Thursday, December 16, 2021 at 1:00 pm at Commissioner Chambers


Important *New* Information

The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services is seeking public comment on the proposed Low Income Household Water Assistance Program (LIHWAP) block grant plan, which outlines how federal LIHWAP block grant funds will be spent in North Carolina in the coming state fiscal year.

LIHWAP provides assistance to low income households with their water and wastewater bills. States are given broad latitude under block grant funding to design and operate their own programs, under certain restrictions.

The plan may be reviewed July 29 – August 4, 2021 at the following locations:
• Any of the 100 county departments of social services
• Online on the Division of Social Services website

Any water or wastewater vendor interested in signing a vendor agreement to accept LIHWAP funds on behalf of customers, please contact Jasmyne Simmons at [email protected].

Written comments will be accepted in writing no later than Thursday August 5, 2021 via:
• Any agency where the plan was displayed
• Mail, postmarked no later than Thursday August 5, 2021 to:
RE: LIHWAP Plan Comments
Susan Osborne Assistant Secretary for County Operations
2420 Mail Service Center
Raleigh, NC 27699-2420


Social Services Block Grant Plan

Public Notice (PDF)

Pre-Expenditure Report

To report adult or child maltreatment

Please call (828)-884-3174, then press option 1 and ask for Adult or Child Protective Services intake.

Your confidentiality will be maintained in these situations. Emergency reports of Adult Protective Services or Child Protective Services after regular office hours can be reported by calling 911.

Our Mission

Our Mission is to Improve the quality of life for Transylvania County citizens by encouraging personal responsibility, promoting self-sufficiency, protecting children, elderly and disabled adults, and strengthening families.

We hope you find this website useful in learning about the various services we offer to accomplish our mission, as well as key contact persons and data on how we are performing our mission.

Looking for information about services in Transylvania County, call 2-1-1.

Services for Adults

Adult Services Programs offer support to elderly and disabled adults, provide protective services to vulnerable adults and regulate certain residential services. In addition, we offer employment services to adults receiving work first cash assistance and offer other supportive services to recipients of various financial assistance programs. Programs that we administer include:

Adult Protective Services (APS)

APS evaluates reports alleging that disabled adults with a physical or mental incapacity or elderly adults are abused, neglected, or exploited and are in need of protective services. Our goal is to determine whether the adult is able to perform or obtain for himself/herself essential services or is without able, willing, and responsible persons to perform or obtain those services on the client’s behalf. We assess the situation to determine what services are needed to protect the adult and prevent further mistreatment.


TCDSS must sometimes initiate or help families initiate guardianship proceedings for incompetent adults. When TCDSS is appointed the guardian for a person, we provide case management and make decisions for individuals that the court has adjudicated incompetent and appointed DSS as guardian. In some situations, we may contract case management services out to a private vendor.

There are 4 types of guardianship appointments:

  • Guardian of the Person
  • Guardian of the Estate
  • General Guardian
  • Limited Guardianship (which means that a person may be competent to make decisions in some areas, but unable to make decisions in other areas of his/her life).

Facility Licensing and Monitoring Services

TCDSS licenses and monitors family care homes (6 beds or less), adult care homes (7 beds or more), assisted living facilities, adult day health centers and adult day care centers for compliance with state/federal rules and regulations. We also investigate complaints of non-compliance in facilities and provide technical assistance to facility staff. Public records are kept at DSS on all monitoring complaints, state surveys, and penalties.

Adult Care Home Case Management

This service provides case management and coordination of appropriate services to eligible "heavy care" Medicaid Special Assistance residents in facilities.

Adult Care Home Resident Discharge

TCDSS  takes the lead role for discharge destination for those residents of Adult Care Homes who have received a discharge notice and at the time of discharge the destination is not appropriate or is unknown. These services are for residents whose primary unment needs are related to health, Alzheimer's Disease, other dementia, abuse or neglect.

Special Assistance In-Home Program

This program provides case management and coordination of services to eligible Medicaid residents who are receiving no other Medicaid Case Management services. This program allows individuals to stay in a private living arrangement as an alternative to assisted living placement.

Representative Payee

DSS is appointed representative payee for some citizens who receive funds such as SSI, Social Security, And SA In-Home and have been determined unable to manage these funds themselves. We are responsible for paying the client’s bills and managing their money appropriately.

Eye Care Services

The NC Division of Services to the Blind offers services at our local DSS on Wednesdays. Applications are taken for eye care assistance to benefit children and adults without Medicaid whose income is below poverty level.

Services for Families & Children

Family and Children’s Services Programs that we provide include:

Child Support

Child Support services works with custodial and non-custodial parents to ensure children receive adequate financial support.  Child Support Enforcement provides the following services:

  • Locating absent parents
  • Establishing paternity
  • Establishing support orders through the court for medical and financial support
  • Enforcing court ordered support obligations.

