Kate Martin

Picture of the Cherokee County courthouse
Frank Taylor / Carolina Public Press

For more than a decade, Cherokee County Department of Social Services (DSS) workers took children from their parents with no judicial oversight, using a fraudulent document called a Custody and Visitation Agreement, or CVA.

Illustration of a diverse group of women and one man on a North Carolina outline.
Illustration by Mariano Santillan / Courtesy of Carolina Public Press

North Carolina seeks to close antiquated loopholes in sexual assault laws and add more protections for child abuse victims.

Image of Cherokee County Courthouse
J. Stephen Conn / Flickr, Creative Commons

For years, the Cherokee County Department of Social Services illegally removed dozens, and potentially even hundreds, of children from their homes. Instead of seeking an official court order from a judge, DSS workers instead instructed numerous families to sign custody and visitation agreements (CVAs) to authorize removal of their children.

Courtesy of Carolina Public Press

Fewer than a quarter of people charged with sexual assault in North Carolina from 2014-2018 were convicted of a sex-related crime. That is according to a new analysis from 11 news organizations in North Carolina, led by Carolina Public Press. The reporting also identifies big disparities in conviction rates from one county to the next.