What is Connections Matter?

Connections Matter is a community-based initiative is designed to engage community members in building caring connections to build strong, safe, resilient communities and families.

Through our public awareness campaign, workshops, trainings, and technical assistance, we will work with partners across NC to bring awareness to the intersecting topics of Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs), trauma, brain development, and resilience and what we all can do to support our children and families.

Connections Matter NC is a collaboration with Prevent Child Abuse NC.

What is a Connections Matter Congregation?

A Connections Matter Congregation invests in building a safe and nurturing environment for children and families. Connections Matter is a community effort reminding us that relationships are the most important brain builders for children, families and communities.

Faith communities and leaders are equipped with an understanding of the impact of toxic stress, and their special role in supporting their community’s health and well-being, can make profound progress in building resilience by supporting individuals and families through building resilient and connected congregations.

Our NC faith communities play a special role in supporting our community’s health and well-being.  You offer unique resources and perspectives to connecting a community’s faith traditions with messages that strengthen Protective Factors in your community.

Social connections our faith communities provide are key Protective Factors not only in reducing the effects of trauma, but also are essential in the prevention of child abuse and neglect.

Become a CM Congregation

Learn how you can become a Connections Matter Congregation.

Children's Sabbath

Tools and resources to help your congregation celebrate the Children’s Sabbath.

Become a Connections Matter Trainer

Register for our Train the Trainer opportunity to bring Connections Matter to your community!

Free Online Trainings

Take our free, online trainings: Recognizing and Responding to Suspicions of Child Maltreatment and What is Prevention!

As adults, it is our responsibility to ensure the healthy growth and development of all children. That includes intervening when we suspect a child’s well-being is or may be at risk.

Your Role in Protecting Children from Maltreatment

North Carolina law requires all adults to report suspected child maltreatment. You do not need proof that maltreatment has occurred; you only need reasonable cause to suspect maltreatment. You do not need anyone’s permission to file a report.

For a comprehensive explanation of the North Carolina law requiring all citizens to report cases of suspected child abuse, neglect, and dependency, click here.

If you need more information about what to do if you suspect abuse and neglect, take PCANC’s free web-based Recognizing and Responding to Suspicions of Child Maltreatment training. After completing this course, follow the instructions to print your Results to provide to employers or volunteer managers indicating that you have successfully completed the course.

Download our Recognizing & Responding to Suspicions of Child Maltreatment one-pager as a reference tool.

Remember, it is your job as an adult to help protect children.

How to Make a Referral

To make a referral, call your local county Department of Social Services (DSS) where the child lives. Find contact information for your local DSS in the North Carolina DSS County Directory. Share any information you have about the child – name, age, address and parent or caregiver name – and what makes you suspect abuse.

You do not need to provide your contact information when making the report; but if you do, you will receive a notification as to whether Child Protective Services (CPS) will or will not investigate the case.

What Happens After You Make a Referral

If your referral is accepted for assessment, the county DSS will initiate an assessment within 24 hours for abuse or 72 hours for neglect. The assessment will include a visit to the home and interviews with the child, his or her family and others. DSS will work to protect the child while helping the family address issues that may be contributing to the abusive or neglectful behavior. Families most frequently work with DSS to receive services in the form of counseling, emergency foster care, help with basic needs, parenting classes, and intensive in-home services.

If You Are Not Satisfied With the Result After You Make a Referral

If the CPS worker assigned to the case determines there will not be an investigation, you may contact the CPS Supervisor at that location.

If you are still not satisfied with the outcome after contacting the CPS Supervisor, you may contact the DSS Director at that site and state your concern.

If you are still not satisfied with the outcome at the local DSS level, call the Child Welfare Policy Consultation Team within the North Carolina Division of Social Services at 919-527-6340, and Administrative Support staff will direct your call to the next available consultant.

If you need legal services, we recommend one of the following resources:

  • Lawyer Referral Services at 1-800-662-7660 is a free service of the North Carolina Bar Association and can help you locate an appropriate attorney for your particular needs.
  • Legal Aid of North Carolina at 919-856-2564 can help you access a low-cost attorney for custody issues.

Spread the Word

Help us spread the word on social media about Recognizing & Responding to Suspicions of Child Maltreatment. Use our Social Media Toolkit with share images and pre-written social media posts to spread the word and challenge others to take the course!

Recognizing & Responding to Suspicions of Child Maltreatment Social Media Toolkit 
Download Social Media Images