City Administration Issues Statement on Department of Social Services Operations

Press Secretary Tammy D. Hawley provided the following statement today concerning the Richmond Department of Social Services:

“The City Administration has reached a mutual agreement with Dr. Carolyn Graham, deputy chief administrative officer for Human Services, regarding her departure from city service.  Dr. Graham’s last official day in the office was Friday, December 7, 2012.  Dr. Graham will be working with city leadership over the next few weeks to provide a transition plan for many of the important projects for which she had oversight responsibility. The City’s chief administrative officer, Byron Marshall, will serve as acting deputy chief administrative officer for Human Services until another interim deputy is named.

“The City remains focused on the ongoing review of the Richmond Department of Social Services (RDSS) Child Welfare division. At our request, the Virginia Department of Social Services (VDSS) is continuing to review additional case files following the initial expedited case review the City requested. Although VDSS has not identified any need for corrective action at this time, the City has heeded the department’s suggestion that an outside review could also prove beneficial.  We are proceeding diligently to ensure that all necessary safeguards for child safety are in place. The Administration plans to engage a national agency to conduct a more in-depth review of policies and procedures at RDSS.  We would like this external review to begin in the next week.

“Because of a number of allegations the City has received, and while this investigation continues, the decision has been made to place the deputy director for Child Welfare, Gayle Turner, on administrative leave. Decisions will be made concerning overall RDSS staffing when the VDSS and external reviews are complete."

Mayor Dwight C. Jones added: 

“The Richmond Department of Social Services is charged with the tremendous responsibility of helping to protect families and children in the city of Richmond. We must be certain that the Department’s policies and practices are working effectively and that the agency is operating above reproach as child safety is not an issue where there will be any equivocation.”