The Division of Child Development and Early Education is responsible for monitoring all licensed child care programs to ensure compliance with child care requirements. The main purpose of regulation is to ensure healthy and safe environments for children while they are away from their home.
If there is a regulatory concern, the Division is required to conduct a visit to the facility to determine if the facility is in compliance with child care rules and regulations. The Division is also responsible for investigating any concerns about illegally operating child care programs. Child Care Consultants and Investigations Consultants both investigate complaints alleging violations of child care requirements.
Examples of issues that might be reported include:
- Children not being fed nutritious meals
- Activities or materials not appropriate for the ages of children in care
- Staff responsible for too many children
- Children being left in classrooms without an adult present
Note: The Division has no authority over areas such as operational policies about payment, hours or days of operation, if a program chooses not to administer medication, or enrollment or termination policies. If you have any concerns about operational policies, please talk to the child care operator.
The Division offers several ways to file a complaint:
- Call the Division at (800) 859-0829 (In-State only) or (919) 814-6300. Ask to speak to someone in the Intake Unit (calls can be made anonymously).
- Fax Information to the Intake Unit at (919) 715-1013.
- Email our Webmaster at firstname.lastname@example.org. A link to this email can also be found under the “Home” drop down arrow, where you can select “contact”, and you will then find the webmaster email address which is located in the orange shaded box.
- Mail Information to: DCDEE 2201 Mail Service Center, Raleigh NC 27699-2200
Note: Any person who suspects child maltreatment may have occurred in a child care facility has a duty to report the suspicions to the Division. If there is suspected child maltreatment of a juvenile not related to child care, any person should report the suspicions to the local Department of Social Services.
When filing a complaint, please be prepared to share the following information:
- The name of the child care program.
- The address or general location of the child care program.
- Details about your concern.
- Any information about individuals involved in the incident.
- Approximate date and/or time and the location where the incident occurred.
- Any additional information that you may have.
During a Complaint Visit
The consultant makes an unannounced visit to discuss the complaint with the provider. The consultant may interview the facility administrator, teachers, parents, children, and any other individuals who may have information about the allegations. Dependent upon the nature of the complaint, various aspects of the program will be monitored. For example, if the complaint was about the nutritional content of meals, the consultant would generally visit during lunchtime and review what was being served. Menus from current and previous weeks could also be reviewed, and there may be a discussion with the provider about the program's policy for meals.
When an allegation of child maltreatment is received by the Division, an investigations consultant conducts an unannounced visit to the facility to discuss the complaint with the provider. The investigations consultant may conduct multiple visits to facilities to follow up on the investigation. Additional visits may be conducted for a variety of reasons such as to:
- Conduct interviews
- Monitor for compliance with child care requirements
- Monitor a protection plan
- Follow up on corrective action
It may be decided that other agencies need to be involved in the child maltreatment investigation. The following is a list of agencies that may be involved:
- Local Law Enforcement
- State Bureau of Investigation
- Medical Personnel
- Medical Examiner
- Department of Social Services
At the conclusion of any visit addressing a complaint, the consultant will review the visit summary with the provider. The provider will be asked to sign the visit summary and will be given a copy for their records.
If it is determined that the incident did occur, the provider is required to submit a compliance letter stating how the violation of child care requirements has been corrected. Follow up visits may be made as needed. The Division can take administrative action against the program, ranging from a Written Reprimand, to the issuance of a Revocation of a license.
If the consultant is unable to confirm that the incident did occur, then the report is unsubstantiated. A copy of the visit summary report, and any supporting documentation, is available on the Division website and placed in the program's public file for all complaints not alleging child maltreatment.
Following the conclusion of a child maltreatment investigation, if child maltreatment was substantiated and/or violations of child care requirements were cited during a visit, violations of child care requirements will display on the website and this information is placed in the public file. During the 2016-2017 fiscal year, the Division substantiated 44 child maltreatment investigations. During the 2017-2018 fiscal year, the Division substantiated 55 child maltreatment investigations.
The Division may determine child maltreatment occurred at child care facilities and/or determine an individual should be placed on the Child Maltreatment Registry as a result of child maltreatment.
The Child Maltreatment Registry is a list of individuals who have maltreated a child in child care and is maintained at the Division. Individuals whose names are on the Registry are disqualified from ever working in child care in NC. The registry is for the most serious cases. The Division will examine each situation to determine if placement on the Registry is warranted and will consider circumstances such as the age of the child, severity of the injury, and actions taken or not taken by the caregiver.
An individual will receive written notification that the Division intends to add the individual’s name to the Child Maltreatment Registry. The notification will be sent certified mail to the individual’s mailing address on file with the related child care facility. Prior to an individual placed on the Child Maltreatment Registry, she or he will be given the opportunity to appeal the decision. During the appeal, the individual is prohibited from working in child care; however, the individual’s name will not be added to the Registry until the appeals process is completed.
The general public can submit a request to check an individual’s name against the registry by completing the Public Request Form for Child Maltreatment Registry.
Choosing Child Care
When choosing child care parents should continue to be diligent. Be sure to ask questions and follow your instincts when it comes to choosing care. Parents should ask questions of all prospective and current child care providers and voice their concerns about the quality of care.
Serious Injuries and Child Fatalities
The Division strives to ensure the health, safety and well-being of every child. However, serious injuries do occur in child care. The Division defines Serious Injury as a wound or other specific damage to the body such as, but not limited to, unconsciousness, broken bones, dislocation, deep cut requiring stitches, concussion, a foreign object lodged in eye, nose, or other orifice, 2nd or 3rd degree burns, and swallowed objects.
The child care facility shall complete an incident report each time a child is injured as a result of an incident occurring while the child is in care. When medical treatment is required as a result of an incident occurring while the child is in care, a copy of the incident report shall be mailed to a representative of the Division within seven calendar days after the incident.
The total number of serious injuries and fatalities that occurred in licensed child care facilities is available in PDF format.