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The Low Income Household Water Assistance Program (LIHWAP) is a federally-funded program that provides emergency assistance to low-income households, particularly those with the lowest incomes, that pay a high proportion of household income for drinking water and wastewater services. LIHWAP is a temporary emergency program that helps eligible households afford water and wastewater services. Payments are made directly to the household’s utility company.
To be eligible for LIHWAP, a household must have at least one U.S. citizen or eligible non-citizen and:
Households can apply through September 30, 2023 or until funds run out.
If eligible, the vendor that provides your water provider will receive a payment in 6-8 weeks from the time your application was approved.
If you suspect fraudulent activity involving Medicaid Providers (doctors, pharmacies, etc.,), you should contact the Program Integrity Section of the North Carolina Division of Medical Assistance. You can reach the Program Integrity Section toll-free by calling the CARE-LINE at 800-662-7030 and asking for the DMA Program Integrity Section.
To report fraudulent activity involving grocers, you should contact the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) at 910-790-2929.
To report recipient fraud in any program, contact the Department of Social Services in which the recipient lives. For New Hanover County Department of Social Services, call 910-798-3500.
Contact the New Hanover County Department of Social Services at 910-798-3500.
Social Security and Medicare are both administered by the Social Security Administration located at 1528 S 16th Street. Social Services administers the Medicaid program.
Child Support Enforcement services are available to anyone who has custody of a minor dependent child regardless of income. Child Support Enforcement can help in location of absent parents, establishment of paternity for children born outside of marriage, establishment of support obligations, collection and distribution of support, and enforcement of support obligations. In New Hanover County, child support is contracted to Young Williams. The office is located at 3309 Jaeckle Drive in Wilmington.
Call 910-343-3355 for an appointment.
Go to the NC Labor website and follow the instructions for completing a Youth Work Permit.
If you are receiving Medicaid and you need assistance getting to medical treatment, call the Transportation Coordinator at 910-798-3500 option 7 or come into the New Hanover County Department of Social Services.
Assistance with transportation to and from work is based on income and availability of funds. You will need to see a social worker in Services Intake. Call 910-798-3500 to make an appointment.
You can call New Hanover County Department of Social Services at 910-798-3500 to make an appointment or you can come to the agency and be seen by a worker on a walk-in basis. A social worker will assess the situation and determine if we can assist you. If you already have a social worker, contact them to make an appointment.
Some opportunities are:
The New Hanover County Department of Human resources accepts applications on behalf of the Department of Social Services. Applications for Economic Services are accepted on an on-going basis and are maintained by the County Department of Human Resources. The Department of Social Services requests applications as vacancies occur.
All other vacancies are advertised. The County Department of Human Resources accepts applications for these vacancies as they occur and forwards them to the Department of Social Services.
You may contact the Department of Human Resources regarding the status of vacancies within the county, including the Department of Social Services. The number is 910-798-7178. New Hanover County also has a "Job Line" number that consists of a recording listing job opportunities within the county. That number is 910-798-7163. You may also visit New Hanover County's website.
The New Hanover County Department of Social Services is located in the Health and Human Services building between 16th and 17th Streets at 1650 Greenfield Street. Some familiar landmarks that are close to our facility are the Wilmington Housing Authority, the Social Security Administration, and the Scottish Rite Temple.
The agency is open Monday, Wednesday through Friday from 8 am to 5 pm and on Tuesday from 8 am to 6 pm.
North Carolina General Statute (NC GS 7B-101) defines what is child abuse and child neglect.
Physical Abuse is defined as any child younger than 18 whose parent, guardian, custodian, or caregiver:
Sexual Abuse is defined as any child younger than 18 whose parent, guardian, custodian, or caregiver commits, permits, or encourages the commission of a violation of the following laws regarding sexual offenses by, with, or upon the child:
Emotional Abuse is defined by any child younger than 18 years whose parent, guardian, custodian, or caregivers creates or allows to be created serious emotional damage to the child. Serious emotional damage is evidenced by a child's severe anxiety, depression, withdrawal, or aggressive behavior toward himself or others.