Child support services are available to anyone in the county without regard to income.  There may be an application fee not to exceed $25.00.

Work First Employment Services

Work First Employment Services provide case management for families who are receiving Work First beneifts to assist them in removing barriers to work and becoming employed and self-sufficient. If satisfactorily participating, families can be eligible for case management services, work-related expenses, child care, and transportation assistance, Families that go off Work First due to employment are eligible for Retention Services, which allows them to receive mileage reimbursement to and from work for up to one year after they leave Work First. Work First Transportation provides transportation for Work First families to and from their employment, school, and daycare.  

Child Protective Services Assessment

Unfortunately, children sometimes are harmed by their parents or caretakers.  When suspicion of child abuse or neglect exists, our agency initiates an assessment to determine whether the child is indeed abused, neglected or dependent (has no one available to provide care to them).  The purpose of this assessment is to identify any safety concerns and future risk of harm, and to provide services to alleviate these safety factors.  If a criminal act has been committed, a referral is made to law enforcement for a criminal investigation.

Child Protective Services Remediation

When a child has been determined to have been abused or neglected by a parent or caretaker, in-home services are offered to the family to remediate the causes of the abuse and neglect so that family functioning is improved and the child can remain safely in his/ her home.

Foster Care

The primary purpose of Foster Care service is to provide a safe temporary placement for children who cannot remain safely in the home of their parent(s). These children are in the custody of the Department of Social Services by court order. The goal of foster care is to implement a plan for permanency for each child.  If the child cannot be returned home to the parents, another permanent planned living arrangement is made.

Permanency plans by federal law are:

  • Reunification with parents
  • Relative placement in foster care
  • Guardianship/custody (with a relative or non-relative)
  • Adoption (by a relative or non-relative)
  • Another planned permanent living arrangement in foster care (APPLA)

Child placement needs are evaluated, arranged, maintained and supervised in licensed or Court-sanctioned placement, with services to assist in reunification or another permanent plan for the child. The agency provides services in conjunction with the community that are community-based, child centered, and family focused.


These services assist children who cannot safely return to their birth families become part of a legally secure permanent home.

Adoption Services for children in DSS custody include:

  • Recruitment, Training and Assessment of Families
  • Child Specific Adoption Recruitment and Preparation
  • Adoption Placement and Support
  • Adoption Assistance payments
  • Post Adoption Services

Our agency also provides home assessments for relative and independent adoptions as requested and available.    There are fees for these services.  Please contact our adoption staff for more information if interested.

What is the Safe Haven for Abandoned Infants Act (Daniel's Law)?

This state law provides pregnant women with an alternative to abandoning a newborn baby in potentially fatal circumstances such as in the dumpster. Under the Safe Haven Act, an infant can be left with a hospital or hospital outpatient facility, law enforcement agency, fire station, emergency medical services station, or any staffed house of worship during the hours the facility is staffed. The infant must be less than 7 days old, unharmed, and left by the parent or other person acting for the parent. The law provides the parent immunity from prosecution if the conditions are met. A baby left under these conditions will be placed in DSS foster care and adoptions proceedings will be initiated immediately. Contact our local DSS office if you need additional information.

How to Become a Foster or Adoptive Parent

Foster parents are special people who provide a nurturing, stable environment for children who must temporarily reside outside of their homes due to abuse, neglect or dependency. Foster parents may be married or single, ages 21 and over, may or may not have children of their own, and must have sufficient income for the needs of their own family. Our foster families are diverse in race, ethnicity, income and age.

We encourage interested persons to contact Olivia Shuler at 828-884-3174 ext.1652 or by email at [email protected] for information on how to become a member of our local foster family team.

Financial Services

Public Financial Assistance Services are provided to individuals and families to assist with basic needs of daily living.  Each program has different eligibility criteria and most are mandated and/or funded with state and federal funds, although some private organizations also provide limited funding to assist community members through our Department.  Some of our programs are available on a yearly basis, while others are provided as one time assistance to alleviate a crisis situation.  Services that we provide include:

Adult Medicaid

**VIDEO** English - North Carolina Medicaid Managed Care

**VIDEO** Spanish - North Carolina Medicaid Managed Care

The Medicaid program assists individuals with the cost of medical care and other related costs.  Adult Medicaid programs provide medical insurance, financial assistance for residential care and in some cases assistance to avoid residential care. Adult recipients of Medicaid may include nursing home residents, assisted living residents, adults with disabilities, elderly individuals, and individuals in specialized programs such as Community Alternative Programs and Special Assistance In-Home.  Eligibility for Medicaid is based on income and resource guidelines.

Family and Children’s Medicaid

Medicaid programs for families and children assist with the cost of medical care and other related expenses.  Recipients of Family and Children’s Medicaid programs may include pregnant women, infants and minor children, foster and adopted children as well as Work First families. Eligibility for Medicaid is based on income guidelines.

