Kate Martin

Union County Public Schools

More than 60% of North Carolina’s student population attends school in a district that started the fall quarter with remote-only instruction. But some county school districts, including Buncombe, Onslow, Gaston, Union and Harnett decided to start the new school year under Plan B, which provides partial in-person instruction.

As an investigative reporter for Carolina Public Press, Kate Martin has been persistently reporting on the COVID-19 pandemic in North Carolina for months.  She’s determined to uncover the answers to questions others are not asking and hold officials accountable. 

As she’s pressed on with her reporting, Martin has been grappling with personal hardship. Her father passed away in late May.

On this episode of the Politics Podcast from WUNC, Martin discusses the grind of reporting in a crisis, her father’s death, and a recent public moment when her family and profession collided.


Frank Taylor/Carolina Public Press

In North Carolina it is unlawful to separate a child from a biological parent without the oversight of a judge. But in Cherokee County, a grand jury has indicted at least three current and former Department of Social Services officials for allegedly doing just that. 

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.