LEGAL GUIDE
Written by attorney Bill Powers

7B-303. Interference with assessment.

7B-303. Interference with assessment.

(a) If any person obstructs or interferes with an assessment required by G.S. 7B-302, the director may file a petition naming that person as respondent and requesting an order directing the respondent to cease the obstruction or interference. The petition shall contain the name and date of birth and address of the juvenile who is the subject of the assessment; shall include a concise statement of the basis for initiating the assessment, shall specifically describe the conduct alleged to constitute obstruction of or interference with the assessment; and shall be verified.

(b) For purposes of this section, obstruction of or interference with an assessment means refusing to disclose the whereabouts of the juvenile, refusing to allow the director to have personal access to the juvenile, refusing to allow the director to observe or interview the juvenile in private, refusing to allow the director access to confidential information and records upon request pursuant to G.S. 7B-302, refusing to allow the director to arrange for an evaluation of the juvenile by a physician or other expert, or other conduct that makes it impossible for the director to carry out the duty to assess the juvenile's condition.

(c) Upon filing of the petition, the court shall schedule a hearing to be held not less than five days after service of the petition and summons on the respondent. Service of the petition and summons and notice of hearing shall be made as provided by the Rules of Civil Procedure on the respondent; the juvenile's parent, guardian, custodian, or caretaker; and any other person determined by the court to be a necessary party. If at the hearing on the petition the court finds by clear, cogent, and convincing evidence that the respondent, without lawful excuse, has obstructed or interfered with an assessment required by G.S. 7B-302, the court may order the respondent to cease such obstruction or interference. The burden of proof shall be on the petitioner.

(d) If the director has reason to believe that the juvenile is in need of immediate protection or assistance, the director shall so allege in the petition and may seek an ex parte order from the court. If the court, from the verified petition and any inquiry the court makes of the director, finds probable cause to believe both that the juvenile is at risk of immediate harm and that the respondent is obstructing or interfering with the director's ability to assess the juvenile's condition, the court may enter an ex parte order directing the respondent to cease the obstruction or interference. The order shall be limited to provisions necessary to enable the director to conduct an assessment sufficient to determine whether the juvenile is in need of immediate protection or assistance. Within 10 days after the entry of an ex parte order under this subsection, a hearing shall be held to determine whether there is good cause for the continuation of the order or the entry of a different order. An order entered under this subsection shall be served on the respondent along with a copy of the petition, summons, and notice of hearing.

(e) The director may be required at a hearing under this section to reveal the identity of any person who made a report of suspected abuse, neglect, or dependency as required by G.S. 7B-301.

(f) An order entered pursuant to this section is enforceable by civil or criminal contempt as provided in Chapter 5A of the General Statutes. (1987, c. 409, s. 1; 1993, c. 516, s. 6; 1998-202, s. 6; 1999-456, s. 60; 2005-55, s. 5.)

§ 7B-304: Repealed by Session Laws 2003, c. 140, s. 1, effective June 4, 2003.

§ 7B-305. Request for review by prosecutor.

The person making the report shall have five working days, from receipt of the decision of the director of the department of social services not to petition the court, to notify the prosecutor that the person is requesting a review. The prosecutor shall notify the person making the report and the director of the time and place for the review, and the director shall immediately transmit to the prosecutor a copy of a summary of the assessment. (1979, c. 815, s. 1; 1998-202, s. 6; 1999-456, s. 60; 2005-55, s. 6.)

Additional resources provided by the author

7B-306. Review by prosecutor. The prosecutor shall review the director's determination that a petition should not be filed within 20 days after the person making the report is notified. The review shall include conferences with the person making the report, the protective services worker, the juvenile, if practicable, and other persons known to have pertinent information about the juvenile or the juvenile's family. At the conclusion of the conferences, the prosecutor may affirm the decision made by the director, may request the appropriate local law enforcement agency to investigate the allegations, or may direct the director to file a petition. (1979, c. 815, s. 1; 1981, c. 469, s. 7; 1993, c. 516, s. 7; 1998-202, s. 6; 1999-456, s. 60.) § 7B-307. Duty of director to report evidence of abuse, neglect; investigation by local law enforcement; notification to appropriate military authority; notification of Department of Health and Human Services. (a) If the director finds evidence that a juvenile may have been abused as defined by G.S. 7B-101, the director shall make an immediate oral and subsequent written report of the findings to the district attorney or the district attorney's designee and the appropriate local law enforcement agency, including notifying the appropriate military authority that there is evidence of abuse or neglect of a juvenile by a parent, guardian, custodian, or caretaker with that military affiliation, within 48 hours after receipt of the report. The local law enforcement agency shall immediately, but no later than 48 hours after receipt of the information, initiate and coordinate a criminal investigation with the protective services assessment being conducted by the county department of social services. Upon completion of the investigation, the district attorney shall determine whether criminal prosecution is appropriate and may request the director or the director's designee to appear before a magistrate. If the director receives information that a juvenile may have been physically harmed in violation of any criminal statute by any person other than the juvenile's parent, guardian, custodian, or caretaker, the director shall make an immediate oral and subsequent written report of that information to the district attorney or the district attorney's designee and to the appropriate local law enforcement agency within 48 hours after receipt of the information. The local law enforcement agency shall immediately, but no later than 48 hours after receipt of the information, initiate a criminal investigation. Upon completion of the investigation, the district attorney shall determine whether criminal prosecution is appropriate. If the report received pursuant to G.S. 7B-301 involves abuse or neglect of a juvenile or child maltreatment, as defined in G.S. 110-105.3, in child care, the director shall notify the Department of Health and Human Services within 24 hours or on the next working day of receipt of the report. The director of the department of social services shall submit a report of alleged abuse, neglect, or dependency cases or child fatalities that are the result of alleged maltreatment to the central registry under the policies adopted by the Social Services Commission. (b), (c) Repealed by Session Laws 2015-123, s. 5, effective January 1, 2016. (1979, c. 815, s. 1; 1983, c. 199; 1985, c. 757, s. 156(s)-(u); 1991, c. 593, s. 2; 1991 (Reg. Sess., 1992), c. 923, s. 4; 1993, c. 516, s. 8; 1997-443, s. 11A.118(a); 1997-506, s. 33; 1998-202, s. 6; 1999-456, s. 60; 2005-55, s. 7; 2015-123, s. 5; 2019-201, s. 3(b).)

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