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Inconsistency and inequity in child welfare policies across North Carolina.
North Carolina is one of few states whose child protective services are run locally with limited state oversight. Funding and pay levels vary widely across the state. Implementation of policies also varies. Data analysis shows discrepancies in outcomes, with some counties removing children from families at several times the statewide rate, while other are counties removing children at less than half the rate statewide. This and other systemic problems, including a dated and unwieldy statewide database system, are leading to undesirable outcomes for children and families. Solutions to these problems exist and are recognized by many North Carolina agencies, previous investigations by a legislative division and the policies used in other states. Patchwork Protection is a four-part investigative series exploring these issues, being published serially in June 2021.
These interactive graphics show the project’s data in different ways. Counties where the average removal rate for children over the decade from 2010 to 2019 was greater than 150% of the state’s average rate are considered high. Counties where the average rate was more than 200% of the state’s average rate are considered very high. Those with rates less than 2/3 of the state’s are considered low and those with rates less than half of the state’s are considered very low. Rankings are from lowest rate compared with the state to highest.
This series is produced by the news team of Carolina Public Press.
Articles by Kate Martin, Frank Taylor and Imari Scarbrough, with assistance from Christian Green.
Photos by Jacob Biba, Colby Rabon and Alicia Carter.
Illustration by Brittain Peck.
Graphics by Taylor Buck.
Editing by Frank Taylor and Laura Lee.
To download an audio summary of the series, select the three dots to the right.