State Social Services Director RetiringJul 05, 2018 01:10PM ● By Kathleen Maris
Susan Alford, director of South Carolina’s Department of Social Services, announced her retirement from the agency after serving in that capacity since December of 2014. Her retirement is effective July 16, 2018.
“Ms. Alford has led the Department of Social Services with a true servant’s heart and with a passion that made its way throughout the entire agency as she and her team worked tirelessly to help the vulnerable children and adults in South Carolina,” said Gov. Henry McMaster. “We are sorry that her time at the agency has come to an end, but must congratulate her on her retirement and her 40 years of dedicated service to the people of our great state and thank her on behalf of the countless South Carolinians who have been impacted by that service.”
“It has been an honor to serve children, victims, and adults over the past 40 years and particularly in my recent years at SCDSS,” Alford said. “The reform of our child welfare system, and our system for serving vulnerable adults in S.C., is a marathon, not a sprint. While the decision to retire was difficult, it is rewarding to know I have finished my leg of the race. We have built an excellent executive and leadership team at SCDSS and I know they will continue to move the agency forward.”
Alford was appointed by then Gov. Nikki Haley one month after SCDSS became subject to a class action lawsuit (Michele H.) filed by Children’s Rights, Inc. A settlement agreement for the Michele H. lawsuit was reached in October 2016, and since that time, the agency has been engaged in child welfare reform efforts targeted at increasing foster home recruitment, caseload reduction, and improvements in health care services for children.
Alford has championed many important reforms during her time with the agency, including: implementation of a statewide system for abuse and neglect calls; increased support for kinship care; enhanced advocacy for vulnerable adults; implementation of a time-limit policy for SNAP recipients to meet work requirements; national recognition for developing and expanding the Third Party Reimbursement Program under SNAP Employability and Training; and development of the Palmetto Automated Child Support System (PACSS). For the first time, PACSS is scheduled to go live for the and begin implementation in October 2018.
Current SCDSS Chief of Staff Joan Meacham will serve as acting director when Alford’s retirement takes effect.