Child Protective Services

Child Protective Services


Child Protective Services are legally mandated, non-voluntary services provided to ensure the safety and protection of children from abuse, neglect, and dependency. In North Carolina, any person who has reason to suspect that a child may be abused, neglected, or dependent is required by law to report their concerns to DSS (NC G.S. 7B-301)

The agency determines if alleged reports meet the legal definitions contained in North Carolina General Statutes. If the report meets the legal definition, a social worker is assigned to the report, and the social worker will go out and assess the concerns reported. Reports are responded to based on the response time assigned to the report and could be anywhere from immediate to 72 hours. If the report does not meet the legal definition it will be screened out.

DSS is mandated to provide in-home services to assist with maintaining the safety of the children in the home. A social worker will work with the family to alleviate the factors creating the abuse or neglect. Child and Family Team (CFT) Meetings will be held periodically to develop case plans for children at risk. In some cases, the risk of harm to the child is so great that the child has to be removed and placed in an alternative living arrangement while family concerns are addressed. Safety for the child is the first priority with responses focused on preserving the family unit.


How do I make a CPS report of abuse, neglect, or dependency of a child?

  • CPS reports can be made 24/7
  • Reports can be made by phone or in person
  • You can make a report in person by visiting 311 W. Cornelius Harnett Blvd., Lillington, NC 27546 during regular business hours (8 – 5 pm Monday – Friday)
  • You can make a report by phone during regular business hours (8 – 5 pm Monday – Friday) by calling 910-814-6662.
  • After regular business hours, weekends, or holidays, call 910-893-9111. This is the non-emergency phone number for the Harnett County Sheriff’s Office. Please ask to speak to the on-call social worker. They will take down your name and number, and the on-call social worker will give you a call back to take your report.
  • Please do not leave a report on a voicemail or by email. If you reach a voicemail, please leave a message with your name and phone number, and we will give you a callback to take your report.
  • If you are someone that works for CPS in another county or state and have a question about requesting a courtesy visit or obtaining CPS history on a family, please call intake at 910-814-6662.

What is abuse?

Answer: Abuse includes allegations of physical abuse, sexual abuse, human trafficking, moral turpitude and emotional abuse. Physical abuse is when a parent or caretaker inflicts non-accidental injury to the child or creates a risk of serious harm to the child. Sexual abuse is any sexual behavior imposed on a child by a parent or caregiver. DSS investigates all situations where a child is a victim of human trafficking regardless of whether or not the parent or caretaker is the human trafficker. Moral turpitude is when a parent or caretaker “encourages, directs, or approves of delinquent acts.” Emotional abuse is when the parent or caretaker expresses attitudes or behaviors toward the child that results in serious emotional or psychological damage to the child.

What is neglect?

Answer: Examples of neglect include the improper supervision of a child, using inappropriate discipline on a child, abandoning a child, not providing for the child’s basic needs, not meeting the child’s medical needs, creating an injurious environment for the child as a result of substance use or domestic violence, not providing a safe living environment for the child, not complying with the school attendance laws, or placing the child for adoption in violation of the law.

What is dependency?

Answer: Dependency means that the child does not have any parent, guardian, or custodian responsible for their care. Dependency can also mean that the caretaker is not capable of providing care to the child or the child lacks an appropriate alternative childcare arrangement.

What is the definition of a caretaker?

Answer: A caretaker is “any person other than a parent, guardian, or custodian who has responsibility for the health and welfare of a juvenile in a residential setting.” Any adult member of the juvenile’s household is considered a caretaker. A child’s school teacher or babysitter are not considered caretakers.

I am concerned that a child was abused, but it was by someone who is not a caretaker of the child. What do I do?

Answer: You can make a report to law enforcement because DSS only investigates allegations of abuse when it was inflicted by a parent, guardian, custodian, or caretaker. The only exception to this is cases involving human trafficking. DSS investigates all situations where a child is a victim of human trafficking regardless of whether or not the parent or caretaker is the human trafficker.

Can I make a report anonymously?

Answer: Per policy, “North Carolina legislation requires that the person making the report give their name, address, and telephone number. However, refusal of the person making the report to identify himself or herself does not relieve the county child welfare services agency of its responsibility for conducting a CPS Assessment.” If DSS knows the identity of the reporter (which includes information obtained from Caller ID), this information must be documented even if the reporter wishes to remain anonymous. If the reporter wants to remain anonymous, they will not be able to receive any follow up information about the report that they filed. It is important to provide your name and contact information to DSS so that we can follow up with you in case we have additional questions.

What kind of information will they ask if I make a CPS report?

Answer: We have a standard report form that we will complete with you. It generally takes about 45 minutes to make a report. We will ask you for demographic information including names (including spelling), DOB’s, address, and phone numbers. If there is some information that you don’t know or are unable to obtain, you can still make the report.

What county do I make the report to?

Answer: You can make a report to any county in North Carolina. The county that is responsible for conducting the investigation/assessment is the county where the child lives. If you make a report to a county where the child doesn’t live, that agency will forward your report to the correct county.

What information is the reporter entitled to after making a report?

Answer: If the reporter provided their name and contact information when making the report, they are entitled to a written notification about whether or not the report was accepted for an assessment to be conducted. If the report was accepted for an assessment, the reporter is also entitled to another written notification at the conclusion of the assessment that notifies them of the case decision.

What is the difference between a Family Assessment and an Investigative Assessment?

Answer: A family assessment is conducted on most CPS reports that meet the definition of neglect. An investigative assessment is more forensic in nature and may involve law enforcement. Sometimes, the children must be interviewed before the parents are notified of the report in order to protect them. The investigative assessment is assigned for reports of abuse and certain types of neglect.

Why did you call the family to let them know that you were coming out instead of just showing up?