Neglect is defined by any child younger than 18:
The following may indicate the presence of child abuse or neglect. There are many reasons a child may not want to go home on a particular day or may be overly compliant when they are trying to please a favorite teacher or trusted adult. However, when you have a cluster of two or more of these, this should raise a red flag to at least talk to the child and or parent, or potentially call your Child Protective Services, depending on the circumstances. It is important to remember that issues related solely to poverty are not considered child maltreatment issues.
For the child:
For the parent or other caregiver:
Every child abuse, neglect, and or dependency report that is made to the Department is documented and screened to determine if the allegations meet the legal definition of abuse, neglect, or dependency. The Department can only accept reports that are made against a child's parent, guardian, custodian, or caretaker. If the Department receives a report that meets the criteria of abuse, neglect, or dependency, but it is not against the parents, guardian, custodian, or caretaker, the report is then referred to the appropriate law enforcement entity. If the report does not meet criteria for abuse, neglect, or dependency the Department documents the reasons it does not and the person who made the report will receive a letter. If the allegations meet criteria, then a formal assessment is begun.
Once a report of child abuse, neglect, or dependency has been accepted by the Department, it is then assigned to a social worker to complete an assessment. There are two types of approaches to completing assessments. When the report alleges any type of abuse or serious neglect, it is assigned as an investigative assessment. This is a more forensic approach with families. On abuse cases, the social worker typically has to respond and interview the child and parents or caretakers immediately or within 24 hours of the allegations being reported to the Department. The social worker will work closely with law enforcement during the investigative assessment. When the report alleges neglect, it is assigned as a family assessment. The social worker typically has 72 hours from the time the report is made to the Department to respond to the family. In family assessments, the social worker typically calls the family first to inform them the Department received a report and meets and talks to the family together.
Regardless of whether the report is accepted as an investigative assessment or a family assessment, our most important responsibility in working with families is ensuring that children are safe. In all cases, we develop safety plans with families that identify any safety issues that may be present for the children and make a plan with the family to reduce the risk to the children. All assessments include the social worker observing the environment where the child resides and assessing the child's medical, physical, mental health, educational, and emotional needs. Family input, accessing community and family resources, and safety planning are very important in keeping children safe. The family's cooperation and consent is critical and helps in this process. Our goals are always to keep children safe and keep families together whenever possible.
At the conclusion of our assessments, the Department makes a finding of whether or not abuse, neglect or dependency is present and if continued services through the Department are needed to ensure the safety of the children.
If abuse or neglect, as defined by North Carolina law, is not found, the child protective services case is closed. Child Protective Services would not have further involvement unless another report was received by the Department and screened in for an assessment.
If abuse or neglect, as defined by North Carolina law, is found, the case is then typically transferred to another social worker to work with the family to resolve the issues that led to the abuse and/or neglect. The primary concern continues to be the child's safety and protection. Once a substantiation or finding of services needed is made, then the Department provides what we call CPS In-Home Services. These are legally mandated services and they are considered involuntary services. These are the most intensive services and contacts with the family that is provided by the Department. The goal is to maintain the children safely in the family home. The social worker works with the family to determine what activities need to be completed to reduce risk to the children and ensure safety. One strategy we use in working with families is setting up Child and Family Team Meetings. The goal of these meetings is to assist the family and their support system in making a safe plan for their children. The CPS In-Home social worker coordinates interventions and services that focus on child safety and protection and family preservation. The Department is responsible for making reasonable efforts to maintain the child safely in the home and our goal is always to keep families together, but when safety in the child's own home cannot be assured, the Department is mandated to take immediate action to protect the child. This sometimes leads to placing children outside of the home or in the Department's custody and into foster care. Bringing a child into foster care is used only as a last resort to protect children from serious harm. To place a child into foster care, the Department must file a petition with Juvenile Court alleging abuse, neglect, or dependency.
