Child Protective Services

Child Protective Services (CPS) is a legally mandated component of Child Welfare Services in North Carolina. CPS is comprised of Intake, Assessments (Family/Investigative) and CPS In-Home Services. Protective Services for Children are provided to children and their parents / caretakers in response to reports of actual or suspected child neglect, abuse, or dependency. This includes investigating reports of neglect, abuse dependency; evaluating the degree of damage of risk to the child's family toward the solution and prevention of problems causing neglect, abuse, dependency, and arranging for the provisions of services such as foster care, day care, health, and mental health services and in home aid services.

How to Report

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 or neglect by calling Carteret County DSS at (252) 728-3181 Monday through Friday, from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm. After hours, on weekends and holidays, call (252) 726-1911 and request an on-call social worker. A social worker will listen to your concerns and document all information given.

The following information is needed when making 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 or maltreatment
  • Information known about the family that could affect the safety of the child, and perhaps the safety of a social worker.

When a Report is Received

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 opened. 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.