County employees unite to care for boy

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During the Yadkin County Commissioners meeting Tuesday morning, County Manager Lisa Hughes formally thanked the entire staff off the county Human Services Agency for personally providing 24-7 care for a displaced child last week while county and regional officials sought to find a home for the 9-year-old boy.

The boy had been discharged from a care facility several hours away, Hughes told commissioners.

“There was no continuum of care for this child, no place for him to go,” she said of the situation, adding that placing him with a foster family or in a children’s home was complicated by his young age and because “his needs were more than a lot of people could handle or accommodate.”

“We ended up having our employees stay with this child 24 hours a day downstairs” at the county offices, Hughes said.

During those days, county employees from other departments also contributed to the boy’s care, with Jason Walker and Caleb Poplin from the recreation department taking the boy to the pool and to play disc golf. The Yadkin Family YMCA offered the use of its showers and also welcomed him to participate in basketball and other activities.

“We have never had that situation happen before,” Hughes said. “Surry County allegedly has had it happen one time but it was a new experience for us.”

Jeffery Eads of Partners Behavioral Health happened to be attending the meeting to discuss a separate matter and informed commissioners that the options for displaced children were extremely limited due to a shortage of service providers coupled with increased demand.

Hughes and commissioners agreed they wanted to work proactively to find solutions for the shortage.

“It’s sad,” Chairman Kevin Austin said. “This may be the worst thing I’ve seen since I’ve been a commissioner.”

In other business, the board scheduled an upcoming public hearing to consider updates to the county’s zoning and subdivision ordinances, as well as changes to those impacting solar farms and temporary use situations. The updates are to bring the county into compliance with state legislation that aligns city and county ordinances. The hearing will be held July 19 and red-line drafts of the proposed changes will be posted on the county website.

Lisa Michals may be reached at 336-448-4968 or follow her on Twitter @ lisamichals3.

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