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Kent G. Flowers, Jr., Craven County Department of Social Services Director was named County Social Services Director of the Year by the North Carolina Association of County Directors of Social Services on Thursday, May 2, 2019. Flowers was awarded Director of the Year at the group’s annual awards banquet held in Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina. Nominees for Director of the Year must have served as a County Director of Social Services for five years prior and be in good standing. The recipient of the award is nominated and voted for by their peers. The award recognizes the winner’s contributions to their community and profession.
"Kent is a humble man and his care for Craven County speaks loudly through his actions. I am proud to have worked closely with him for nearly six years on the Department of Social Services Board and feel strongly that he is most deserving of the County Social Services Director of the Year award," stated Clayton Gaskins, Chairman of the Craven County Department of Social Services Board of Directors.
Flowers began his career at Craven County Department of Social Services in October of 1982 as the staff attorney where he held the task of litigating cases of adult and children’s services that included child abuse and neglect cases, and in cases where adults, who lacked the capacity to act on their own behalves, he represented the County in court actions ensuring these individuals received needed care and housing, and were not exploited. Mr. Flowers served as the agency attorney until 2000 when he was promoted to Deputy Director and served as Deputy Director until he was promoted to Director of Craven County Department of Social Services in March of 2006.
Mr. Flowers has overseen the growth of the Hope Family Resource Center (HFRC) and also the Senior Center operations when the county assigned the Senior Center to the Department of Social Services in 2003. During this time this center has operated innovative and evidence based practices. One program that has greatly filled a need for this population has been the “Sunshine program”. The Sunshine program is a respite program for caretakers of individuals with cognitive illness whom care for them on a full time basis where individuals can leave their loved ones who suffer from cognitive illness at the Senior Center for four hours twice per week where they participate in recreational and art activities.
Flowers directs a staff of 192 employees and has been known to go to the houses of staff who have had significant damage or have lost their homes due to natural disaster to assist with the cleanup or repair and during times of natural disasters has regularly staffed the Emergency Operations Center to ensure smooth operations of emergency shelters for citizens.
Mr. Flowers has also been very active in other community initiatives such as youth volleyball, and Royal Rangers ministry. He sat on the Board of Directors of Craven County Smart Start and served for many years as the Eastern Regional Program Representative.
“Mr. Flowers is a champion in the promotion of professional social work services in Craven County as well as advocating for causes related to his profession and the population it serves,” said Craven County Manager Jack Veit.
Flowers will retire with over 36 years of service with Craven County Government on June 1, 2019.
The North Carolina Association of County Directors of Social Services (NCACDSS) is a non-profit association representing the social service directors across North Carolina’s counties. The association’s mission is to inform, educate, and empower its members in order to strengthen agencies, programs and the delivery of social services to families and individuals.