Anyone can make a report of child abuse and/or child neglect by calling, writing, or visiting the Child Protective Services Unit at the New Hanover County Department of Social Services. You can make a child abuse or neglect report 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
First, we talk about why the person feels that their parent needs to go to a nursing home. Does the mother have the capacity to make decisions for herself? We then talk about the placement process and refer them to the customer service unit to obtain a placement packet.
For more information call 910-798-3719
Smart Start of New Hanover County (SSNHC) can provide you with information on how to select quality child care. They can also put you in touch with the regional resource who can give you a list of potential child care sites that meet your specific needs.
SSNHC can be reached at 910-815-3731 or by visiting 3534 South College Road Suite F Wilmington, NC 28412
The Child Care Subsidy program uses state and federal funds to provide subsidized child care services to eligible families.
You may be eligible to receive child care assistance if:
The Initial Maximum Income Eligibility Limits for Subsidized Child Care Assistance changed on July 01, 2022.
For child care, there are two income limits. One for children 5 and under also all children with special needs, and the other for children 6-12.
200% Federal Poverty Level – used at initial application (All children ages 0-5, and All children with special needs)
Parent Fee Percentage
10% of Maximum Gross Monthly Income
Maximum Gross Monthly Income
133% Federal Poverty Level – used at initial application; (All children ages 6-12, No children with special needs)
Stop by Smart Start of New Hanover County
3534 South College RoadSuite FWilmington, NC 28412
To pick up a free child care licensing packet for potential family child care providers. Smart Start of New Hanover County can also provide you with general information if you are interested in starting a child care center. You may also obtain information at the North Carolina Web Site: https://www.ncdhhs.gov/providers/provider-info/child-care
Contact or visit Smart Start of New Hanover County for free and confidential information and referrals about young children. 910-815-3731
Yes, you can report abuse and neglect anonymously. If you choose to share your name, it is confidential and can only be released by court order.
Parents are responsible for their children until they are 18. We will be happy to review counseling resources with you.
Yes. The State mandates any child, 12 months or older is to be interviewed alone, at every contact, but the social worker.
If any person obstructs or interferes with an investigation, the Director may file a petition requesting an order directing the person to cease obstruction or interference. Obstruction or interference includes refusing to allow the social worker to interview the child in private.
Call New Hanover County Department of Social Services during normal business hours at 910-798-3420. After hours, on weekends and holidays call 911.
When children are abused, they have been seriously hurt, either physically or emotionally. This may also include any type of sexual abuse. When children are neglected, they have not received proper care or supervision. This may include children who do not receive necessary medical attention, who are inadequately fed or clothed, or who are inappropriately disciplined. Neglect also includes children who are left alone for long periods of time. We assess each situation on a case by case basis.
Reporting child abuse or neglect is the first step in protecting children from further harm. If you suspect that a child is being abused or neglected, you should file a report with your local Department of Social Services. If it is an emergency, contact your local law enforcement agency. Your information can be given anonymously, if desired.
The reporter’s name remains confidential unless the department is court-ordered to release that information.
If a child has the capacity for speech, the child must be interviewed, preferably in private and, under no circumstances, in the presence of the person or persons alleged to have caused or allowed abuse or neglect.
Food and Nutrition benefits, also known as the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (SNAP), help low-income individuals purchase food. Authorized Food and Nutrition benefits are placed into an account. The benefits are accessed at authorized merchants using an Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) card.
You may be eligible for Food and Nutrition Services if your total income falls below the appropriate gross income limits for your household size. Eligibility workers determine which income limit applies to your household.
Income Chart (October 2022)
130% MAXIMUM GROSS INCOME LIMIT
200% MAXIMUM GROSS INCOME LIMIT
MAXIMUM BENEFIT ALLOTMENT
Each Additional Member
This federal food assistance program is designed to help eligible low-income households buy the food they need for nutritional meals. Verifications are not required to apply but may be addressed or requested during your interview.
