NASH COUNTY, N.C. (WTVD) -- A month after an 8-year-old died in Nash County, the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (NCDHHS) identified multiple violations within the department tasked with protecting her.
Nash County resident Patricia Ricks was charged with the murder of her 8-year-old granddaughter, Christal Lane, in early February.
During the time of Lane's death, Nash County DSS was actively investigating the family after it received a report of suspected child abuse in mid-December. The open investigation during the time of death, prompted some to question if more could have been done to save the girl.
On Friday, the ABC11 I-Team obtained a copy of the letter that listed Nash County DSS did fail to take policy steps both in this case and others.
NCDHHS found the department failed to contact collateral contracts, conduct supervision and take new reports of injuries found.
Additionally, the Ricks relocated to Nash County from South Carolina in the summer of 2022. NCDHHS stated in the letter that Nash County DSS failed to obtain Child Protective Services history from South Carolina.
The department also completed insufficient follow-up on interviews and the child medical exams.
State leaders also evaluated 23 other CPS cases within the county and found similar violations. The letter stated in a majority of cases the department did not conduct supervisory oversight. In only 67% of the cases were the case decisions appropriate and supported by documentation.
The county has 30 days to address the violations. Some of the corrective suggestions included having all workers participate in multiple trainings from safety and risk to standards to technical assistance. The state also said the county should develop a plan to provide all staff with ongoing supervisory oversight at least every other week and high-risk cases weekly and a plan to ensure all staff remains current in narrative within 7 days of an event.
The letter stated that Nash County has already taken some corrective steps including, having social workers call from the field to initiate a safety plan, conducting documentation verification during supervision and scheduling training for serious injury cases.
NCDHHS will be meeting weekly with county staff to assist with the changes and review new cases.