DSS Director

Cumberland County
June 5, 2021
225 Ramsey St, Fayetteville, NC
Billing Address
510 Meadowmont Village Circle, #299
First Name
Last Name
Phone Number
Closing Date
July 5, 2021


Diverse, Military Community in the Heart of the Carolinas

Seeks their next DSS Director

Cumberland County is seeking a passionate advocate, innovative, and mission-driven leader to be their next Department of Social Services (DSS) Director. The ideal Social Services Director is a strong, and motivated leader with the creativity, and vision to grow and direct the Department of Social Services.  The successful leader has a track record of partnering and collaborating with staff, community, state and federal stakeholders, the Social Services Board, County Management, and County Commissioners to carry out the mission of the department “to strengthen individuals and families and to protect children and vulnerable adults. We collaborate with our community partners to provide programs and services which engage our customers in improving their quality of life.” The position is open due to retirement.

The Cumberland County Department of Social Services assists citizens in meeting their basic daily living needs through financial, nutritional, and medical assistance. The department promotes the well-being of citizens through social work services to strengthen families, protective services to prevent or remedy abuse, neglect or exploitation of vulnerable children and disabled or elderly adults.

The Social Services Director is responsible for administering state and federal social services programs established by Chapter 108A of the North Carolina General Statutes in accordance with applicable federal and state rules. The Social Services Department is governed by the five-member Cumberland County Board of Social Services who are appointed by the Board of County Commissioners and serve three (3) year terms. The DSS Director reports directly to the Board of Social Services and reports indirectly to the County Manager’s Office. The Director serves as a member of the County Leadership Team, which consists of the County’s Department Heads. Cumberland DSS has a fiduciary budget of $715 million, an operating budget of over $65 million, and nearly 716 employees, who work in seven sections.  The department’s core sections consist of Adult, Economic, and Children’s Services who administer the mandated federal-state programs and services including Food Stamps, Child Care, Medicaid, Energy, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, Child Protection, Adult Protection, Domestic Violence, Foster Parenting, and Transportation.  Sections that provide support services include Administration, Business Operations (human resources, finance, facilities management), Legal (attorneys, paralegals), and Performance Management (data management, quality assurance, training).

The Department administers three non-mandated programs consisting of family violence programs including operating the County’s only battered women’s shelter, provider for Non-Emergency Medicaid Transportation and operates a Level I group homes for boys and girls.

The Department supports the disaster shelters for the County, in conjunction with the American Red Cross; and when federally mandated, administers the disaster supplemental nutritional assistance program (DSNAP-food stamps) in the event of natural or man-made disasters.  The Department is the lead facilitator for unmet needs during disasters and coordinates the community partners’ collaborative efforts to meet the food, clothing, financial, and donation needs of citizens immediately following a disaster.


The next DSS Director will be a passionate advocate for citizen access to outstanding social services and the ongoing development of a climate of excellence, collaboration, and innovation in which staff grow and thrive in delivering outstanding customer service.   A track record of interdepartmental collaboration to enhance service delivery, systematic monitoring of state performance standards, particularly around Medicaid to avoid penalties, and actionable career development and succession planning to ensure continuity of services is essential.

The next DSS Director will carry out several key priorities:

  • Work in collaboration with County Leadership to improve staff recruitment and retention to include continued support for remote and virtual service delivery and administration of the programs.
  • Implement newly mandated federal and state legislative actions ex. Family First Prevention Services Act, Medicaid Transformation, State’s NC FAST Case Management System in Child Welfare and COVID related relief services.
  • Incorporate the fiscal changes mandated through the Family First Prevention Services Act which limits federal reimbursement for congregate and group care for foster children to no more than 14 days and instead places new emphasis on family foster homes.
  • Continue the implementation of A Model Approach for Change in Child Welfare (AMAC-CW) to improve well-being outcomes for children in foster care especially those aging out through a hybrid collective impact initiative.
  • Advocate and collaborate with key stakeholders for the delivery of quality mental health services for at-risk adults and children especially those in need of therapeutic residential services.


The anticipated hiring range is $101,937 – $171,561.  Final salary will be based on experience and combined with a generous benefits package. Benefits include medical, dental, vision care, flexible spending accounts, paid vacation and sick time, short- and long-term disability as well as basic and supplemental term life insurance. The selected candidate will be automatically enrolled into the North Carolina Local Government Retirement System upon their employment. In addition, there is enrollment in a 401(k) Plan, with a 2% contribution from the County.

Department Heads are eligible to continue participation in the County’s Group Health Insurance Plan upon retirement if they retire from Cumberland County government with at least 10 consecutive years of full-time County employment; participate in the County’s group health insurance plan for at least three years prior to regular, early or disability retirement; and meet other requirements.


The successful candidate should possess a master's degree in social work (MSW) and two (2) years of supervisory experience in the delivery of client services; or a bachelor's degree in social work and three (3) years of supervisory experience in the delivery of client services one (1) of which must have been in Social Services; or graduation from a four (4) college or university and three (3) years of supervisory experience in the delivery of client services, two (2) of which must have been in Social Services; or an equivalent combination of training and experience.  Applicants must have extensive knowledge of management principles applicable to the operation of a human service delivery system. Applicants must also understand the organizational structure of a department of social services and applicable county policy as well as state and federal laws, rules, and regulations.

Special Requirements

The Successful Candidate is:  

  • a respected and skillful leader who is able to effectively recruit, retain, manage, develop and engage talented staff;
  • an assertive advocate for the needs of DSS clients, community members and employees with key stakeholders and decision-makers who influence policy, law and funding;
  • creative in working through shortages in staffing and increases in caseloads in a time of low unemployment;
  • an effective influencer who matches goals, data and strategy to aid decision-makers in understanding needs and resources needed to improve service delivery;
  • skillful in diplomatically engaging with a diversity of stakeholders such as individual citizens, community groups, Board of Social Services, County Board of Commissioners, County Management, employees, regional, state and federal authorities in order to leverage County opportunities and mitigate challenges;
  • one with a track record of breaking down silos and barriers while building bridges and paths to solutions in partnership with others;
  • accountable by creating and applying performance metrics that objectively and consistently measure department performance against mission-critical goals;
  • adept at ensuring the marketing and communication of programs to eligible citizens through various means;
  • experienced in developing, managing and coordinating a budget that consists of funds from multiple sources while also taking the initiative to secure additional ways and means to fund services;
  • an effective representative in the community on nonprofit and appointed boards for which s/he is a critical member;
  • able to enhance and build on a culture of excellent customer service to DSS program customers;
  • knowledgeable about the legal and philosophical basis for public assistance programs along with a theoretical knowledge base of the field of social work;
  • a networker with peers in neighboring communities and throughout the state;
  • an excellent communicator both verbally and in writing and possesses well-developed interpersonal skills and abilities; and,
  • an accountable manager who holds high expectations of self and others while also being an effective and respected leader.


Application and Selection Process

To apply, go to https://agency.governmentjobs.com/developmentalassociates/default.cfm and click on the DSS Director – Cumberland County link. To learn more about the selection process, visit Client Openings (or copy and paste into your browser: https://developmentalassociates.com/client-openings/).  All applications must be fully completed and submitted online via the Developmental Associates application portal – NOT the County’s portal, nor any other external website; it is not sufficient to send only a resume. Resumes and cover letters can be uploaded with the application.  Applicants should apply by July 5, 2021.  Application review begins July 20, 2021, after State credentialing approval.  Finalists will participate in virtual interviews and skill assessments on August 24-25, 2021.   Interviews with the County DSS Board will follow at a subsequent time.   All inquiries should be emailed to [email protected].  Cumberland County is an Equal Opportunity Employer.

The recruitment and selection process is being managed by Developmental Associates, LLC