Social Services Advisory Board

The Social Services Advisory Board ensures that throughout the Commonwealth, eligible persons receive financial assistance, other benefits and social services.
​​While the establishment of local agencies had been optional before, the Virginia Public Assistance Act of 1938 required every political jurisdiction to have local departments of social services, offering relatively uniform services.  The beginning of our present system of a state supervised, locally administered welfare program was set in motion.  The 1960s saw the declaration of a “War on Poverty” by Presidents Kennedy and Johnson which increased the complexity of requirements and regulations and required the development of monitoring and reporting procedures.

To keep up with these increasingly complex issues, the currently named Virginia Department of Social Services (VDSS) was designated as the single state agency for administering federal welfare law as described in the Code of Virginia, §63.2-200 and is held accountable for service programs. Virginia is one of a few states that allow localities to administer federally assisted programs under the state’s supervision.  There are 120 local departments, five regional offices and the VDSS Home Office in Richmond established for the administration of social services in the state of Virginia.

The involvement of local citizens on these boards developed gradually.  At first, citizens were directly involved with service delivery to clients.  As the programs became increasingly complex and the numbers served dramatically expanded, the board’s emphasis shifted to policy and administrative issues.

Powers and Duties

The governing body of the City of Virginia Beach designated the VBDHS director as the local board and appointed an advisory board to assist the director.  In compliance with the Code of Virginia, §63.2-305, the powers and duties of the advisory board shall be to:

  • ​To interest itself in all matters pertaining to the social welfare of the people of the City served by it;
  • To monitor the formulation and implementation of social welfare programs in the City;
  • To meet with the officer in charge of the department or division of public welfare at least four times a year for the purpose of making recommendations on policy matters concerning the department or division;
  • Upon request of the local governing body, the advisory board will prepare an annual report concerning the administration of the public welfare program;
  • To submit to the governing body, from time to time, other reports that the advisory body deems appropriate.


Contact Numbers

Dannette R. Smith, Director Human Services (757) 385-3608

Gailyn Thoms, Deputy Director Social Services (757) 385-3262​​

Contact Information

 Board Meeting Dates

Meetings are held in Human Services Building, Room 339 from 8:30 ​– 10:00 a.m. and are open to the public.​​

Friday, December 2, 2016
Friday, January 3, 2017
Friday, February 3, 2017