Congratulations to Kari Sanders, Onslow County's new Assistant County Manager, and Susan Thigpen, Onslow County's new Department of Social Services Director. Family, friends, and colleagues joined them for a swearing in ceremony on Thursday, June 1, 2023 at the Onslow County Government Center and celebrated their new positions.
Kari Sanders started her career at the Onslow County Department of Social Services as a Foster Care Social Worker in 1994. She worked in multiple program areas and was promoted to Child Welfare Supervisor in 2000. In 2005, she accepted a Program Manager position with the New Hanover County Department of Social Services. She managed an array of programs to include Child Protective Services, In-Home Services, Permanency Planning, and Foster Care Licensing during her employment with New Hanover County.
In 2015, she began working for the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services as a Program Consultant. In this role she worked closely with several N.C. Department of Social Services to analyze data and programs and develop plans to improve outcomes for children and families involved with Child Welfare. She returned to the Onslow County Department of Social Services in May of 2019 as the Director. She has served as the Director for the past four years.
Susan Thigpen started her career in Social Services more than 28 years ago, working in child welfare at Duplin County Social Services. Susan spent seven years as a child welfare worker and supervised Foster Care and Adoptions for 3 ½ years before she began working with the North Carolina Division of Social Services. During her time with the state, she worked in a variety of roles to include Title IV-E Coordinator, Child Welfare Consultant, and Trainer. These duties provided her with an opportunity to partner with the Department of Aging, Division of Medical Assistance, the Department of Public Instruction and the federal government.
Susan returned to Duplin County Social Services as Director in 2018, and after serving in that role for three years she came to Onslow County as Deputy Director in November of 2021. In additional to her direct oversight of child welfare and adult services, Susan has assisted in leading DSS through several initiatives and improvement projects. Although child welfare was her first passion, she has come to recognize the interconnectedness of child welfare with the many other programs provided by Social Services and values the critical role each program serves in meeting the needs of the children, adults, and families of Onslow County.