When Mrs. Priscilla Smith shared the story of how the Durham Department of Social Services (DSS) mistreated her family, it inspired several others to come forward. Three additional individuals have offered their own painfully similar accounts of how Durham DSS and the broader family regulation system fail to adequately care for those who enter it.
Team Emancipate will provide these four testimonials to the Durham Board of County Commissioners and Durham DSS.
Mrs. Sharon Parks, an impacted parent, said, “When social services came into my family life they left nothing but turmoil and destruction. They cared nothing about ruining my family ties or relationships, broken promises, or finding solutions. All they cared about was going back to their daily lives as if nothing had happened and as if everything else was okay.”
Mrs. Nancy Hall, a licensed foster care parent and social worker, shared how DSS refused to provide necessary resources for her to care for children with medically complex needs; the need for far greater training on mental health care for foster parents, and the structural limitations of a system that drops all support for kids in need once they turn eighteen.
And Ms. Tonia Johnson, who witnessed the harm DSS perpetrated against Priscilla Smith’s family, named how despite all of the support she was offering to provide the family, including with her healthcare background uniquely suited to the needs of Smith’s disabled grandson, DSS still decided the best course of action was to separate the infant from his family by placing him in an institution over an hour away from his kin.