Children Services FAQ


Q.  How Is Child Abuse/Neglect Defined?

A.  When children are abused, they have been seriously hurt, either physically or emotionally.  This may also include any type of sexual abuse.  When children are neglected, they have not received proper care or supervision.  This may include children who do not receive necessary medical attention, who are inadequately fed or clothed, or who are inappropriately disciplined.  Neglect also includes children who are left alone for long periods of time, or are living in a dangerous environment.


Q.  When Should A Children’s Protective Services Report Be Made?

A.  Reporting child abuse or neglect is the first step in protecting a child from further harm.  If you suspect that a child is being abused or neglected you should report it as soon as possible.  Please report your concerns to the Alamance County Department of Social Services.  If it is an emergency, contact your local law enforcement agency or dial 911.  Your information can be given anonymously. Reports may be made orally, in writing, or in person.  Our office is located at 319 N. Graham-Hopedale Rd. Suite C, Burlington, NC 27217.  The person who makes the report is immune from criminal or legal liability if the report was made in good faith. The alleged victim/ child and their family should reside in Alamance County in order for us to intervene with the provision of protective services.


Q.  Do You Have The Right To Talk To My Children Without My Permission?

A.  The Alamance County Department of Social Services will try to involve the family to the greatest extent possible.  However, the agency does have the right to talk to your child without your permission if deemed necessary.  If any person obstructs or interferes with an investigation, the director may file a petition requesting an order directing the person to cease such obstruction or interference.  Obstruction or interference includes refusing to allow the social worker to interview the child in private if requested.


Q.  Who Is The Reporter?  Do I Have The Right To Know?

A.  The reporter’s name remains confidential unless the department is court ordered to release that information.


Q.  How Do I Report That A Child Is Being Abused Or Neglected?

A.  If you believe a child is being abused or neglected, it is your legal obligation to report it. Call us at (336) 229-2908 or (336) 570-6532 and ask for the Child Protective Services “Intake Worker” to make a report. By law, your identity will be kept confidential.  Reports can be made orally, in writing, or in person during regular business hours Monday-Friday from 8 am to 5 pm.  Our office is located at 319 N. Graham-Hopedale Road, Suite C, Burlington, NC 27217.

After hours, and on weekends and holidays, please contact Central Communications (336) 570-6777) or  local law enforcement.  If the situation is an emergency, please call 911.

Foster Care


Q.  What is Foster Care?

A.  Foster care is a temporary living arrangement for abused, neglected, and dependent children who need a safe place to live when their parents or another relative cannot take care of them. Often their families face issues such as illness, alcohol or drug addiction, or homelessness.

When DSS believes a child is not safe, and a judge agrees, DSS takes custody of that child and finds a foster home for him or her. Length of stay in foster care varies from a few days to much longer.


Foster families are recruited, trained, and licensed to care for abused and neglected children temporarily, while their parents work with social work professionals to resolve their family issues. Relatives may be licensed as foster parents.

The foster family, DSS, and the birth family work together to return children to their own homes as quickly as possible. In cases where the child becomes free for adoption, foster parents may be considered as adoptive parents.


Q.  Who Are the Children?

A.  Thousands of children in North Carolina enter the foster care system each year, and range in age from infants to 18 years old. All foster children have unique backgrounds, experiences, personalities, strengths and needs.


Some children in foster care require extensive care for physical or emotional handicaps and disabilities.


Some also require help with undisciplined and delinquent behaviors. Most foster children do not have a strong sense of belonging or self-worth. Many have been victims of physical or sexual abuse. All children who are in foster care require special care, support, and nurturing.


Q.  Who Pays For The Child’s Care?

A.  Foster parents receive financial compensation from the placement agency or a child’s room, board, and other living expenses. Sometimes there are supplemental payments for the care of children with special needs.


Although the amount of the financial compensation payments may vary from agency to agency and sometimes based on the individual needs of the foster child, the current state recommended rates are as follows:


�         $475 for children ages 0 – 5

�         $581 for children ages 6 – 12

�         $634 for children ages 13 and over


Q.  Who can be a Foster Parent?

A.  Foster parents must:


�         Be a resident of Alamance County

�         Attend a 30-hour training course

�         Be at least 21 years old

�         Have a stable income

�         Be in good physical and mental health

�         Have the ability to provide good physical, emotional and spiritual care

�         You must be able to provide adequate supervision to the foster child.

�         Each household must have a fire inspection

�         Maintain a drug free environment

�         Have a stable family relationship

�         Have enough room for a child

�         Have a telephone

�         Be fingerprinted and have a criminal records check completed on each household member over the age of 18

�         Have a home study completed

�         Have a high school diploma or it’s equivalent (GED)


To find out more on how to become a licensed foster parent you can visit the DHHS;s Licensing web page, call NC KIDS at 1-877-NCKIDS (1-877-625-4371) or contact us at (336) 570-6532.  We can offer information that will help you decide if foster parenting is right for you.

Q.  Do Foster Parents have to be Licensed?

A.  Yes, North Carolina state law requires that all foster parents be licensed to care for children in their care. These licenses are issued by the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services. County Departments of Social Services and several private child caring agencies are authorized to work with potential foster parents to assist them with the licensing process and to provide supervision and support for the foster parents.


Potential foster parents receive 30 hours of training. The training covers topics such as child abuse and neglect, working with birth parents, and helping foster children deal with the issues they face. It also helps the potential foster parents think about how parenting another child may affect their family.

Q.  How Do I Become a Foster Parent?
A.  To find out more on how to become a licensed foster parent you can visit DHHS’s Licensing web page, call NC KIDS at 1-877-NCKIDS (1-877-625-4371) or us at (336) 570-6532.  We can offer information that will help you decide if foster parenting is right for you.