What You Need to Know About Child Dependency in North Carolina

Board Certified Family Law Specialist Matt Arnold answers the question: “Can I keep my Kids from seeing the other parent?”


If you are a parent who has had their kid removed from your home due to child abuse or neglect, then you should be aware that juvenile dependency cases are quite serious. They have the potential to negatively impact both your life and the life of your child. The unfortunate truth is that a child exposed to abuse or mistreatment from an early age may have problems with alcoholism, drugs, or repeated instances of abuse.


a-angry-and-scared-little-girl-Charlotte-Mooresville-Monroe-Child-Custody-lawyer-200x300What is Child Dependency?

Until they come of age in the eyes of the law, children are totally dependent on adults for their health needs and their protection. Juvenile dependency cases occur when parents are unable to keep their children safe and healthy at home. When parents are unable or unwilling to properly care for their child, the state juvenile court may intervene and make the child dependent on another responsible party.

This person in charge can be the same court, a relative, or even another family (called the “host” family). Parents can try to get the judge and social workers to allow them to bring the child back home if they meet certain criteria. However, the home must be healthy and safe to achieve reunification.

In the event that parents are unable to make their home suitable for their child, the judge has the ability to create a permanent plan. This plan is to find a place where the minor can live in a comfortable and safe way.


The Differences Between “Abuse” and “Neglect”

Neglect is defined as the failure to provide a child’s basic needs, which are:

  • Physical
  • Medical
  • Educational
  • Emotional

On the other hand, abuse tends to be more physical, although sexual or emotional abuse is also possible. Child abuse in a medical context is also a possibility, as well. Neglect and child abuse may occur along with other types of family violence, such as domestic violence.

Abusers are those individuals who purposefully ignore or mistreat children in their care. This implies that bullies might be anybody, including parents and other family members, individuals who live in the child’s home and have occasional care duties, teachers, bus drivers, and therapists.


Who is Typically Involved in a Dependency Case?

In child dependency cases, one of the most involved people is the lawyer. They are responsible for defending the minor and their interests, well-being, and comfort. Any interaction of the minor with the lawyer is completely confidential and may not be disclosed without the consent of the minor.

Another main function of lawyers is to present to the judge the wishes of the minor while keeping in mind the child’s best interests. It is important to differentiate the two as they are not always the same.

Another important person in this type of case is the social worker. They are the ones in charge of helping minors in every way, both physical and emotional. They are also in charge of supervising and approving foster homes to ensure that these are suitable environments for minors. In addition, once a temporary home is assigned to minors, the social worker must check in monthly to ensure that everything is ok.


Do You Know a Child Who Needs Help?

If you happen to know of a case of negligence with a direct family member or acquaintance, you have an important duty to report it. If you are not completely sure how to handle a case of this type, we here at Arnold & Smith, PLLC, can help you with the necessary steps to do so. Get a phone, video or in-person consultation by calling at (704) 370-2828 to speak with our detail-oriented and well-versed lawyers with offices in Charlotte, Lake Norman, and Monroe, please contact Arnold & Smith, PLLC today or find additional resources here.







The family law practice group at Arnold & Smith, PLLC includes two Board-Certified Family Law specialists and one Child Welfare Law specialist, as well as several attorneys with many years of family law experience that are committed to providing a powerful voice to individuals facing the often-tumultuous issues in this area of law. The range of issues our family law clients may be facing include pre- and post-nuptial agreements; separation agreements; post-separation support; child support (both temporary and permanent); absolute divorce; divorce from bed and board; military divorce; equitable distribution of assets; child custody (both temporary and permanent); retirement benefits and divorce; alimony and spousal support; adoption; and emancipation. Because this area of the law is usually emotionally charged and complicated, the family law attorneys at Arnold & Smith, PLLC act with the utmost dedication to ensure that each client understands his or her options, and then act to achieve the best result possible for that client’s particular situation.









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