Any food for the household, such as:
Households CANNOT use benefits to buy:
Your EBT benefits will be available on the same day each month according to the last digit of your social security number, even if that day is on a weekend or holiday. Benefits are available on the 3rd day of every month if you do not have a Social Security Number.
If your household is eligible, you will receive your EBT card in the mail. Please be mindful that the cards are mailed from out of state and may take 7-10 mail days to receive.
The toll-free number is 1-888-622-7328 and they are open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. or you can go to www.ebtedge.com or download the ebtEDGE mobile app. the app is available through the Apple Store or Google Play.
You may contact ebtEdge. The toll-free number is 1-888-622-7328 and they are open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. or you can go to www.ebtedge.com or download the ebtEDGE mobile app. the app is available through the Apple Store or Google Play. However, if you need a new EBT card and your address has changed, please contact DHHS at 910-798-5000 option 4.
DSS has the responsibility to work with birth parents and other extended relatives to address safety issues so that children can return home.
The Department does provide monthly assistance to help offset the costs of caring for a child in custody. Foster families use these funds to pay for food, clothing, school supplies, field trips, haircuts and other expenses associated with providing a child a safe and enriching home environment. The amount of assistance varies depending on the age of the child.
In addition to monthly assistance, the Department is involved with several programs which provide funding for children to participate in special activities.
Call us at 910-798-3500 to talk to a foster parent licensing social worker.
We have more children in foster care than we have homes available to care for them.
When a home in New Hanover County is not available, the child must be placed in another county. What that means is a child who has already experienced the trauma of abuse or neglect and then separation from his or her family, must also separate from his/her neighborhood, school, friends, doctors and community. The further a child is from his/her family, the more difficult it is to arrange visits and keep the family connected. We find that even when children have experienced abuse or neglect, most still very much love their family and want to visit parents and siblings.
Of the approximately 300 children in out of home placement, 23% reside with relatives, 38% reside in New Hanover County and 39% reside outside of New Hanover County.
The Department of Social Services has the responsibility to reunite families whenever it is safe to do so. The Department usually works with birth parents toward getting their children back for about a year before pursuing other permanent placement options for the child.
There are times when children cannot return to their parents because of on-going safety issues and there are no other appropriate extended family members to care for the child.
The Department’s first responsibility is to attempt to safely return a child to his/her parents or other family members. If the Department is unable to identify a safe and willing caretaker within the family, we turn to our foster parents to provide a permanent home for the child.
Foster families provide a temporary home for children, who for a variety of reasons including abuse, neglect or dependency cannot remain in the home of their parents or guardian and have entered Department of Social Services (DSS) custody.
Relatives who are providing a home for a child in DSS custody can become licensed as foster parents for that child - provided they meet all of the licensing rules- however, most of the time foster parents are people from the community willing to open their heart and home to a child they do not know.
Although designed to be temporary, there are times when a child is unable to return to his or her birth family and foster parents may adopt the children they've grown to love.
See our FAQs on Adoption from Foster Care for more information.
Just like each child in foster care is unique so is each foster family. Foster families, including relatives who chose to license as foster parents, must complete an in-depth licensing process which includes:
The list is not all inclusive of foster home licensing requirements. Please contact us to learn more about becoming a foster parent. Call us at 910-798-3566 or email the New Hanover Foster Care.
Yes. Department of Social Services supports a philosophy called "Shared Parenting" where foster and birth families work together for the support of a child. Some examples of Shared parenting would be foster and birth parents attending school meetings together, participating in agency meetings and exchanging photographs so that the child feels connected with all the adults in his/her life. Foster parents can be good mentors for birth parents as well. Potential foster parents learn about shared parenting at length during the pre-service training class (MAPP- Model Approach to Partnerships in Parenting).
Adoption files in North Carolina are not open to the public. Only non-identifying information and any health history that might be available can be shared with an adoptee.
