How you parent can be judged and sometimes misunderstood by others. This can lead to allegations of abuse or neglect, which in some situations can lead to an investigation by the Department of Social Services (“DSS”). DSS is an organization designed to provide resources to families in the community through the numerous services they offer.

A sector of DSS is the Child Protective Services (“CPS”) program. North Carolina law states that all counties are required to provide CPS services to protect the families and children. Child Protective Services is responsible for conducting investigations to assess and determine potential risk of harm to the child, implement safety plans for families, and act as a liaison for additional services that might benefit the child in need.

Once an investigation starts through DSS, a social worker from CPS will be assigned to look into these allegations to see if they fit the legal definition of abuse or neglect. This individual is responsible for conducting a thorough investigation of the home where the alleged abuse and/or neglect occurred. During this visit to the home, you can expect the investigator to do a walk-through of the entire home. The investigator is looking for whether the home is suitable for the child to live in. The investigator may also want to conduct an interview with you, the child, or anyone else that lives in the household with the child in question. It will take the investigator up to 45 days to determine whether the claims of abuse and/or neglect are substantiated.

During this time, social services or your child’s other parent could seek to have your child custody or visitation reduced, supervised, or revoked. DSS has the right to file a petition in Court to request that DSS or another relative of the child be granted custody of the child. If the child is placed in the custody of DSS then the child will be placed in a licensed foster care home.

You have a right to an attorney to protect the rights of yourself and your child. If you received notice that a report of abuse or neglect has been made against you, we recommend you consult with one of our experienced family law attorneys. Our firm can help you navigate this difficult time and advise your accordingly. 

 Contact Hatcher Law Group to consult with an experienced family law attorney to understand your rights and options moving forward.