Child Abuse/Neglect (DSS)
You or someone you know may be facing allegations that your child is abused, neglected, or dependent in Avery, Burke, Caldwell, Catawba, Mitchell, Watauga and Yancey counties. The Department of Social Services is required to investigate reports of children in danger, whether the report is fact or frivolous.
If you or someone you know are facing an investigation by law enforcement or child protective services, you need legal counsel immediately to help protect your rights and preserve your family.
The Department of Social Services may file a petition for the Court to determine if a juvenile is abused, neglected, or dependent. Under North Carolina Law, these terms are defined as:
Abused Juvenile, G.S. 7B-101(1):
Any juvenile less than 18 years of age whose parent, guardian, custodian, or caretaker:
a. Inflicts or allows to be inflicted upon the juvenile a serious physical injury by other than accidental means;
b. Creates or allows to be created a substantial risk of serious physical injury to the juvenile by other than accidental means;
c. Uses or allows to be used upon the juvenile cruel or grossly inappropriate procedures or cruel or grossly inappropriate devices to modify behavior;
d. Commits, permits, or encourages the commission of a violation of the following laws by, with, or upon the juvenile: first-degree rape, as provided in G.S. 14-27.2; rape of a child by an adult offender, as provided in G.S. 14-27.2A; second degree rape as provided in G.S. 14-27.3; first-degree sexual offense, as provided in G.S. 14-27.4; sexual offense with a child by an adult offender, as provided in G.S. 14-27.4A; second degree sexual offense, as provided in G.S. 14-27.5; sexual act by a custodian, as provided in G.S. 14-27.7; unlawful sale, surrender, or purchase of a minor, as provided in G.S. 14-43.14; crime against nature, as provided in G.S. 14-177; incest, as provided in G.S. 14-178; preparation of obscene photographs, slides, or motion pictures of the juvenile, as provided in G.S. 14-190.5; employing or permitting the juvenile to assist in a violation of the obscenity laws as provided in G.S. 14-190.6; dissemination of obscene material to the juvenile as provided in G.S. 14-190.7 and G.S. 14-190.8; displaying or disseminating material harmful to the juvenile as provided in G.S. 14-190.14 and G.S. 14-190.15; first and second degree sexual exploitation of the juvenile as provided in G.S. 14-190.16 and G.S. 14-190.17; promoting the prostitution of the juvenile as provided in G.S. 14-205.3(b); and taking indecent liberties with the juvenile, as provided in G.S. 14-202.1;
e. Creates or allows to be created serious emotional damage to the juvenile; serious emotional damage is evidenced by a juvenile’s severe anxiety, depression, withdrawal, or aggressive behavior toward himself or others;
f. Encourages, directs, or approves of delinquent acts involving moral turpitude committed by the juvenile; or
g. Commits or allows to be committed an offense under G.S. 14-43.11 (human trafficking), G.S. 14-43.12 (involuntary servitude), or G.S. 14-43.13 (sexual servitude) against the child.
Neglected Juvenile 7B-101 (15):
A juvenile who does not receive proper care, supervision, or discipline from the juvenile’s parent, guardian, custodian, or caretaker; or who has been abandoned; or who is not provided necessary medical care; or who is not provided necessary remedial care; or who lives in an environment injurious to the juvenile’s welfare; or who has been placed for care or adoption in violation of law. In determining whether a juvenile is a neglected juvenile, it is relevant whether that juvenile lives in a home where another juvenile has died as a result of suspected abuse or neglect or lives in a home where another juvenile has been subjected to abuse or neglect by an adult who regularly lives in the home.
Dependent Juvenile 7B-101 (15):
A juvenile in need of assistance or placement because (i) the juvenile has no parent, guardian, or custodian responsible for the juvenile’s care or supervision or (ii) the juvenile’s parent, guardian, or custodian is unable to provide for the juvenile’s care or supervision and lacks an appropriate alternative child care arrangement.