SVSS names new director

Shenandoah Valley Social Services announced Sherry Bowman McClanahan as the new director, effective January 16th.

She will succeed Anita Harris who retired in July after 36 years with SVSS.

Bowman McClanahan brings with her over 30 years of experience with the Virginia Department of Social Services.

She most recently served as Child Protective Services Supervisor with the Henrico County Department of Social Services.

She was chosen for her leadership experiences including collaboration with community partners to coordinate trauma-informed, community based services for children and family and her efforts to foster diversity, equity, and inclusion in the workplace and the community.

To view the full announcement, click here.

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Faster Families Highway celebrates successful first year

Governor Glenn Youngkin and the Virginia Department of Social Services announced a highly successful first year of Faster Families Highway.

The digital resource launched in April of 2022 has helped to streamline the process of becoming a foster parent and eliminate many of the historically paper-only processes which created long waiting periods.

Through the program, more than 1,000 potential foster parents have been connected to their local social services department to become registered and expedite the process to begin supporting children and families within their community.

By providing foster parents faster support and training, they are able to reduce the impact of separation related trauma and enable foster parents to begin their role of keeping children in their home communities and work toward the ultimate goal of reuniting children with their families.

For more information about the Faster Families Highway, visit

For more news from across the Shenandoah Valley, click here.

DSS warns of phishing scam

Virginia Department of Social Services has received reports about a scam that involves P-EBT and EBT cardholders receiving calls or texts telling them to activate their EBT account.

If a user calls the phishing number, it asks for their card number, pin and then to verify the pin before disconnecting. 

The number making the request starts in 1-866 and ends in 0486.

This number is not associated with Social Services and is a form of phishing.

State Client Customer Service Helpdesk employees will never call the cardholders to ask for a card number or pin.

If you receive a call or text do not answer or respond to the text and delete the message.

For more news from across the Shenandoah Valley, click here.

WATTS cooling center opens doors

watts donation

Winchester Area Temporary Thermal Shelter opened a cooling center at the Market Street United Methodist Church.

The shelter will be open from noon to 5 pm, Monday- Saturday as well as this Sunday based on the forecast.

Donations of refreshing drinks like water, vitamin water and Gatorade for the guest will be graciously accepted.

Should an area emergency occur during the heat like a power outage your local sheriff’s offices will post shelter locations on social media pages.

The Virginia Department of Social Services is accepting applications for cooling assistance through August 15 at your local Social Services office.

The Department of Health reminds residents to seek shelter and shade whenever you can.

If you are working outdoors, hydration is essential with at least 2 to 4 glasses of water recommended every hour.

For more news from across the Shenandoah Valley, click here.

Fuel assistance applications become available tomorrow 10/12

According to the City of Winchester social media sites applications for fuel assistance will be accepted starting tomorrow Oct. 12 and taken through Nov. 12.

Fuel assistance is designed to help low income households meet their home energy cost by paying current or past due heating bills.

The funds are available through the Virginia Department of Social Services’ Energy Assistance Program.

You can apply at or call (855) 635-4370.

Payments for approved applications will begin Jan. 1, 2022.

For more news from across the Shenandoah Valley, click here.