Welcome To Swain County

Social Services

Minimum Standards of Care for Children - Discipline


No corporal punishment is used on a child under the age of 3 or a child who is not mobile (this does not include an occasional "pop" to the buttocks or legs; popping the hands should be discouraged due to potential harm to bones/skin/veins.)

Parent or caretaker makes an effort to teach child consequences for unacceptable behavior.

If corporal punishment is used, it should not result in injury (i.e. cuts or extreme bruising lasting more than 24 hours from the time of the incident.)

Slapping a child is inappropriate and has been deemed by the district court system as  unacceptable behavior.


Parent or caretaker has been absent for an extended period (more than several days), but has made arrangements with a caretaker who is willing and able to provide care for the child in accordance with minimum standards.  Plan is for a definite period of time.  Parent has on-going contact with the child/caretaker and intends to resume care for child in the future.


A. There is no pattern of failure to seek needed medical treatment or to obtain prescribed medication for life threatening condition or permanently impairing condition.

B. There is no pattern of failure to seek and follow through with needed remedial care (such as speech therapy, specialized services for the hearing and visually impaired).

Child is not a disabled infant with a life-threatening condition from whom appropriate nutrition, hydration or medication is being withheld except under very specific conditions (NCAC II .0303).

Parental behavior does not exacerbate or aggravate a life-threatening or permanently impairing condition.

Parent or caretaker is providing necessary medical, dental and mental health care.

Parent or caretaker has made appointments and ensured transportation for a teen-ager who is refusing to cooperate with mental health services.

After a qualified professional has determined a child’s need for physical or mental health services the parent or caretaker has attempted to secure and follow through with services (may be contingent on service availability and financial resources).

Issues concerning immunizations and head lice are not accepted as Child Protective Services reports by DSS.  Immunizations are dealt with through the health department and school system and their legal resources.  The presence of lice is a situation addressed by the Health Department and school nurse.  The use of Ritalin or other psychostimulants is a parental choice.  The discontinuation or decision not to place a child on these medications is not accepted as a CPS report except in cases where there is evidence of behavior that is life-threatening.


A.        PHYSICAL

There are no safety hazards present in house (exposed wiring, unsafe heating units, broken windows, fire hazards, rats, vermin, snakes);

House has not been condemned;

House does not have running water or electricity, but parent is able to provide "proper care" standards by other means;

There is adequate heat;

Child has safe sleeping area (not exposed to rats or the elements);

Housekeeping standards do not expose child to possible disease, infections, injuries or fire hazards. The home has working smoke detectors and any firearms/other weapons are properly secured.

B.        PARENTAL

Child is not at risk of sexual abuse, physical abuse, or neglect due to a parent or caretaker's relationship with another individual or due to the parents or caretaker’s sexual abuse, physical abuse or neglect of another child.

Parent or caretaker has developed an identifiable protection plan as a result of third party abuse/neglect or risk of abuse/neglect.

Child has safe sleeping area (not at risk of sexual abuse and not exposed to sexual activity).

Child is not at risk of sexual abuse, physical abuse, or neglect due to the death of a sibling or neglect or abuse of a sibling.

Children under 12 are not allowed to use nor have access to guns or any dangerous weapons without adult supervision.

Child is not injured in a vehicular accident even though child was not wearing a seat belt or in a child restraint seat.

Parent or caretaker’s relationship with criminal elements has not placed child’s  health or safety at risk.     

Standards of Care for Children, Violence and Abuse, Page 4

Standards of Care for Children, Back to Supervision, Page 2


Department of Social Services
80 Academy Street
Bryson City, NC 28713

Mailing Address
PO Box 610
Bryson City, NC 28713


Sheila Sutton, Director
Phone 828-488-6921
Fax 828-488-8271

Office Hours