RUTHERFORD COUNTY, N.C. — At the last Dept. of Social Services(DSS) board meeting, Board Chair Jackie Hampton in response to public comments on the DSS agreement regarding child abuse investigations within the Word of Faith Fellowship stated, “We will protect the babies.”
The DSS board at their meeting this week will face several challenges. The Associated Press(AP) has just released an investigative article citing “the agreement as highly unusual and spoke of a potential chilling effect on investigations.” The article went on to say:
Several former members told the AP that the social services department has either cited the settlement in refusing to get involved in cases or given Whaley and other church leaders advance notice before interviewing parents.
“If she knows social workers are coming, she will hold meeting after meeting, warning parents what to say,” said Rick Cooper, a former member who was one of the parents involved in the investigation that led to the court settlement.
According to the AP article, John Carroll, the child protection agency director, has repeatedly declined to discuss why he settled the lawsuit. But he said it “does not prevent us from fulfilling our statutory obligation to protect children.”
A January 2005 email cited in the AP article, however, gives a different perspective and the lack of the State of North Carolina’s DHHR support. The article goes on to show the manipulation of adoptions, court processes, and child protective services.