Child Protective Services protects children and enhances their well-being by supporting and strengthening families.
What is Child Protective Services?
Wake County Child Welfare is required to:
- Receive and screen reports from any adult suspected of child abuse, neglect or abandonment;
- Conduct assessments of reports to determine if children have been maltreated and in need of protection;
- Provide support to help families and keep children who have been maltreated safely at home whenever possible;
- Remove children from the home, and place in a safe foster or relative’s home, when no other means are adequate to protect them;
- Quickly reunite children with their families whenever possible; and
- If it is not possible to safely reunify children with their families, look for other permanent homes for the children, such as adoption or guardianship.
Child Abuse & Neglect - What are the Warning signs?
Report Child Abuse and Neglect
If you suspect abuse or neglect of a child, you are required to report it to your county office of social services. North Carolina's law applies to every person and every institution in the state.
To Report Child Abuse or Neglect
After regular business hours, weekends and on holidays, call 911 and say you wish to make a CPS report. The 911 operator will contact an after-hours social worker who will return your call.
A written notice of whether the report meets criteria under state law is mailed to the person making the report within five days. A reporter who disagrees with the decision can request a review of the decision by a supervisor and/or can make another report if additional information becomes available. If you are still not satisfied with the outcome after contacting the CPS Supervisor, you may contact the Director using:
If you are not satisfied with the decision of the Director, contact the Child Welfare Policy Consultation Team within the North Carolina Division of Social Services, and Administrative Support staff will direct your call to the next available consultant.
Assessing for Safety
After a report has been made, a staff person will consult with a supervisor to determine if the report meets criteria for an in-person assessment of the children and their home under North Carolina law. Assessments typically start within 72 hours of the report or quicker if children are in danger of immediate harm. After an assessment is completed, the person making the report will receive a written notice of the finding and whether ongoing services are being provided.
More information about Assessing for Safety
In Home Services
In-home services are provided after an assessment has concluded that children were abused or neglected and are at risk of additional harm without ongoing protective services. In-home service staff support families to keep their children safely in their homes.
More information about In-Home Services
What Happens When My Family is Reported
If your family was reported to Child Protective Services, then you may receive a phone call from a social worker to set an in-person interview with you, your household members and your children. Depending on how severe the abuse is, a visit from a social worker may be warranted. At an in-person visit, you will be asked for the names and contact information of other persons who may have information about your children. The social worker may need to review medical or other records. They may request medical assessments be completed.
Your assigned social worker will work with you to complete the assessment and make sure you have a written response of the decision. If services are needed to assure child safety, the social worker will involve you and the people you identify to support you in decision making and work to help the child stay safely at home whenever possible.
More information about What Happens When My Family is Reported
Life with a new baby is a special time for parents, siblings and other family members. While caring for a newborn is rewarding, it can also be hectic and exhausting.
Wake County offers a number of programs to help support newborns and their caregivers.
- More information about Maternal & Child Health
If an infant is unsafe, has been harmed or whose prenatal exposure to substances negatively impacts their health, Wake County Child Welfare is responsible for assessing the safety of the infant and referring the family for supportive services.
- More information about Infant Safety.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Do you have questions about child protective services or child safety?