caseworker of the month, I would like to nominate Trieneke Rapp. Due to the maternity leave of our regular worker, Trieneke, who was her supervisor, became our foster son’s caseworker. We lived in Greenville County and our foster son is out of Greenwood County. For various reasons, along with family visits and weekly supervised therapy visits, Trieneke was required to drive to Greenville often. At every visit, Trieneke stayed after the appointments to answer any questions the birth mother had or we had and offered her support. Whether we contact her by her cell phone or email, she responded in a timely and friendly manner. Trieneke is always up to date with all the details surrounding our foster son's case, and has always kept us up to date with any court dates and review dates. She talked with our foster son's therapists and read over the many different specialists’ appointment reviews. She consistently went above our expectations for a caseworker. She has a genuine concern and love for kids in foster care. Trieneke is consistently going out of her way for our foster son…for over a year now. We feel truly blessed to have her as our son’s caseworker.”
CONGRATULATIONS Valencia! It is our pleasure to recognize Valencia Cohen, with Fairfield County DSS. Thank you, Valencia, for outstanding service to children and families!
“Valencia is a very fair and efficient foster care worker who truly cares about the foster children she manages. Valencia takes her time with home visits and never rushes. She makes you feel as if you are the only case on her extensive case load.”
“In addition, Valencia is a wonderful listener and gives great parenting education about caring for our foster children. We feel very blessed to have been able to get to know her over the last two years!”
CONGRATULATIONS Dana! It is our pleasure to recognize Dana Williams, with Greenville County DSS. Thank you, Dana, for outstanding service to children and families!
“I would like to nominate Dana because she is very kind and shows attention to detail. If she doesn't know the answer to something, she takes the time to figure it out. She has taken the time to call us after hours when we have questions. She's making a real difference in the children in her care, the foster families, and I'm sure many others. Thanks Dana. You rock!”
CONGRATULATIONS Kimberly! It is our pleasure to recognize Kimberly Funderburk, with Lancaster County DSS. Thank you, Kimberly, for outstanding service to children and families!
“Kimberly is a Family Preservation worker who recently impressed me by the care she took when she had to bring two little boys into foster care. She spent several hours with the children to help them with the transition to foster care which is often a traumatic experience. Despite all of the demands on her to accomplish the many tasks required when a child enters care, Kimberly took the time to sit with the children, talk with them and make sure they were comfortable and they felt safe. This moment can make a big difference for a child and how they view their foster care experience, so I was deeply appreciative of how she handled it. I also believe Kimberly is deserving of this nomination because she is a strong advocate for all of our children, not just those on her caseload. Kimberly is not a Foster Care worker, but we had an office challenge in November to help spread the message that Lancaster needs more foster homes and Kimberly took the time to post 55 recruitment flyers on social media and throughout the county in local businesses and organizations. Yesterday, Lancaster still had 45 Family Preservation children that needed sponsors for Christmas gifts…Kimberly secured a major donor to sponsor ALL 45 CHILDREN!!! We are so lucky to have someone who is thoughtful, caring, and committed to children in the way Kimberly is.”
CONGRATULATIONS Brittany! It is our pleasure to recognize Brittany Standridge, with Anderson County DSS. Thank you, Brittany, for outstanding service to children and families!
“Brittany is an exceptional foster care social worker. She strives to improve each day how she relates to co-workers and how she can be effective in helping her families. When informed of changes in procedures or additions to what is expected of her, instead of complaining or getting frustrated, she immediately begins to incorporate the changes into how she already performs her job. She believes in maintaining positive attitude about her work and communicating that positivity towards her coworkers. She does extremely well in stressful situations and she is willing to stay late to ensure her families are getting their best from her. In addition, she is the first to lend a hand to her coworkers by helping them understand something, helping them in learning how to manage their schedules, helping transport, supervise or see children. Her primary focus in all her activities at work is doing her best and making sure her children are safe in their foster homes or in their family homes.”
CONGRATULATIONS Dana! It is our pleasure to recognize Dana Lyles-Hanna, with Spartanburg County DSS. Thank you, Dana, for outstanding service to children and families!
“I would like to nominate Dana Lyles-Hanna from the Spartanburg County office for Case Worker of the Month. Dana is a CPS Assessment worker "investigator" in the county that receives the most investigations in the state. I have had the privilege to do some work in Spartanburg over the past two months and to observe/review Dana's work. Despite carrying a heavy load, Dana has worked diligently to achieve the timeliness goals associated with investigations. This alone is impressive enough considering her workload, but Dana stands out because she is a change agent. She models good case work practice for her newer teammates and she is a true leader. She not only makes a difference for the children and families she serves but also for the co-workers she leads and supports. Dana is much deserving of this recognition.”
