UNION COUNTY, N.C. — UPDATE (Tuesday, Nov. 19): Union County Sheriff’s deputies originally told Channel 9 on Friday the boy was a foster child, but on Tuesday officials with the Department of Social Services told Channel 9 the couple had legal guardianship over the boy and he was not part of the foster system.
Channel 9 uncovered documents detailing Wanda Larson’s work history with Union County Department of Social Services.
She and her husband are accused of handcuffing their 11-year-old child to the porch with a dead chicken tied to his neck.
The county held its first meeting Monday night since Channel 9 broke the investigation into a county DSS worker accused of child abuse.
Commissioners were tight-lipped about the investigation and their involvement.
Commissioner Jonathan Thomas was vague about what action the commission is taking after learning Larson, a senior county social worker, has been charged with child abuse for her care of four adopted children and a foster child.
Larson was hired with Union County DSS in March 2003. She’s been promoted twice, most recently in December 2009 to child protective services supervisor, assigned to the investigative unit. Her salary is set at more than $54,000.
Larson has been disciplined twice, suspended once in May 2012, then again on Friday, the day she was arrested after the boy was found handcuffed on the porch.
The children were underfed, forced to sleep on the floor and endure unusual punishments while living in filth, according to investigators.
Deputies took 93 animals from the Austin Road property Monday including donkeys, llamas, dogs, cats, and 75 chickens and ducks.
County investigators are now working with state investigators are looking into Larson, her husband Dorian Harper, and Union County DSS.
The state wants to know whether Union County DSS followed proper procedures when it came to Larson and her children.
Larson and Harper are still behind bars and their bond was set today at about a half-a-million dollars and a judge said it won’t be changing.
This case may lead to a new state law to keep children safer. Child welfare advocate Jeff Gerber told Channel 9 he’s working with lawmakers to write legislation to regulate social work.
He said it would require county social workers to make unannounced, random visits with law enforcement to families in the system.