The first step in adopting a child is to contact your local Department of Social Services. In New Hanover County, call 910-798-3475 to set up an appointment. A social worker will meet with you to discuss your goals and desires, and will direct you toward the next step in the adoption process
Anyone who is 21 years or older, has a safe home, source of income, and has patience and love for children can apply to become a foster parent. They should contact their local Department of Social Services. In New Hanover County, call 910-798-3566 regarding the application and training process.
The Low Income Energy Assistance Program (LIEAP) is a federally-funded program that provides a one-time vendor payment to help eligible households pay their heating bills. Benefits are paid directly to energy providers who have an approved energy provider agreement on file with the county. Assistance towards your heating provider includes electric, gas, heating oil, coal, and/or wood.
All other households:
There are several factors to be eligible, including gross income limits.
If eligible, the vendor that provides your heating source will receive a payment in 6-8 weeks from the time your application was approved.
Contact the New Hanover County Department of Social Services by calling 910-798-3500 option 4.
Medicaid pays the medical provider directly. No payment is made to the recipient. Persons residing in Adult Care Homes (often called rest homes) may be eligible for a check under the Special Assistance Program to help pay for their monthly cost of care in the home. Clients who qualify for Work First Family Assistance “WFFA” get a check.
Medicaid pays for covered medical and health care services for eligible families with children and for adults who are:
Resources are considered when determining eligibility for most programs. Income limits are based on the federal poverty level and range from 100 to 200% of the federal poverty level depending on the program for which you are eligible.
Call the Primary Health Plan that is on your Medicaid card. If you are not enrolled with a plan, call Social Services at 910-798-3500 option 4.
As defined by Social Security, it is a physical or mental impairment which prevents an individual from engaging in any substantial, gainful activity, and which has lasted or is expected to last for at least 12 months, or is expected to result in death. To apply for disability benefits, you must apply through the Social Security Administration offices, 800-772-1213 or 800-325-0778 (TTY).
Medicaid benefits and eligibility vary according to a person’s circumstances and what Health Plan you are linked to. If you are not linked to a Health Plan you should call the Enrollment Broker to see what your options are based on the Health Plan you choose. https://ncmedicaidplans.gov/enroll/online/find/find-provider?lang=en
If you meet eligibility requirements, Medicaid will pay for some portion of your cost of care in a long term skilled or intermediate care facility as well as medical expenses.
If you receive CAP or are in a long term care facility, estate recovery may apply to you. This means at the time of your death the government may make a claim against your estate to recover the money paid to medical providers on your behalf.
The Crisis Intervention Program (CIP) is a Federally funded program that assists individuals and families who are experiencing a heating or cooling related crisis. A household is considered to be in a crisis if it is currently experiencing or is in danger of experiencing a life threatening or health related emergency and sufficient, timely and appropriate assistance is not available from any other source. Life threatening is defined as a household which has no heating or cooling source or has a disconnect notice for their primary heating or cooling service and the health or well being of a household member would be in danger if the heating or cooling crisis was not alleviated.
Households that meet the following criteria may be eligible:
The Family Support Program is designed to assist with barriers that hinder timely child support payments, family self-sufficiency & active involvement in children’s life. Services for Custodial and Non-Custodial Parents are available. Referrals to the Family Support Program are accepted through Child Support Services, Child Support Court, Self – referrals and other Social Services and Community Programs.
View the Family Support Program Brochure (PDF) to learn more about the Family Support Program.
For more information or to self-refer, contact 910-798-3500
North Carolina’s Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program, called Work First (WF), is based on the premise that parents have a responsibility to support themselves and their children. Work First provides parents with short-term training and other services to help them become employed and move toward self-sufficiency. Families in which grandparents and relatives are caring for their relative children and legal guardians can receive services and support that prevent children from unnecessarily entering the foster care system.
For more information, please call 910-798-3500
To apply, come into the New Hanover County Department of Social Services during regular business hours. Monday, Wednesday - Friday, 8 am to 5 pm, Tuesday, 8 am to 6 pm. or call 910-798-3500 to speak to a case worker.
You can apply: