INDIAN TRAIL, N.C.–Indian Trail Mayor Michael Alvarez joined parents and others calling for Union County Commissioners to investigate Wanda Sue Larson after an 11-year-old boy in the DSS Supervisor’s care was found shackled to a porch with a dead chicken around his neck in November. “Time is of the essence when it comes to our children’s lives. We can’t wait any longer. The system has failed and it needs to be fixed now,” said Alvarez on November 24.
Alvarez and his wife were in the early stages of trying to become foster parents until this letter arrived in December from DSS. It says Alvarez was denied a foster care license “due to the public comments made” because it “would be difficult for us to work in partnership.”
“That letter, and I’ll stand by it… for lack of a better way of saying it… is politically motivated for hurt feelings,” said Alvarez.
DSS wasn’t available for an on-camera interview. In emailed responses to our questions about the letter, DSS says, “This partnership must be a positive one… foster home licensure is a privilege not a right.”
Alvarez is now working with state lawmakers to take a closer look at improving existing social services legislation that he says allowed politics to play a role in the letter he received. “I hurt their feelings or I asked questions, and they feared that they had to answer questions of somebody other than themselves,” Alvarez said.
Alvarez is hoping for action in Raleigh in about a year, and he has already assembled a group of three lawmakers. It took just 11 months for him to gather statewide support for Kilah’s law. It mandates longer sentences for child abusers. North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory approved it last April.