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A large crowd turned out at the Swain County commissioners meeting this week to voice support for the beleaguered Department of Social Services Board. Supporters said local board members tasked with overseeing the agency have been unfairly criticized following the…
Wednesday, 16 March 2011 19:00

Cherokee trust shaken in Swain DSS

Tribal members and leaders alike vented their discontent with Swain County’s handling of child welfare for Cherokee children at this month’s tribal council meeting. The Eastern Band no longer wants to rely on Swain County’s Department of Social Services but…
Swain County social workers and supervisors named in a State Bureau of Investigation probe are no longer welcome to work child welfare cases on tribal land. The Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians asked the Swain County Department of Social Services…
The State Bureau of Investigation raided Swain County Department of Social Services Tuesday, hauling off computers and records in an investigation allegedly tied to the death of Aubrey Littlejohn, a 15-month-old baby who died Jan. 10. Littlejohn was brought to…
The Swain County Department of Social Services falsified records relating to the abuse and neglect of a 15-month-old baby who later died, according to an investigation by the Swain County Sheriff’s Office and the State Bureau of Investigation. The specific…
Wednesday, 02 March 2011 20:21

Child’s death hits Cherokee hard

The mood is grim. Few people in this tight community want to talk to an outsider about the death of 15-month-old Aubrey Littlejohn. Here on the Cherokee Indian Reservation, kinship ties are strong and families are extended and extensive. It…
Relatives say they warned social workers repeatedly over the course of several months that Aubrey Littlejohn was being neglected and abused. Called by her middle name by family, 15-month-old Kina-Marie died on a mattress on the floor of a singlewide…
By Quintin Ellison and Colby Dunn • Staff writers The Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians is forced to rely on state social workers when it comes to protecting the tribe’s children from abuse and neglect. That might change in the…
The state could step in to run the Swain County Department of Social Services if the top leaders are among those put on leave during a probe into an alleged cover-up. Swain DSS falsified records relating to the abuse and…
Wednesday, 29 June 2011 19:50

Swain DSS director fired, lodges appeal

Tammy Cagle, once the leader of the Swain County Department of Social Services, has been given the ax by the department’s board of directors. Cagle, however, is fighting the decision. She’s appealed to the board, who handed down the decision…
Swain County social workers in charge of protecting children are paid less and handle more cases than those elsewhere in the state and region, factors that likely contribute to a higher-than-average turnover. Swain’s Department of Social Services has been plagued…
The former head of Swain County’s Department of Social Services won’t be getting her job back, members of the county’s DSS board decided in a called meeting on Monday. The board had dismissed Cagle following a hearing last month, but…
A county commissioner got financial aid from the Swain County Department of Services last year while his niece was serving as the DSS director, prompting the development of a new conflict of interest policy. The new policy prohibits the DSS…
An interim director is now at the helm of the Swain County Department of Social Services, bringing to the table an impressive resume with a focus on child welfare. “That was real important to us,” said Georgianna Carson, a newly…
The director of Swain County Department of Social Services has been put on leave with pay following a nearly clean sweep of the DSS board. A newly constituted DSS board placed Director Tammy Cagle on “nondisciplinary investigative status to investigate…
Wednesday, 27 April 2011 19:48

Social safety net failed Cherokee baby

Additional evidence has surfaced indicating Swain County social workers failed to act on reports of alleged abuse and neglect of a Cherokee baby who later died. Court papers reveal that Swain County social workers had reports of physical abuse of…