Monday, 15 January 2018 00:33

Richmond County Native, Ashley Lantz, Named Union County DSS Director

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Ashley Lantz, of Hoffman, is the new Union County DSS Director. Ashley Lantz, of Hoffman, is the new Union County DSS Director. Contributed photo.

MONROE, N.C. – New days are on the horizon for Union County’s Department of Social Services as it announces its new director set to start next month. And it begins with a Richmond County native.

Ashley Lantz, 37, is a native of Hoffman, and former executive director for Turning Point, a domestic violence service providing help for people dealing with domestic issues. She will be replacing former director, Rae Alepa, who resigned in September after serving as director since 2013.

In the last few years, Union County Department of Social Services, located in Monroe, N.C., faced scrutiny from the public, and even faced non-compliance grievances from the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services stating the agency didn't follow state policy in three different areas.

Lantz hopes to take that criticism and refocus it into fuel to facilitate positive changes for the future.

“I’m looking forward to learning everyone’s strengths and building a great team based off of those strengths because you are able to accomplish much more as a team than otherwise,” Lantz stated.

“I’m hoping that we’re able to take Union County DSS and make it a beacon for other DSS agencies throughout North Carolina, modeling and implementing best practices for others to follow,” she continued.

Lantz became executive director for Turning Point in 2014, and under her direction, it acquired two other programs from another non-profit organization. They included the Treehouse Children’s Advocacy Center, focused and dedicated to reducing trauma and promoting healing for child victims of physical abuse, sexual abuse, and neglect and the Sexual Assault Resource Center, which provides information, legal aid and advocacy for victims of sexual assault.

Allowing Turning Point to focus on multiple victims of abuse versus just domestic abuse victims, Lantz considers that acquisition one of her greatest accomplishments and hopes to carry that experience to her new position.

“Having to build a unified team with the same goal in mind of groups of people who never worked together is something I learned from the acquisition,” Lantz noted. “And think it will best serve me at DSS, considering I will be facing a similar task.”

Lantz contributes her love and passion of service to her upbringing in Richmond County.

“Growing up, I was very involved in church (Marston Baptist Church) and participated in mission trips to Honduras. It taught me a lot about giving and advocacy for others,” she said.

She continued stating her appreciation for her experiences in Richmond County as they made her into the person she is today.

“Believe it or not, Richmond County is really quite diverse, and it taught me how to get along with people from all walks of life. And I appreciate knowing the definition of community and all the support from that community,” Lantz said.

Lantz attended Richmond Senior High and went on to attend Wingate University on scholarship with the support of Dr. Jerry McGee, another native of Richmond County and former president of Wingate University. Now a resident of Union County, Lantz went on to obtain her masters degree in Public Administration from UNC Charlotte.

Always dedicated to serving her surrounding community, Lantz hopes to spend a lot of time getting to know the current staff. She also hopes to dig deep into understanding DSS practices and garnering respect and trust from the residents of Union County for her and the Department of Social Services.

 

 

 

Last modified on Monday, 15 January 2018 13:22