If you or anyone in your family has been placed on the responsible individual list by the Department of Social Services, it is very important to understand exactly what that means. It can be a very serious accusation and one that may result in the loss of your child.

A responsible individual is defined as “a parent, guardian, custodian, or caretaker who abuses or seriously neglects a juvenile.”  N.C. Gen. Stat § 7B-101 (18a). According to the North Carolina Division of Social Services, Child Welfare Services, Protective Services Manual, a person may only be placed on the RIL after one of three things have occurred. N.C. Gen. Stat § 7B-311. The person must be properly notified of their right to judicial review and then fail to file a petition for judicial review, the court determines that person is a responsible person after a hearing on the petition for judicial review, or the person was criminally convicted from the same incident involved in the investigation. Id.

Under N.C. Gen. Stat § 7B-320, a person who has been deemed to be a responsible individual must be given notice within 15 days of the determination. A specific person must be named by the department and given written notice to the determined individual. N.C. Gen. Stat § 7B-320 (a). The department must make diligent efforts to find the identified person and send notice by certified mail to the person’s last known address.  N.C. Gen. Stat § 7B-320 (b).

That person may file a petition for review and once the hearing is complete, the judge has 30 days to order a finding. N.C. Gen. Stat § 7B-323(d). If the court concludes by a preponderance of the evidence that either abuse or serious neglect has occurred or the identification of a responsible person, the court shall order the person be placed on the list. At the same time, if the court finds that abuse or serious neglect have not been proven by a preponderance of the evidence, that person shall not be placed on the list. Id.

If you have any questions about this list, need more information, or need help fighting an accusation of responsibility please feel free to contact King Law Offices for a free consultation and we will be happy to help you out.

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