When a case is opened with Child Protective Services or in juvenile court, CPS will review the report of the suspected child abuse and neglect to determine if further legal action is warranted. If CPS determines that court action is necessary to protect the child, the child’s parent, guardian, custodian, or caretaker will be served with a summons and petition detailing if there are allegations of abuse, neglect, and/or dependency. Laws on abuse, neglect, and dependency protect those under the age of 18 years old who are not married, emancipated, or in the military.
In North Carolina, a child is considered abused if their parent, guardian, custodian, or caretaker does any of the following:
• Causes serious physical injury to the child that does not happen by accident, or allows another to do so.
• Creates a substantial risk of serious physical injury to the child, other than by accident, or allows another to do so.
• Uses cruel or grossly inappropriate discipline on the child, or allows another to do so.
• Commits certain sex crimes against the child, or permits or encourages the child to commit sex crimes or participate in sex crimes.
• Causes serious emotional damage to the child, or allows another to do so.
• Commits a crime of human trafficking, involuntary servitude, or sexual servitude against the child, or allows another to do so.
• Encourages or approves of delinquent behavior that involves immoral acts by the child.
A child is considered neglected by their parent, guardian, custodian, or caretaker if the child:
• has been abandoned;
• does not receive proper care, supervision, or discipline;
• lives in an environment that is injurious to their overall welfare;
• does not receive necessary medical treatment;
• or if the child is unlawfully placed for adoption.
A child may also be considered neglected if they are left at home alone. A determination of neglect will depend on the totality of the circumstances such as the age of the child, the amount of time the child is left alone, and any safety risks in the home.
If a child needs assistance or placement because they do not have a parent, guardian, or custodian looking over their care and supervision, that child is considered a dependent child. A child is also considered a dependent child if their parent, guardian, or custodian is unable to provide care or supervision, and does not have an alternative childcare arrangement. CPS will provide in-home, foster care, and adoption services as needed.
The attorneys at King Law have years of experience with custody matters and dealing with the Department of Social Services as we approach these issues with a dual purpose: react to the report and its allegations, but also proactively move forward for the best interest of the minor child(ren) and our client. 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 to schedule a consultation and we will be happy to help you out.