WILKESBORO — The Wilkes County Department of Social Services is now facing state scrutiny from a team of inspectors with the Department of Health and Human Services, the agency with oversight over Wilkes County DSS.
“A team is present in Wilkes County. All cases are being reviewed. A report will take time and will be released at some point,” said a press spokesperson for DHHS Thursday afternoon.
Recently, it was discovered that Wilkes County DSS officials placed minors already victims of a sexual abuse case from Wilkes County into a home of Yadkin County caretakers who allegedly continued the sexual abuse of the kids. Two of the minors contracted a sexually-transmitted disease, according to a court-issued warrant.
One of the caretakers, Tammy Renee Galyean, was previously convicted of child abuse in Surry County, a case brought to light in 1994 and 1996 by Surry DSS.
The Yadkin County Sheriff’s Office charged Tammy Renee Galyean and Randy Jay Galyean in late January with a slew of sex charges. The duo await trial. The children remain in custody with Wilkes County DSS.
Rep. Sarah Stevens (Wilkes, Surry) said she is happy that DHHS is looking into the Wilkes County cases, but she vehemently expressed frustration with the state system.
“I am unhappy that we had to get to this point. I am unhappy with current rules and the restrictions. I am very curious as to what has happened in the recent Wilkes case, other cases, and we have to change so these things don’t continue to happen,” said Stevens.
Stevens indicated that DHHS under current law does not inspect county DSS operations until well after problems surface.
Stevens said she got a phone call from DHHS 24 hours after the Wilkes County DSS case first surfaced in the news.
“We talked about what we were thinking about doing (at a legislative level). We spoke about Wilkes…but my concern are all kids in every county,” she said.
Stevens is the General Assembly’s co-chair of the Committee on Onmibus Foster Care and Dependency. The lawmaker also indicated that she has been reviewing circumstances surrounding another DSS case out of Union County that had a DSS social worker charged with child abuse for allegedly handcuffing a minor and wrapping a dead chicken around his neck.
Reach Anthony Gonzalez at 336-835-1513 or follow @newsgonz on Twitter.