Child Protective Services is a unit within the Department of Social Services that investigates child abuse, neglect, and dependency of children from birth to 18 years of age. The purpose of the investigation is to determine the extent of any abuse or neglect, the risk of harm to the child, whether the child and family need assistance or intervention services by the Department of Social Services to insure child safety in the home, what services would be most helpful, and whether a petition should be filed to take the matter to juvenile court.


General Statue 7B-101(1) defines an abused child as:
Any juvenile less than 18 years of age whose parent, guardian, custodian or caretaker inflicts, or allows to be inflicted, serious physical injury by other than accidental means; creates or allows to be created substantial risk of serious injury; uses, or allows to be used, cruel or grossly inappropriate procedures or devices tomodify behavior; commits, permits, or encourages sexual abuse of the juvenile; and creates or allows to be created serious emotional damage to the juvenile.

Physical Abuse:
Physical abuse, for purposes of the reporting law, occurs if the child's parent, guardian , custodian, or caretaker inflicts or allows someone else to inflict upon the child a serious, non-accidental physical injury. A child also is abused if any of those persons create, or allow to be created, a substantial risk of serious, non-accidental physical injury.

A child is abused considered to be abused if the parent, guardian, custodian or caretaker uses or allows someone else to use cruel or grossly inappropriate procedures, devices or instruments to modify or change the child's behavior.

Emotional Abuse:
Emotional abuse, for purposes of the reporting law, is creatingor allows others to create serious emotional damage to thechild by the parent, guardian, custodian, or caretaker.Evidence of serious emotional damage includes a child's severe anxiety, depression, withdrawal, or aggressive behavior toward himself, herself or others.

Sexual Abuse:
Sexual abuse, for purposes of the reporting law, occurs when a child's guardian, custodian, or caretaker commits, permits, or encourages the commission of any of the following criminal offenses by, with, or upon the juvenile:

  • First or second degree rape;
  • First or second degree sexual offense;
  • Sexual act by custodian;
  • Crime against nature;
  • Incest;
  • Preparation of obscene photographs, slides or motion pictures of the juvenile
  • Employing or permitting the juvenile to assist in a violation of the obscenity laws;
  • Dissemination of obscene material to juvenile;
  • Displaying or disseminating material to juvenile;
  • First and second degree sexual exploitation of the juvenile;
  • Promoting the prostitution of the juvenile;
  • Taking indecent liberties with the juvenile regardless of the age of theparties.

Contributing to Delinquency:
A child is considered to be abused, for purposes of the reporting law, if the parent, guardian, custodian, or caretaker encourages, directs, or approves of delinquent actsthat involve moral turpitude committed by the juvenile.In North Carolina a "delinquent act" is conduct by a juvenile under age sixteen (who is neither emancipated nor in the armed services) that would be a crime if committed by an adult.


General Statute 7B-101(15) defines a neglected child as:
Any juvenile who does not receive proper care, supervision, or discipline from the juvenile's parent, guardian or caretaker; or who is abandoned, or not provided necessary medical care, or who lives in an environment injurious to the juvenile's welfare, or who has been placedfor care or adoption in violation of the law.

Proper Care/Supervision:
Any child whose parent, guardian, custodian, or caretaker fails to meet the child's basic needs or any serious disregard for a juvenile's supervision, care or discipline. It is not necessary for a child to suffer physical harm or be threatened with physical harm in order to be neglected.

Medical Neglect:
A child is considered to be neglected if the child is deprived of the opportunity for normal growth and development by not having "necessary medical care" and "necessary remedial care."

Illegal Placement:
Placing a child illegally for care or adoption.

Inappropriate Discipline:
Discipline by a parent, guardian, custodian, or caretaker that causes relatively mild, if any, physical symptoms that are not severe enough to constitute abuse, including marks, bruises, welts, etc.

Whatis Dependency?

General Statute 7B-101 (9) defines a dependent child as: Any juvenile needing assistance or placement because the child has no parent, guardian, or custodian responsible for his or her care or supervision, or the child's parent, guardian, or custodian is not able to provide for the child's care or supervision due to physical or mental incapacity and the absence of an appropriate alternative child-care arrangement.

How to make a Report

A report may be made in person, by telephone, or in writing to the Department of Social Services in your county. The Rowan County address is 1813 East Innes Street, Salisbury, NC 28146. The county phone number for making reports is (704) 216-8499.Reports may also be made to the state Child Protective Services Division by calling 1-800-354-KIDS.

Do I have to give my name when I make a report?

No.Reports may be made anonymously.However, you will not receive a letter advising whether the report was accepted for investigation nor notification of the case decision.
For concerns, inquiries or to make a report, please use our Feedback Form.

Who must Report Child Abuse and Neglect?

The law requires everyone to report suspected child abuse or neglect: “Any person or institution who has cause to suspect that any juvenile is abused or neglected or dependent, as defined by GG.S. 7B-101, or has died as the result of maltreatment shall report the case of that juvenile to the director of the Department of Social Services, or his/her designee, in the county where the juvenile resides or is found.”(G.S. 7B-310).

This reporting requirement applies to professionals such as physicians, psychologist, other health and mental health workers, day care workers, and school personnel.But it applies equally to friends, neighbors, relatives. and anyone else who suspects that a child is abused or neglected.