Answer: This depends on a number of factors. If the report was assigned as a Family Assessment, DSS is required to try to contact the parent/caretaker to schedule the initial visit with the family. This is because DSS uses a family-centered approach. Our goal is to partner with families to help them correct the safety concerns. We want to see families make positive changes. For example, if a family works on cleaning up their house before we visit, that is what we want them to do.

Do you have to contact the mother and/or father of my child even though they aren’t involved in their life?

Answer: Yes, per policy, DSS is required to contact all non-resident parents “to get their input on the allegations and the overall safety and risk level in the home.” If you think that this will place you or your child(ren) at risk, discuss this with your social worker.

Can I find out the name of the reporter?

Answer: No, the reporter’s identity is confidential. The identity of the reporter will remain anonymous unless “a court orders otherwise [or] a local, state, or federal entity demonstrates a need for the reporter’s name to carry out its mandated responsibilities.”         

DSS took custody of a child. What happens next?

Answer: To learn more about Permanency Planning Services (foster care/adoption), click this link: Foster Care & Adoptions


Community Resources

·       NCDSS website

·       NC Prevent Child Abuse

·       Harnett County Department of Juvenile Justice 910-893-2114 or

·       Legal Aid of NC Call 866-219-5262 or select link to the appropriate Custody Packet Below

Legal Aid of NC--Custody Packet--For Non-Parents   

Legal Aid of NC--Custody Packet--For Non-Parents (Spanish)  

Legal Aid of NC--Custody Packet--For Parents    

Legal Aid of NC--Custody Packet--For Parents (Spanish)

·       SAFE of Harnett County- Call 910-893-7233 or

·       CDSA of Harnett County- Call 910-814-2480 or

·       Harnett County Partnership for Children- Call 910-893-2344

NC Pre-K

·       Mental Health Resources Behavioral Health Resources

·       Mobile Crisis- Call 1-877-626-1772 for therapeutic Alternatives or HOPE4NC call 1-855-587-3463

·       Human Trafficking Call the National Human Trafficking Hotline at 1-888-373-7888 or

·       Power of Attorney Form

·       Local Food pantries Click here

·       Local Pregnancy/Baby Supplies & Resources Click Here

·       Care Management for At Risk Children (CMARC- formerly called CC4C) Call 910-893-7550 Ext.6277


·       Care Management for High Risk Pregnancies (CMHRP- formerly called Pregnancy Care Management) Call 910-893-7550 Ext. 6277 


·       Community Action- Call 919-934-2145 or

·       Headstart-(Harnett County Locations)

Dunn Head Start Learning Center- Phone: 910-230-0273 Address: 610 East Johnson St. Dunn NC 28334

Shirley Whitley Child Development Center Head Start- Phone: 910-814-2651 Address: 747 Shawtown Rd. Lillington, NC 27546

·        Army Emergency Relief

·       Homeless Shelters Click Here

·       McKinney-Vento Act Know Your Rights

·       Dunn Housing Authority- Call 910-892-5076

·       Sandhills Center- 24 hour Call Center 1-800-256-2452 or Behavioral Health Crisis Line 1-833-600-2054


·       Ft. Liberty Family Advocacy Program- Call 910-396-5521 or

·       Robin Paige Boys & Girls Club (Harnett Location)- Phone: 888-785-2582 Ext. 803  Address: 645 Shawtown Rd. Lillington, NC 27546  

For other locations in North Carolina:

·       NC Works

·       Ft. Liberty New Parent Support Program- Call 910-396-7951


·       Medicaid Transportation- Please call 910-814-6811 to apply for transportation. If you are someone who transports a Medicaid

  recipient, and need reimbursement please call 910-814-6635.

·       HARTS- Call 910-814-4019 or

·       First Choice- Call 910-364-0970 or

·       Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC)- Call 910-893-7570



State / National Phone Numbers

911 – Emergency Services

988 – Suicide and Crisis Lifeline

211 – United Way (this NC-based service provides information about health and human service programs such as housing and food resources)

800-950-NAMI (6264) – National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI)

888-373-7888 – National Human Trafficking Hotline

800-222-1222 – Poison Control Center

877-626-1772 – Mobile Crisis for Harnett County


Contact Information:

Mailing Address: P.O. Box 2169, Lillington, NC 27546

Physical Address: 311 W. Cornelius Harnett Blvd., Lillington, NC 27546

CPS Intake Phone Number: 910-814-6662 (to make a CPS report or for general questions)

Fax Number: 910-912-1661 (this fax is shared with other departments, so please call the intake number prior to sending anything so that it isn’t overlooked)


CPS Supervisors and Social Workers:


Fax number 910-912-1661


Lindsey Elrod / 910-814-6837 /

Christen Hayes / 910-814-6656 /

Crystal Hernandez / 910-814-6682 /

Jessica Hester / 910-814-6672 /

Tiffany Hill / 910-814-6834 /

Latisha Inman / 910-814-6822 /

Krissy Johnson / 910-814-6642 /

Danita Lee / 910-814-6854 /

Princess Mercer / 910-814-6556 /

Nicole Miller / 910-814-6668 /

Nia Reid / 910-814-6662 / 


Ashley Rodriguez / 910-814-6667 /

Raven Shyllon / 910-814-6847 /

Jennifer Simpson / 910-814-6657 /

Olivia Small / 910-814-6835 /

Anna Talbot / 910-814-6661 / 

Sharon Valentine / 910-814-6825 /

Kelly Vaughan / 910-814-6659 / 

Kristen Arnott / Supervisor / 910-814-6675 / 

Gale McLean / Supervisor / 910-814-6801 / 

April Fowler / Supervisor / 910-814-6685 / 

Terri Crisp / Supervisor / 910-814-6670 / 

Lisa Hinson / Program Manager / 910-814-6663 /