Medicaid Transportation

This service is available to Medicaid recipients to provide gas vouchers or transportation to Medicaid reimbursable appointments. This service is only used as a last resort.  

Work First

The Work First Program is a statewide program aimed at helping eligible families find and maintain full time employment. The receipt of limited funds is available to families while they seek and obtain employment as well as other supportive services such as child care assistance, transportation to employment and job readiness training.  All recipients of Work First cash assistance are also participants in Work First Employment activities. Some applicants may be eligible to receive a one-time cash payment instead of receiving ongoing cash assistance.  This is called Work First Benefit Diversion.

Food and Nutrition Services (formerly known as food stamps)

Food and nutrition services assist eligible households with the purchase of food.  A household may consist of an individual person or multiple families living together in one dwelling. Eligibility for food and nutrition assistance is based on income and reserve guidelines.

TANF Child Only Funds

Occasionally a child cannot remain in his/ her own home for reasons such as safety, loss of a parent or other factors.  When a specified relative is caring for a child, limited funding may be available to help care for the child.

Child Care Subsidy

The Child Care Subsidy program distributes state and federal funds in the form of child care vouchers for eligible families.  Eligibility is determined according to the family’s situation, household income and composition.  Families may receive vouchers to allow them to work, attend school or job training, to support child protective services, to assist in a crisis, or to meet the needs of a developmentally delayed child.

Low Income Energy Assistance Program (LIEAP)

LIEAP is a heating assistance program that provides once-a-year heating assistance to qualifying low income citizens. The program is initially targeted toward senior citizens and disabled adults. If funds still exist after these populations have received assistance, then remaining funds are distributed to any citizen who meets income guidelines. No cash is distributed to the citizen; rather, services are purchased for the citizen from their heating provider. This could be the electric company, the gas company, fuel oil provider or even a firewood vendor. Applications usually begin around Thanksgiving and end in February of each year.

Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) is available online and can be viewed at  EFS-FNSEP-21-2020

Crisis Intervention Program (CIP)

CIP provides heating/cooling assistance to elderly, disabled and families with children who are experiencing a life threatening heating/ cooling crisis.  The family has to meet eligibility requirements and their net income has to be at or below 150% of the poverty level.  There is a maximum benefit of $600 per household per state fiscal year.  CIP can be used for oil, gas, deposits, or past due electric bills.  These services are provided based on available funds.

Helping Each Member Cope (HEMC)

HEMC has the same eligibility criteria as CIP, except the family has to be a customer of Haywood Electric. Maximum benefit is $600 per year.  These services are provided based on available funds.

Community Emergency Assistance (C-EA)

C-EA provides short-term assistance during an immediate crisis to households in which a related child in the home is under the age of 18 (or 19 if he/she is a full time high school student).   The program is both limited in allowable reserve and countable gross income at or below 150% of the poverty level.  There is a maximum benefit of $300 per household. C-EA can be used to pay utilities, rent, temporary shelter, transportation, and other things deemed an emergency by program guidelines.  These services are provided based on available funds.

200% of Poverty Funds

This program provides short-term assistance to families meeting all related requirements.  There must be an immediate crisis and a related child under the age of 18 (19 if he/she is a full time high school student).  The needed assistance must be job related.  The program is both limited in allowable reserve and countable income at 200% of the poverty level.  Active Work First Clients are not eligible.  200% of Poverty can be used to pay utilities, rent, temporary shelter, transportation, and other things that may be deemed an emergency by DSS.  These services are provided based on available funds.

State Adult Day Care Fund

Certify individuals for financial assistance to enable them to attend the Adult Day programs and monitor the expenditures of the State Adult Day Care Funds.

To report adult or child maltreatment

Please call (828)-884-3174, then press option 1 and ask for Adult or Child Protective Services intake.

Your confidentiality will be maintained in these situations. Emergency reports of Adult Protective Services or Child Protective Services after regular office hours can be reported by calling 911.

The DSS Board

As outlined in G.S 108A-1, the Department of Social Services is advised by a DSS Board. The primary functions of the board are to hire and support the social service director, advise local authorities on social conditions and needs in the community and to help ensure effectiveness, efficiency, fairness and excellence in the public social services system. The number of board members is five:  two appointed by County Commissioners, two appointed by the N. C. Social Services Commission and one appointed by the other DSS Board members. The term of office is three years, and members can only serve two consecutive full 3-year terms. All members must be a bona fide resident of the county.

The Transylvania County DSS Board routinely meets on the fourth Wednesday of each month at 3:30 p.m. in the 1st floor conference room of the DSS located at 106 East Morgan Street. The public is invited to attend.

The Transylvania County Social Services Board consists of:

  • Mrs. Jaime Gilmore - Board Chair
  • Mrs. Jessica Shanor - Vice Chair
  • Mrs. Page Lemel
  • Mrs. Ann Stone
  • Mr. Paul Welch

Annual Reports

Key Staff Contacts:

Helpful Links

Links to Other Services