REPORTING SUSPECTED CHILD ABUSE OR NEGLECT
If you suspect child abuse or neglect, report it!
Every adult in North Carolina has a legal obligation to report suspected child abuse or neglect. Child abuse rarely stops without intervention. By reporting suspected child abuse or neglect, you can help a family get the help they need. Abused children may carry the trauma of abuse throughout their lives unless treatment, assistance and support are provided. Our children are counting on you to act!
How to report child abuse or neglect:
In North Carolina, protective services are provided by the local department of social services for children from birth to age 18 who are suspected of being abused or neglected by a parent or caretaker. If you make a report, you are immune from criminal or legal liability if the report is made in good faith. You may make a report anonymously, but you are encouraged to provide your name and contact information in case additional information is needed later.
To report suspected abuse/neglect, you do not need to have proof, but you do need to have reasonable grounds for suspicion. You do not need permission from the child’s caregivers.
You may make a report of suspected child abuse/neglect 24 hours a day, seven days a week by calling 828-324-9111. A social worker will listen to your concerns and document all information given. You may also make a report by mail or in person. The Child Protection Unit is located at the main Social Services offices at 3030 11th Ave. Dr. SE behind Catawba Valley Medical Center. The mailing address is P.O. Box 669, Newton, NC 28658.
What information do you need to make a report?
- Name, address and age of the child(ren)
- Name and address of the child’s parent, guardian or caretaker
- The child’s condition, including the history, nature and extent of the injury of maltreatment
- Information known about the family that could affect the safety of the child, and perhaps the safety of a social worker.
What are the signs of abuse or neglect?
For a detailed list of the signs of child abuse or neglect, please CLICK HERE.
What contributes to abuse or neglect?
For a detailed list of factors that may contribute to abuse or neglect, please CLICK HERE.
What happens after a report is made?
The allegations in the report will be screened to see if they meet the legal definition of abuse, neglect, or dependency. The department has jurisdiction only when the alleged mistreatment falls within legal definitions and was committed or allowed by the parent or caretaker. If the allegations and alleged perpetrator meet these criteria, an investigation is begun. If a report is not accepted for investigation/assessment, the person reporting the abuse has a right to challenge this decision through an agency review process.
When does the investigation begin?
A social worker begins an investigation within 24 hours when abuse is alleged. Investigations involving allegations of neglect posing no immediate risk to the child will begin within 72 hours. The target date for completion of an investigation is 30-45 days after the report is received.
If the investigation shows that abuse/neglect has occurred, and if the family cannot correct the problem, they will continue to receive services from Child Protective Services. See Treatment