Once a county child welfare agency is notified of the identification of a substance affected infant, it will develop a Plan of Safe Care and refer the infant and family to the local public health Care Management for At-Risk Children (CMARC) program. Participation with CMARC services is voluntary for the family.
As specified in the Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (CAPTA), the notification is to ensure that services are provided to the infant and caregiver and should not be construed to mean that prenatal substance use is considered child maltreatment. While notification to the county child welfare agency is required, the family may not be appropriate for child welfare services if there are no immediate safety concerns.
When circumstances require child welfare intervention the child welfare worker will support the family in implementing the Plan of Safe Care, ensuring the family's connection to services with CMARC and also assessing risk and ensuring the infant's safety.
CAPTA also amended states' annual data reporting through the National Child Abuse and Neglect Data System (NCANDS). North Carolina Division of Social Services (DSS) is responsible for collecting the amended annual data report requirements from county child welfare agencies and for reporting this information to the NCANDS.