State and Statute: North Carolina, Stats. §§ 7B-101 et seq.
What Is Reportable “Abuse”: Physical, sexual, or emotional abuse or neglect by a child’s guardian, custodian, or caretaker (a “caretaker” is any person having responsibility for the welfare of a child in a residential setting; a “custodian” is a person or agency that has been awarded legal custody of a child by a court). [7B-101(1)(3)(8)]
Mandatory Reporters: Any person or institution who has cause to suspect that any juvenile is abused. [7B-301(a)]
How and Where to Report: “Orally, by telephone, or in writing,” to the director of the department of social services in the county where the juvenile resides or is found. [7B-301(a)]
Timeline to Report: No reference.
Clergy Privilege: “No privilege shall be grounds for any person or institution failing to report that a juvenile may have been abused…even if the knowledge or suspicion is acquired in an official professional capacity, except when the knowledge or suspicion is gained by an attorney from that attorney’s client during representation only in the abuse…case. No privilege, except the attorney-client privilege, shall be grounds for excluding evidence of abuse…in any judicial proceeding in which a juvenile’s abuse…is in issue nor in any judicial proceeding resulting from a report submitted under this Article, both as this privilege relates to the competency of the witness and to the exclusion of confidential communications.” [7B-310]
Penalty for Knowingly Failing to Report: Class 1 misdemeanor. [7B-301(b)]
Civil Liability for Failure to Report Recognized? No statute recognizes civil liability. Consult with legal counsel to ensure no recent court decisions in North Carolina have recognized civil liability.
Immunity for Inaccurate Report: “Anyone who makes a report … is immune from any civil or criminal liability that might otherwise be incurred or imposed for that action provided that the person was acting in good faith. In any proceeding involving liability, good faith is presumed.” [7B-309]
Disclosure of Mandatory Reporter’s Identity: Reporter’s identity to be kept confidential. [7B-302(a1)]
Additional Information for North Carolina:
- Phone information: 1-919-527-6335 and https://www.ncdhhs.gov/divisions/social-services/local-dss-directory for the state’s social services directory
- Online resources: https://www.ncdhhs.gov/divisions/social-services/child-welfare-services/child-protective-services/about-child-abuse-and-child-neglect
All information provided here was most recently verified in March of 2023.