Nanny’s Korner Care Center v. N.C. DHHS, 234 N.C. App. 51 (2014)

Vacated and Remanded
  • The statutes and administrative code found at G.S. 110-88(6B), -105, and -105.2, and 10A N.C.A.C. 09.1904(b) place an affirmative duty on DHHS to independently determine whether abuse or neglect occurred in a child care facility.
  • A county DSS substantiation is not dispositive when determining an administrative action to be imposed by DHHS on a licensed child care facility.
  • Although a collaborative investigation occurs, and evidence is shared, that collaboration does not relieve DHHS of its affirmative duty to conduct its own investigation and determine if abuse or neglect occurred.
  • Because the petitioner’s liberty interests (her livelihood) were impacted by DHHS’s actions, she is entitled to due process, which can only occur if DHHS conducts and determines whether abuse or neglect occurred, rather than rely on a county DSS substantiation that cannot be challenged by petitioner.
  • Facts:  After an 8-year old child attending a licensed child care facility alleged she was inappropriately touched by a staff member, the county department of social services (DSS) and a consultant from the DHHS Division of Child Development and Early Education worked together to investigate the allegations. The county DSS notified DHHS that it “substantiated” the employee as having sexually abused the child. As a result, the DHHS consultant recommended the center be issued a special provisional license along with the continuation of a protection plan that prohibited the employee from being present at the facility during operational hours. The sanction was reduced by the DHHS Internal Review Panel to a written warning and implementation of the corrective action or protection plan. The petitioner appealed to an administrative hearing, where the child, the child’s parent, and the DSS worker did not testify. The hearing officer concluded that the substantiation by the county DSS allowed DHHS to issue a written warning and corrective action plan.  The hearing officer also found that the preponderance of the evidence at the hearing raised serious questions about whether the abuse occurred, but the hearing did not have jurisdiction to revisit the county DSS substantiation. Petitioner appealed the administrative decision to the Superior Court, which affirmed the hearing decision concluding DHHS could rely on the county DSS substantiation when issuing administrative sanctions. Petitioner appeals the final agency decision issuing a written warning and implementation of a corrective action plan.


    • Author's Note, S.L. 2015-123 changed the procedures for reporting and investigating suspected child maltreatment occurring in a child care facility. Those investigations are no longer a county department responsibility as suspected abuse or neglect of a child under the Juvenile Code but are instead the responsibility of the NC DHHS Division of Child Development and Early Education as part of the child care facility licensing system. 


Civil Cases with Application to Child Welfare
Child Care Facility Licensing
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