How to Identify Child Abuse

What Happens After a Report of Child Abuse Has Been Made?

Children are seldom removed permanently from their homes. If Child Protective Services decides to investigate the case, they must initiate an investigation within 24 hours for abuse and within 72 hours in cases of suspected neglect. A full assessment will be made to determine future actions involving the child and the family. Help may be provided to the family in the form of counseling, referrals to other helping agencies, emergency foster care services, intensive in-home services, and/or help with housing, finances, medical needs, and child care.


Report of Abuse

  • Investigation w/in 24 hours (determine whether immediate removal required)
  • If evidence of abuse is found, director shall make report to law enforcement within 48 hours of receipt of report/determination
  • Law enforcement shall initiate and coordinate investigation immediately but no later than 48 hours after receipt of report
  • Summons for hearing on removal initiated immediately (special procedure available if clerk’s office closed)
  • Summons shall be served personally not less than 5 days prior to hearing
  • No juvenile shall remain in custody of DSS for more than 7 calendar days without a hearing on the merits
  • Hearing to review the disposition of the child within 90 days of the date of original hearing and then a second review hearing within 6 mos.
  • Hearing w/in 12 months after date of initial order removing custody and subsequent hearings every 6 mos for the permanency planning of the child

Report of Neglect

  • Investigation w/in 72 hours (determine whether immediate removal required)

Report of Abandonment

  • Investigate immediately
  • Within 5 days of report, director shall give written notice to the reporter whether report accepted, investigated and/or referred to law enforcement.
  • Within 5 days of completion of investigation, director shall given written notice of findings to reporter
  • Reporter may request review of decision by DA within 5 working days of receipt of report
  • DA must review within 20 days of receipt of request.


The information contained in this report has been obtained or derived from sources believed by The Junior League of Charlotte, Inc. (“the JLC”) to be reliable, but the JLC does not represent that this information is accurate or complete.