Besides crime probe of rape, DSS to investigate home's safety


By Reggie Ponder
Staff Writer

Sunday, February 10, 2019

In addition to the criminal investigation of a recent rape report at a family care home in Pasquotank County, local social services authorities are tasked with determining if the facility is taking appropriate precautions to keep residents safe.

Although very few specific safety requirements exist beyond fire safety regulations and building code requirements, there is an overall expectation that family care homes and other adult care facilities will provide for the safety of their residents.

Under state law, “every adult care home shall provide to each resident the care, safety, and services necessary to enable the resident to attain and maintain the highest practicable level of physical, emotional, and social well-being.”

The question about facility safety has surfaced in the wake of a report that someone broke into Lily’s Blessings family care home on Weeksville Road between 12:30 and 1 a.m. on Jan 17 and raped a woman. Window screens were broken in the break-in, according to the report compiled by the Pasquotank Sheriff’s Office.

Based on information provided by the Sheriff’s Office and Pasquotank County Department of Social Services it appears Lily’s Blessings complied with state reporting requirements about the incident. Under state law, a family care home is required to report to the county DSS an “incident resulting in injury to a resident requiring referral for emergency evaluation, hospitalization, or medical treatment other than first aid.”

The report is required to include the resident's name; name of the staff member or members who discovered the accident or incident; the name of the person preparing the report; how, when and where the accident or incident occurred; the nature of the injury; what was done for the resident, including any follow-up care; the time of notification or attempts at notification of the resident's responsible person or contact person; and the signature of the administrator or administrator-in-charge.

The report must be submitted to the county DSS “within 48 hours of the initial discovery or knowledge by staff of the accident or incident.”

State law also requires the facility to notify the county DSS and local law enforcement “of any mental or physical abuse, neglect or exploitation of a resident.”

The Daily Advance requested a copy of Pasquotank County DSS’ report on the Jan. 17 incident at Lily’s Blessings. State law, however, prevents DSS from releasing the report, according to Frank P. Hiner IV, the attorney for the agency.

Hiner confirmed that Pasquotank DSS has “an ongoing investigation that is related to the alleged incident.”

Attempts to reach the director of Lily’s Blessings for comment have been unsuccessful.