The Watauga County Department of Social Services is located in Boone in the Watauga County Human Services Building at 132 Poplar Grove Connector. Normal business hours are 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Monday through Friday, excluding holidays.
The Department of Social Services is dedicated to helping those citizens in need to meet basic financial and social needs; to providing a safety net for children, the disabled, the elderly, and the poor; to maintaining the integrity of families; and to helping individuals become self–sufficient.
Policy of the Department of Social Services is set by the State and carried out by the Director and staff under the general overview of a five member DSS Advisory Board. All members are selected and approved by the Watauga County Commissioners. The Director hires and supervises a staff of income maintenance caseworkers, professional social workers, secretaries, and data entry operators. Although they are County employees, the Director and staff must be hired in accordance with State personnel procedures.
Public Assistance Programs
Work First Family Assistance (WFFA) is a monthly payment for needy children who have been deprived of care and support of one parent because of death, disability, continued absence of one or both parents, or in some cases because of unemployment. In general, a close relative who is providing a home for a needy child may make application for a WFFA payment. WFFA recipients are expected to be registered for or in training for employment.
Medical Assistance (Medicaid) is available to dependent children and their families, certain other children, pregnant women and people who are aged, disabled or blind. Recipients must meet income and other criteria.
Food and Nutrition Services (formerly known as Food Stamps) may be obtained by families and individuals who qualify depending on family size, income and other resources. They can legally be used only to purchase food.
Aid to the Blind is available to persons who are legally blind and in need. It offers special services and equipment for the blind.
Special Assistance to Adults is a supplementary payment for persons residing in Assisted Living facilities.
Enery Assistance is available to low income persons to help with heating or cooling costs. Two programs are available – CIP (Crisis Intervention Program for those who are in a heating or cooling emergency) and LIEAP (Low Income Energy Assistance Program for anyone who would like assistance with heating or cooling). Funds for these programs vary from year to year. Additionally, the LIHWAP (Low Income Household Water Assistance Program) provides assistance with paying water bills to those who qualify.
The Department of Social Services works with the State Department of Human Resources to license and monitor institutions such as family care, rest homes or homes for the developmentally disabled which provide care for the aged and disabled. In addition, the department provides referral services to individuals who need placement in institutional care. (Nursing homes and Intermediate Care Facilities (ICF) are licensed independently by the state.)
Programs Under Title XX of the Social Security Act:
Protective Services to Children is a program which investigates reports of suspected child abuse and neglect. The agency attempts to correct abusive or neglectful situations by methods ranging from counseling, day care or other services to the family to removing children from their homes through court action.
Protective Services to Disabled Adults is a program which investigates reports of abuse, neglect or exploitation of disabled adults. Services cannot be provided unless the adult consents, except in cases where the adult is incapable of making that choice and a court orders services.
Adoption Services involves placing children who are cleared for adoption with qualified adoptive parents. Most children who are placed are older children, as infants are rarely available. There is a fee for some adoption services.
The Foster Home Program is responsible for licensing foster homes through the state and placing children who need foster care. The number of homes available varies from year to year.
Other services include
Child Support Enforcement, purchase of day care for eligible children, interstate placement of children (foster care, adoption, or runaways), services to adults (including placement in rest homes or nursing homes), and issuance of fishing permits.
In accordance with Federal law and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) policy, this institution is prohibited from discriminating on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, age, or disability. Under the Food Stamp Act and USDA policy, discrimination is prohibited also on the basis of religion or political beliefs.
To file a complaint of discrimination, contact USDA or HHS. Write USDA, Director, Office of Civil Rights, 1400 Independence Avenue, S.W., Washington, D.C. 20250-9410 or call (800) 795-3272 (voice) or (202) 720-6382 (TTY). Write HHS, Director, Office for Civil Rights, Room 506-F, 200 Independence Avenue, S.W. Washington, D.C. 20201 or call (202) 619-0403 (voice) or (202) 619-3257 (TTY). USDA and HHS are equal opportunity providers and employer