Responding to Child Abuse in Wake County

Thousands of cases of child abuse and neglect are reported every year in Wake County.

Abuse and neglect are distinct types of maltreatment. Abuse is the intentional maltreatment of a child and can be physical, sexual or emotional in nature. Neglect is the failure to provide a child with necessary food, care, clothing, shelter or medical attention. The emotional scars of both types of maltreatment are often deep. No child deserves to be maltreated.

If you suspect abuse or neglect of a child in Wake County, you are required to make a referral to the department of social services. North Carolina’s law applies to every adult and every institution in the state.

Call the Child Protection Report Line at 919.212.7990 (English) or 919.212.7963 (Spanish). If you live in another county and are concerned that a child is being abused or neglected, contact your county’s department of social services.

If the situation you are concerned about is a medical emergency or if you need to call outside of business hours, call 911.

You may choose to remain anonymous, so do not be afraid to report. As long as you are acting in good faith and cooperating with authorities, you will not be held liable.

This excellent video from Wake County Child Welfare Services explains the warning signs of child abuse and provides reporting information.

Safe Surrender Law

North Carolina’s Safe Surrender Law allows a parent to surrender a newborn up to seven days old to a responsible adult without the parent providing his or her name. These adults include a health care provider, law enforcement officer, social service worker or emergency medical personnel. The baby must be handed over to a person, not left on a doorstep. The law’s purpose is to prevent newborns from being hurt or abandoned.

Dig Deeper

Find more information about North Carolina’s reporting laws at N.C.G.S. §7B-301.

Find more information on reporters’ release from liability when acting in good faith at N.C.G.S. §7B-309.

Questions? Call us at 919.743.6140 or email