G.S. 132-1 through 11

North Carolina’s public records law (G.S. Ch. 132) generally applies to all state and local government agencies, including county social services departments.
Except as otherwise provided by federal or state law, the public records law requires state and local government agencies to disclose information contained in “public records” (as defined by the law) to any person, upon request. If a public record contains information that is subject to disclosure under the law and information that is not subject to disclosure, the agency must segregate the public information in the record from the nonpublic information and release the public information contained in the record. The public records law does not require a government agency or employee to release information that is not recorded in a public record (as defined by the law). 
A number of state statutes expressly exempt certain information and records from the state public records law. Agencies are not required to release information or records that are expressly exempted from public disclosure. A statute that merely exempts information or records from public disclosure, however, does not necessarily prohibit disclosure. An agency, therefore, may have the authority and discretion to release information or records even though the public records law does not require public disclosure. 
Some state statutes provide that information or records are confidential and are not subject to public disclosure under the state’s public records law. In these instances, agencies are prohibited from releasing the information or records unless expressly authorized by a statute other than the state public records act. 
A state statute (or a federal statute that preempts state law) that designates certain information or records as confidential generally is sufficient, standing alone, to exempt the information or records from public disclosure under the state public records law. 
G.S. 132-11 provides that all restrictions on access to public records shall expire 100 years after the creation of the record, applicable to any public record existing or created on or after August 18, 2015. However, the statute specifically exempts from this sunset provision: (1) sealed records, except as otherwise provided by the court ; (2) records prohibited from disclosure under federal law, rule or regulation; (3) records containing social security numbers; (4) records of juveniles, probationers, parolees, post-releasees, or prison inmates, including medical and mental health records; and (5) records containing detailed plans and drawings of public buildings and infrastructure facilities.
A federal law that imposes confidentiality restrictions on state or local government agencies as a condition of receiving federal funding, however, may not be sufficient, in and of itself, to exempt the information or records from public disclosure under the state’s public records law. Troutt Brothers, Inc. v. Emison, 841 S.W.2d 604 (Ark. 1992).

Health Information

State statute


The state public records law is discussed in detail in David M. Lawrence, Public Records Law for North Carolina Local Governments, 2d ed. (Chapel Hill, N.C.: School of Government, The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 2009).
The School of Government's Coates' Canons blog has many posts related to the public records.
Troutt Brothers, Inc. v. Emison, 841 S.W.2d 604 (Ark. 1992) can be found here: https://scholar.google.com/scholar_case?case=118774166867898841&q=311+Ar...