CONGRATULATIONS RoShawnda! It is our pleasure to recognize RoShawnda Gooden, with Richland County DSS. Thank you, RoShawnda, for outstanding service to children and families!
“RoShawnda Gooden was recently assigned as my new caseworker. I was concerned about another change after a year full of changes. However, when she came to visit my home, I knew I had nothing to be concerned about. She not only addressed my concerns for the kids in my home, but also offered kind encouragement. Her genuine interest in families warms my heart and makes me feel like a valued team member. Additionally, she's quick to respond to important text messages and emails. This is not an easy task for someone who spends a lot of time in court and meetings. It's amazing how one person connecting with others can inspire and uplift. I'm grateful for her commitment, dedication and hard work for children and families.”
““Erica works in the Foster Care Unit and she is a very caring and dedicated hard worker. She is very organized and loves what she does. Her children are her priority and she works hard to ensure that they are safe and will have forever families. If Erica could take every child in her caseload home with her, she would. Erica’s job does not stop at 5:00; she works long hours during the week, as well as on the weekends, to ensure that all her children’s needs are met. Erica is also a team player, she has accompanied her coworkers on calls during the night and has volunteered numerous times to cover intake when needed. Erica is a loving mother to her biological children and is a strong advocate for them as well.”
CONGRATULATIONS Vanessa! It is our pleasure to recognize Vanessa Davis, with IFCCS in Richland County. Thank you, Vanessa, for outstanding service to children and families!
“Vanessa Davis has been a huge help to me personally with providing services to one of my 18+ clients. Vanessa always made herself available to me whenever I had a question about services or Independent Living needs for my client. She is what our office calls, THE GURU, of Independent Living! I admire Vanessa’s work toward getting her clients’ needs met when it comes to attending college, requesting funds for them, and assisting them when transitioning into independence. From the short time I have known Vanessa, I can tell that she takes pride in what she does and that is something I truly admire. I have never seen her stressed or overwhelmed as we know this job can be. Vanessa is truly someone I look up to in the Social Work field and I know this nomination is well deserved.”
COCONGRATULATIONS Cyndee! It is our pleasure to recognize Cyndee Hazel, with IFCCS in Anderson County. Thank you, Cyndee, for outstanding service to children and families!
“Cyndee has been with the agency as an Adoption Specialist where she devoted her time to find permanency for young children on her caseload. She is currently working with Anderson IFCCS where she continues to devote her time, endless hours and traveling over the state of SC for 18 and older. She works hard to ensure that the clients received services and motivated to obtain goals to transition into independence. Her ultimate goal if not to see her client’s homeless, she works very hard finding family and community connections. Cyndee is also dedicated to her coworkers, she was very instrumental in assisting coworkers meet deadlines in June. I believe the work that she does is the reason she is deserving to be honored as caseworker of the month.”
CONGRATULATIONS Desyona! It is our pleasure to recognize Desyona Davis, Family Caseworker at Charleston County DSS. Thank you, Desyona, for outstanding service to children and families!
“Ms. Davis works with both regular and therapeutic children in foster care. Ms. Davis is what I call the “Organized Queen” of the Foster Care Division. You will NEVER find a loose file or paper on her desk… Not only is she a great foster care worker, but an amazing team player. Working in Child Protective Services, you must have a team spirit and attitude and Ms. Davis has it. Ms. Davis goes above and beyond for the youth and foster care. When children on her caseload reach goals and or does well academically, Ms. Davis rewards them with lunch and even a Spa NAIL day. I felt she needed to be recognized for the great things that she does and that goes unrecognized. She’s an amazing co-worker and great asset to the foster care family.”
CONGRATULATIONS Charlene! It is our pleasure to recognize Charlene Sweeper, Family Preservation worker at Fairfield County DSS. Thank you, Charlene, for outstanding service to children and families!
“Charlene Sweeper is a Family Preservation worker at the Fairfield County DSS office. She is a shining star every month when the statewide data reports come out and show that she soars past almost every other Family Preservation worker in the state in achieving face-to-face goals. The numbers never tell the whole story, but letters from families as we receive in appreciation for Charlene confirm what a treasure we have in her.”
CONGRATULATIONS CARLENE! It is our pleasure to recognize Carlene Bennett, Caseworker for IFCCS in Anderson County. Thank you, Carlene, for outstanding service to children and families!
