Senate confirms Haley’s pick to lead Dept of Social Services

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — Gov. Nikki Haley’s pick to lead South Carolina’s embattled Department of Social Services has been confirmed by state lawmakers.

The state Senate voted unanimously on Thursday to confirm Susan Alford as the agency’s new director.

Haley picked Alford to fill the vacancy left when former director Lillian Koller resigned from the post last year. Her departure came amid ongoing questions about high turnover, heavy caseloads and children dying on the agency’s watch.

Alford has said she wants to visit each county, assess its needs and hear why caseworkers leave the agency. Asked about a “culture of fear” at DSS, Alford told lawmakers during a series of hearings that she’ll work to create an environment where employees feel comfortable speaking up.

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