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DSS Celebrates National Social Workers Month; DSS’ Richland County Teneka Payne Named MDT Participant of the Year

March 9, 2017 - The South Carolina Department of Social Services (DSS) recognizes March as National Social Workers Month. “We recognize Social Work Month to thank our human and economic case workers for their hard work, perseverance and service to the community year round,” said DSS Director Susan Alford. She continued, “This month we’d like to show our appreciation to our staff who have been recognized by the community.”

DSS would like to highlight one of our caseworkers in Richland County. Teneka Payne, a case manager in the DSS Assessment Court Unit, has been awarded the Multidisciplinary Team Participant of the Year (MDT.) The MDT group is comprised of representatives from law enforcement, The Child Advocacy Center (Assessment and Resource Center/ARC), and medical professionals. This group reviews all DSS Child Protective Services (CPS) cases that have concurrent criminal investigations.

Teneka is the second DSS worker to receive the award. “The Multidisciplinary Team consists of employees from Richland County DSS, Palmetto Health Richland, Richland County Sheriff’s Department, City of Columbia Police Department, and the Solicitor’s Office,” Teneka explains. “We meet monthly to discuss cases that we share in efforts of making the appropriate decisions concerning children and families in Richland County. At the end of the year, everyone is able to nominate one person they think deserves the MDT Participant of the Year award. I absolutely love what I do and the families I’m able to help daily,” said Teneka. (See her photo below.)

SC Foster Parent Association (SCFPA) Honors DSS Social Worker of the Month
March 2017: Dana Williams of Greenville County DSS
Ms. Williams is a Foster Care worker recognized for her kindness and attention to detail. If she doesn't know the answer to something, she takes the time to figure it out. She consistently returns phone calls after hours. According to the SCFPA she's making a real difference in the children in her care and their foster families.

February 2017: Kimberly Funderburk of Lancaster County DSS
Ms. Funderburk is a Family Preservation worker recognized for going above and beyond in helping children in care. She has met and exceeded office performance challenges to enhance local recruitment and has secured one major donor to sponsor Christmas gifts for all 45 children in the county’s Family Preservation caseload.

January 2017: Brittany Standridge, of Anderson County DSS
Ms. Standridge was recognized for outstanding service to children and families in striving to improve each day how she relates to co-workers and how she can be effective in helping her families with a positive attitude. Additionally, she works well under pressure, puts in extra hours and is first to lend a hand to her coworkers. Her primary focus is on making sure her children are safe in their foster homes or in their family homes.”


This year the National Association of Social Workers (NASW) will commemorate Social Work Month with a “Social Workers Stand Up!” campaign. This campaign will educate the public about the contributions of social workers - click here to learn more.  

NASW South Carolina will hold their Spring Symposium 2017, March 20-22 at Marriott Hotel in Downtown Columbia. For more information click here