Child Welfare Services


To understand how the North Carolina Department of Social Services (NCDSS) choose which private agencies are best suited for a child for placement after removal from parental custody, in order to inform a marketing campaign.

Early Findings

  • According to the North Carolina Child Welfare Manual for Permanency Planning Review, the primary plan for any child (or children) removed from their home must be reunification with the parents or caretakers, until and unless the juvenile court determines that this situation is not safe for the child(ren).
  • When removal from the home is required in North Carolina, the county childcare agency must arrange and maintain a stable living arrangement for the child(ren) removed.
  • If placement with a willing and able relative cannot be arranged, then a placement resource "must be chosen for the child(ren) that ensures [they] are placed in the least restrictive setting, in the most family-like setting, in close proximity to the parent's home, and in a setting that is consistent with the safety and best interests, strengths, and special needs of the child."
  • The North Carolina Child Welfare Manual also promotes placement within the child's own community wherever possible, near (or, ideally, with) siblings and any other relatives. Thus, the ability to maintain these connections is likely a consideration when children are being placed into agencies for adoption. It may also depend on the child(ren)'s strengths and/or special needs, if any, as outlined above.
  • In North Carolina, agencies are listed by county, likely as a nod to the above guidelines about keeping children within a known community whenever possible.

Summary Of Early Findings Relative To The Goals

  • This hour of research was spent investigating guidelines and policies, specifically from North Carolina, regarding how children are placed into the care of an agency when placement with a relative or non-custodial parent is not possible. We also located the listing of approved agencies by county for NCDSS, which will be focused upon in our Proposed Next Steps (below)
  • We could not locate any specific guidelines relative to 'weighing' placement in one agency over another; however, it was clear from the guidance materials from the NCDSS that placement within a local community, with or near siblings, and with as much 'sameness' as possible was considered of utmost importance. The apparent practice of placement by county seems to adhere to these guidelines. Thus, our early findings above focused on the general guidelines specific to North Carolina for placement within an agency
  • Please select among the Proposed Next Steps (below) to continue research

Research proposal:

Only the project owner can select the next research path.
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