Dinwiddie Dept. of Social Services: An Invaluable Resources for County Residents

By: Sherry Williams Kidd | Email: Click Here
Posted: Feb. 28, 2018 | 3:25 p.m. 

Dinwiddie Department of Social Service’s “Oasis of Hope” Room.

DINWIDDIE – Many residents of Dinwiddie County are unaware of its superior Department of Social Services, or the invaluable services it provides to vulnerable county residents. This is in part because this type of agency is one that people don’t generally think about, unless the time comes when there is a need for their help or services.

“Our service area covers one of the largest geographic localities in Virginia. In this vast county, our role is to work to preserve the safety and security of our most vulnerable citizens,” said Director, Rose Mastracco. “I am proud to serve as leader of this great organization. Our department is staffed by dedicated people who genuinely care for others, and are committed to the mission of our agency. I invite everyone to contact our agency to learn more about all of the benefits and services that are available to those who are eligible.”

The mission of Dinwiddie’s Department of Social Services (DSS) is about people helping people. Regardless of current circumstances or situation, DSS will work diligently to address residents’ needs in a helpful, courteous, and respectful manner. Dinwiddie County DSS is under the authority of County Administrator, Kevin Massengill. DSS also has an Advisory Board that meets monthly.  Board Chair is Mrs. Kathy Young, District 4; Vice-Chair is Mrs. Yvonne Steward, District 3;  Mrs. Sarah Farmer, District 2; Pastor Chris Hillman, District 1; and Mrs. Elois Evans, District 5.

There are numerous programs offered by Dinwiddie’s DSS. Medicaid is a federal system of health insurance for those requiring medical assistance. SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) is the food Stamps program. This program enables low-income families to buy nutritious food with an Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) card.

TANF and TANF/UP is a temporary Assistance to Needy Families of unemployed parents. This program is designed to help needy families achieve self-sufficiency. TANF Diversionary Assistance provides immediate assistance for a qualifying, one-time family crisis to prevent the need for ongoing TANF. Energy Assistance provides seasonal heating and cooling assistance to eligible, low-income families. VIEW (Virginia Initiative for Employment not Welfare), provides job-readiness, job search, and job development/placement services to mandated TANF recipients.

In addition to these programs, Dinwiddie’s DSS offers numerous services. Adoption and Foster Care, as a licensed adoption agency, the Dinwiddie DSS provides adoption services to natural parents, children in need of adoption, and to couples seeking adoption. Day Care Services for Children, the DSS day care staff provides quality day care support for children and families with consultations to parents and day care providers. Emergency Assistance, provided to families with children, to prevent the prospect of foster care, by providing short-term, limited financial assistance to families considered at-risk.

Adult Protective Services/Adult Services, adult services staff investigate complaints about the welfare of elderly and disabled adults, providing services to reduce the risk to adults and assist in their efforts to remain independent.

Screenings are provided for Medicaid-funded personal care (community based services, assisted living, and nursing home placements). Companion Services, provide protection, and prevent institutionalization, by placing companion providers in the homes of eligible elderly and disabled adults, to assist with self-care and activities of daily living. Child Protective Services, investigates reports of child abuse and neglect.

They provide services to children and families in an effort to reduce the risk of further abuse/neglect.

“In addition to our many programs and services, we also have a small food closet for emergency situations,” said Director Mastracco. “Sometimes, if clients are not eligible for their SNAP benefits for another day or so, or if they have lost their cards, we can usually provide enough food from our food closet to tide them over. We try to rely on the established Food Bank, and we provide clients with contact information. We don’t always have food in our food closet. We do have food in our closet right now because the Middle School had an amazing drive at Christmas that filled our closet with canned goods and dried milk, and for this we are so grateful, but the closet being full is not always the case,” said Mastracco.

A room that provides dignity, hope, and help. Also impressive is the Oasis of Hope Room at DSS. It is a room made possible by the Dinwiddie Kiwanis Club. The room provides a relaxing atmosphere for families and children to use during visits to DSS.

“Dinwiddie DSS will be one of the departments moving to the new Government Center in the fall. We are looking forward to being in a new building and working closer with other county staff,” said Mastracco.

What an amazing and incredible Dinwiddie County organization, department, resource, and institution. Many never stop to think they may ever be in a position to need any of the wide and vast variety of programs and services offered by DSS; but it’s comforting to know they are there—for those in need, for the most vulnerable among us, and for all of us—as one day we may need their help.

Copyright 2018 by Womack Publishing
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