What Can My Family Expect During The Traditional Investigation Process?

1.    The first step in an investigation is to see the children and interview them alone.  The law gives us the right to see and speak with children at school or daycare without a parent's permission or prior knowledge. (NC General Statute 7B-302)
2.    The next step is to address the concerns reported with one or both  parents or caregivers, most often on the same day, at which a Safety Assessment will be completed with the parent(s).
3.    It is also required that we make at least one visit to your home and that we speak with everyone who lives in the home.
4.    We also talk with other people who might have information that might be helpful to us in understanding your family's situation. We would like you to provide us with the names of people you know who can tell us about your parenting. We also might need to talk with other people, who know you, such as: teachers, doctors, neighbors, babysitters, and other professionals, etc.  We will do everything possible to protect and respect your rights to privacy.
5.    We try to complete investigations within 30 days; however; sometimes cases do take longer. Once we have all the information we need, we make a decision about the outcome of your case.
6.    Case decisions are never made by one person; decisions are made jointly with at least the social worker and a supervisor who considers all information gathered during our investigation. Possible case decisions:
a.    No abuse and/or neglect found - unsubstantiate and close case.
b.    Abuse and/or neglect found - substantiate and case will be assigned to a social worker who will provide in-home services to the family.



Safety is Priority

If at any time it is determined that your child's safety cannot be ensured in your home, or if your family chooses not to participate in the Family Assessment process, or if new allegations of abuse, neglect, or dependency arise during the process, DSS has the legal obligation to take one or more of the following actions:

  • Evaluate continuing the Family Assessment Process
  • A Traditional Investigation response
  • The court may become involved with your family
  • You may be asked to choose a safe place for your child other than your home
  • It may be necessary for DSS to take custody of your child/children

It is important that you communicate with your social worker if you have any concerns about the process or if you need additional help creating a safe environment in your home.

"In accordance with Federal law and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and U.S.  Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) policy, this institution is prohibited from discriminating on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, age, or disability.  Under the Food Stamp Act and USDA policy, discrimination is prohibited also on the basis of religion and political beliefs.

To file a complaint of discrimination, contact USDA or HHS.  Write USDA, Director, Office of Civil Rights, 1400 Independence Avenue, S.W., Washington, D. C. 20250-9410 or call (800) 795-3272 (voice) or (202) 720-6382 (TTY).  Write HHS, Director, Office for Civil Rights, Room 506-F, 200 Independence Avenue, S.W., Washington, D. C. 20201 or call (202) 619-0403 (voice) or (202) 619-3257 (TTY).  USDA and HHS are equal opportunity providers and employers."

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