“Carlene Bennett has been with Anderson IFCCS for nine years. She continues to be devoted to older youth (18+) and works tireless hours advocating for those on her caseload. During the past 2015-16 school year, Carlene was instrumental in making sure 12 of her clients graduated from high school and 13 clients were successfully enrolled in college. Carlene’s dedication to the importance of education and her level of communication with local high schools and colleges continues to lead to successful outcomes for our youth. In addition, Carlene helped found, serves on the Board and works closely with Chains Broken Ministry which is devoted to women and children who are victims of domestic violence.”
CONGRATULATIONS Hali! It is our pleasure to recognize Hali Marsengill, Caseworker at Fairfield County DSS. Thank you, Hali, for outstanding service to children and families!
“Hali Marsengill is one of the most caring and hardest working caseworkers I’ve ever known. There is no day for her that is 8:30-5. Hali does not stop and does not rest until she knows every child on her caseload has been taken care of.” We are fortunate to have Hali Marsengill working for our children!
CONGRATULATIONS LETRICE! It is our pleasure to recognize Letrice Smalls, Caseworker for Charleston County. Thank you, Letrice, for outstanding service to children and families!
“Letrice Smalls is a Charleston County Foster Care Case Manager. She often works closely with the Medical University of South Carolina Foster Care Support Clinic, a medical home for children in foster care. Recently, we shared a mutual patient and her child, and we had the opportunity to work closely with Letrice. We want to recognize her for her hard work with this case. Letrice has gone over and beyond the call of duty with this difficult case that involved a great deal of medical complexity and eventually grief/loss. Letrice met with the FCSC, almost weekly for some time, in order to gain updates on both children and advocate for them both. Letrice did everything that was asked of her and more – showing up at the hospital on last minute notice, getting things ordered for the children urgently, all the while being a support to the FCSC and the children.”
CONGRATULATIONS PAIGE! It is our pleasure to recognize Paige Green, Caseworker for Charleston County. Thank you, Paige, for outstanding service to children and families!
Paige Green has been with the agency for 3 ½ years. She takes care of both regular and therapeutic children on her caseload with a sincere passion that is noticeable. Mrs. Green makes sure that all the children on her caseload are comfortable with each placement before she leaves them with a family. She always follows up with phone calls or text messages or emails and responds in a timely manner if there are issues.
In addition to her job with DSS, Paige volunteers in nursing homes and acts as a mentor to children in foster care.
CONGRATULATIONS DEBORAH! It is our pleasure to recognize Deborah Hunter, CPS Investigator and Family Preservation worker for Fairfield County. Thank you, Deborah, for outstanding service to children and families!
A few words from the person who nominated Ms. Hunter after receiving a copy of the letter in the photo, “As an agency, we continue to struggle with engaging fathers in case planning for their children and this is an area where much improvement is needed. I was very impressed to see this letter and learn that Deborah is making an active effort to not only engage but also to coach and encourage fathers. This letter also tells me that she is engaging this father in a way that is honoring to him as a valued family member which is perfectly aligned with our Signs of Safety practice model. I believe her work is a shining example of “doing the right work, the right way” with fathers, and for this reason she is deserving to be honored as case worker of the month.”
CONGRATULATIONS ERIC! It is our pleasure to recognize Eric McNair, Caseworker for York County IFCCS. Thank you, Eric, for outstanding service to children and families!
“Eric McNair is devoted to and works tireless hours for the 18 and older youth on his caseload. Eric’s hard work was especially evident during the month of June when 2 of the youth he works with were adopted as adults. Eric’s dedication to permanency and good communication with adoptions led to these successful outcomes for our youth. Eric gives a great deal to all the youth he works with and advocates for them on a daily basis. Eric is definitely a positive example to the youth on his caseload due to how much he genuinely cares for each one and ensures their needs are met. Way to go Eric for being a shining star!!”
CONGRATULATIONS LAURA! It is our pleasure to recognize Laura Rogers, Caseworker for Richland County. Thank you, Laura, for outstanding service to children and families!
“Laura Rogers is constantly going the extra mile for children on her caseload. She responds almost immediately to text messages and emails, which is a great comfort to foster parents. Laura is always able to make the best of difficult situations. We are very thankful to have her for our kids!”
CONGRATULATIONS ERIKA! It is our pleasure to recognize Erika Buchanan, Caseworker for Charleston County IFCCS. Thank you, Erika, for outstanding service to children and families!
“Erika started in November 2014. She has become certified and has taken a caseload immediately. This month Erika has juggled numerous placement disruptions and acute hospitalizations while successfully reunifying a sibling group of 4 with their parents. Erika works hard to ensure that all of her clients receive services that meet their needs while also helping out her co-workers when she can. Erika is eager to learn new information and applies her skills and knowledge to her work. Erika also has served as the on call worker after hours. She manages to sort through the emergencies and provide afterhours service to our families.”
