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Agency is recognized for technology and innovation in services
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
DSS receives multiple awards
Wilson, NC - September 6, 2012 – The Wilson County Department of Social Services' recently received four awards recognizing the agency's technology and innovation in services and employee programs.
The National Association of Counties (NACo) awarded DSS with three awards. The DSS Leadership Academy, started in 2008, provides opportunities for the agency to grow and to develop leaders within the organization. Implemented in 2010, with six participants, the program now boasts 14 graduates.
"The Leadership Academy inspires creativity and innovation, and rewards initiative," said Mary Mallory, Human Resources manager. "It has been a great success and the greatest reward is to see the employee growth and development."
The National Association of Counties (NACo) also awarded DSS with another achievement award. The DSS Paperless Initiative, a multi-year project, replaced paper-based records with electronic ones. This provides faster, more efficient ways for staff to share and update records. "This project was a total staff effort," said Kim Boykin, Information Technologies manager. DSS has seen a cost savings through a reduction in the use of paper and customer service is more efficient without waiting on the retrieval of a manual record.
DSS picked up a final NACo award for the agency's Express Application Service Center. The center was created to simplify the application process for Food Assistance and Medicaid customers. With the rise in Food Assistance and Medicaid cases, DSS streamlined the application process by eliminating the need for a customer to see a worker and developed a shortened application process. Customers can visit an interactive computer to complete their application. "We have received positive feedback from our customers and that is why we did this. We want to reduce wait times and make this process as simple as possible," said Evelyn Scott, Food and Nutrition team leader. The anticipated long-term plans for the center are to continue to expand the services being offered to include changes in addition to applications.
The North Carolina Association of County Commissioners (NCACC) and the Local Government Federal Credit Union (LGFCU) awarded DSS with a productivity award for the agency's efforts with the Working for Kids program. The mission of the Working for Kids Program is to improve the well-being of children by increasing the number of children growing up with involved, responsible, and committed fathers and mothers.
The Working for Kids Program provides employment support to parents who are Child Support customers of Wilson County Department of Social Services. Providing employment support is a departure from typical child support services, and is an investment in the future of children in Wilson County hoping to receive child support.
"We have realized a cost savings; when the parents begin working they are also providing medical insurance through their employer and not through Medicaid funds, saving taxpayer dollars," said Delois Jones, Income Maintenance and Child Support manager.
Since October 2011, 72 non-custodial parents have become employed. Of those 72 parents that went to work, a portion of the custodial parents were receiving Work First; one month of receipt data helped Wilson County realize a cost savings of $1,601. This is for one month only; had the custodial parents received assistance for 6 months, we would have provided $9,606 through Work First (TANF) benefits to the children and custodial parents.
"It is always a pleasure to be recognized for hard work. To receive four awards for technology, staff development and customer service innovation, is an amazing achievement," said Glenn Osborne, director. "My staff work hard and stay focused on the citizens that we serve and that is what drives us. I am proud to lead this great group of people that have been recognized for their work."
NCACC, NACo and LGFCU awards recognize programs that are effective and innovative in their contributions to enhance county government in the United States.
CONTACT INFORMATION:Ron HuntCommunications ManagerWilson County DSS252.206.4164