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DSS officials lay out improvement efforts

COLUMBIA (AP) — Department of Social Services officials say the agency taking steps to improve by working more closely with law enforcement, creating a second shift of child welfare workers and sharing caseloads between adjacent counties.

The agency’s acting and deputy directors updated reporters Tuesday on the embattled agency, three months after former Director Lillian Koller resigned amid escalating, bipartisan calls for her ousting.

A legislative audit of the agency is expected in the coming weeks.

The Cabinet agency has become a central issue in Gov. Nikki Haley’s re-election bid. Also Tuesday, the National Association of Social Workers’ state chapter endorsed Haley’s Democratic opponent, state Sen. Vincent Sheheen.

The agency will ask legislators to fund 202 additional employees in 2015-16 to meet caseload goals. That request includes 81 supervisors.

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