If abuse or neglect, as defined by North Carolina law, is not found, the child protective services case is closed. Child Protective Services would not have further involvement unless another report was received by the Department and screened in for an assessment.
If abuse or neglect, as defined by North Carolina law, is found, the case is then typically transferred to another social worker to work with the family to resolve the issues that led to the abuse and/or neglect. The primary concern continues to be the child's safety and protection. Once a substantiation or finding of services needed is made, then the Department provides what we call CPS In-Home Services. These are legally mandated services and they are considered involuntary services. These are the most intensive services and contacts with the family that is provided by the Department. The goal is to maintain the children safely in the family home. The social worker works with the family to determine what activities need to be completed to reduce risk to the children and ensure safety. One strategy we use in working with families is setting up Child and Family Team Meetings. The goal of these meetings is to assist the family and their support system in making a safe plan for their children. The CPS In-Home social worker coordinates interventions and services that focus on child safety and protection and family preservation. The Department is responsible for making reasonable efforts to maintain the child safely in the home and our goal is always to keep families together, but when safety in the child's own home cannot be assured, the Department is mandated to take immediate action to protect the child. This sometimes leads to placing children outside of the home or in the Department's custody and into foster care. Bringing a child into foster care is used only as a last resort to protect children from serious harm. To place a child into foster care, the Department must file a petition with Juvenile Court alleging abuse, neglect, or dependency.