CONGRATULATIONS RHONDA! It is our pleasure to recognize Rhonda Brown, Caseworker for Marlboro County. Thank you, Rhonda, for outstanding service to children and families!
“Rhonda never gets tired of doing what’s right for her kids. Every caseworker should have her determination and positive outlook on life!”
CONGRATULATIONS CHRISTI! It is our pleasure to recognize Christie Hopper, Caseworker for Cherokee County. Thank you, Christie, for outstanding service to children and families!
“I would like to nominate Christie Hopper as caseworker of the month. Christie has been with DSS longer than most foster parents have been licensed and longer than some of the foster parents have been alive. J Even though she’s been at DSS that long, she has never lost sight of what is important – THE CHILDREN AND FAMILIES! She works harder than anyone to be sure her children and families get their best interests served.”
CONGRATULATIONS TANYA! It is our pleasure to recognize Tanya Anthony, Caseworker for Horry County IFCCS. Thank you, Tanya, for outstanding service to children and families!
“Tanya is known as being a dedicated and committed worker. Tanya is always available to her foster youth and makes sure that resources are available to them when they need it. She always has a pleasant and positive outlook and doesn’t mind going the extra mile for her kids.” Thank you, Tanya, for working so hard and helping our children!”
CONGRATULATIONS KARI! It is our pleasure to recognize Kari Valentine, Caseworker for York County. Thank you, Kari, for outstanding service to children and families!
“Over the years, Kari Valentine has been a case worker for several of our children. She is always available, and ready to answer questions or help us with any needs we may have. She really does care about the kids in care as well as the foster parents. It is nice to have a familiar and friendly face when we have quarterly reviews, planning meetings, or go to court.”
CONGRATULATIONS DAWN! It is our pleasure to recognize Dawn Wood, Caseworker for Cherokee County. Thank you, Dawn, for outstanding service to children and families!
“I would like to nominate Dawn Wood who is a caseworker for Cherokee County. She has been an absolute blessing to work with. It is very obvious she loves and cares for the children she works with including my daughter and her siblings. Dawn has not only been a blessing for my daughter, caring for her well-being above all and fighting for what she believes is best for her, but she has also been a blessing to me. She is in constant contact with me about visits, hearings, the status of the case, and always available for me to ask questions, voice my concerns or just to let me share the ‘proud momma’ moments as my daughter has grown these past 16 months. My daughter has been in my care since she was 2 days old and on April 29 we will have our final adoption hearing. I have to admit I was hesitant to foster and adopt through DSS because of the bad publicity the social services system typically gets. I want people to know that there are wonderful workers who love the children in DSS care and fight for what is best for them. I will forever be grateful to Dawn and for her part in my daughter’s life and mine. “
CONGRATULATIONS CARIBBEAN! It is our pleasure to recognize Caribbean Busby, Caseworker for Richland County. Thank you, Caribbean, for outstanding service to children and families!
“Caribbean Busby is an amazing caseworker. She has a large caseload, but always manages to make me feel like I am a special, important part of my foster child's care. Her warm demeanor helps the children in my care feel safe. She is very approachable, respectful and kind. I know if I ever need anything, she will be there for me. How she manages to do this while working long hours is beyond me. I can't think of anyone who deserves a pat on the back, high-five or "Job well done!" more than Caribbean Busby.”
It is our pleasure to recognize Rosa Verner, Caseworker for Orangeburg County. Thank you, Rosa, for outstanding service to children and families!
“I am pleased to nominate Rosa Verner for Caseworker of the Month in recognition of her outstanding service to the children in our community. Ms. Verner provides outstanding leadership as she works tirelessly in raising awareness and addressing issues for the children. She is an active member of her church and also tutors children in reading in her ‘spare’ time. She continuously volunteers her time to benefit the children in our community and recruits others to do the same as I am one who has been inspired and motivated to service because of her.”
CONGRATULATIONS CHIQUANNA! It is our pleasure to recognize Chiquanna Giles, Caseworker for Clarendon County. Thank you, Chiquanna, for outstanding service to children and families!
“I would like to nominate Chiquanna Giles for caseworker of the month. She is a caseworker for Clarendon County. I am nominating her because she has been a pleasure to work with from day one. If I have any questions she always returns emails and calls in a timely manner. Most importantly she loves her kids. She has built a solid relationship with the little boy within my care. He looks forward to seeing her. There is no doubt in mind that she will fight for the best for him.”