COLUMBIA - The director of the Richland County Department of Social Services office is transferring to a position in York County.
Elizabeth Stroup has accepted a new position close to her home in York County with the DSS Intensive Foster Care and Clinical Services program, said Marilyn Matheus, DSS spokeswoman. Stroup will leave for her new position after the agency has found her replacement.
"Ms. Stroup is a dedicated and valued member of the DSS team, and her more than 20 years of working to protect the at-risk children of this state are a tremendous asset to the agency," Matheus said. "IFCCS is a specialized program that coordinates treatment for foster children who have emotional, developmental or medical disabilities."
Stroup was at the helm of the office that Gov. Nikki Haley said she'd be taking more of a hand-on approach with in May, following a case in April in which an infant died while a DSS staffer was searching for his family.
Haley said in May she was seeking to implement changes to the office, which include improving communication between law enforcement and the Richland County DSS office. Similar issues were addressed at the Greenville DSS office in 2011, Haley said, and resulted in improved quality of the office, which is what she's seeking to do in Richland County.
The changes also included sending 20 caseworkers from surrounding counties to Richland County to reduce caseloads for staffers, while an additional group of case workers undergo training. A liaison position was also to be created to improve communication between Richland County offices of law enforcement, the coroner, DSS and Richland County Court Appointed Special Advocates.
DSS has been a hot-button issue for Haley's gubernatorial challengers. The agency's director, Lillian Koller, resigned June 2, saying that her role as the agency's chief was "causing a distraction."
DSS has been the subject of an ongoing investigation by a Senate oversight committee after a few child welfare officials voiced concern over several deaths of children who had case files with the agency. The panel has been asked to report to the General Assembly on how to improve the agency.