General Services

Some foster children will never go back to their birth family. We are committed to the principle that every one of these children deserves a "forever family". We have the firm belief that a safe, permanent, and nurturing home can be found for any child who needs one. We also firmly believe that we are responsible for enabling this. Adoption Services are designed to find permanent homes for children and to provide support to the families who adopt them.
Children waiting for adoption include:
Children with special needs, such as physical, mental, and emotional disabilities
Sibling groups and teenagers
Minority children, especially African American males
Many children available for adoption are eligible for monthly maintenance payments, medical benefits, and other services. Adoption Assistance is available for all children whose status and special needs meet certain criteria. Children who are considered special needs include children with physical, mental, developmental, and emotional disabilities as well as sibling groups, older children, and children of color. Moore County Department of Social Services (MCDSS) determines individual eligibility based on specific criteria. We then negotiate with adoptive parents to meet needs through an adoption assistance agreement.
The monthly adoption assistance payment in North Carolina is computed on a graduated level based on the age of the child. This is our current payment structure:
  • $475 - children ages 0 - 5
  • $581 - children ages 6 - 12
  • $634 - children ages 13-18
Supplemental adoption assistance payments for HIV positive children are also available.
North Carolina utilizes an Adoption Exchange program called NC Kids that serves to connect children needing homes to families wanting to adopt. Program Consultants at NC Kids answer inquiries from families interested in the adoption process. NC Kids also continually updates web site to connect waiting children and families. Most of the foster children available for adoption in North Carolina are on the web site, along with a photo and a brief profile about the child or sibling group. The website may be accessed by clicking the Foster Child Adoption link, or from any internet-connected computer at the following address:
If you would like more information about Adoption Services in North Carolina, contact the NC Kids Adoption and Foster Care Network at 1-877 NCKIDS-1 (1-877-625-4371). You may also contact MCDSS at (910)947-2436.
The Adult Services Section offers services such as Adult Protective Services, Adult Placement Services, Guardianship Services (when ordered by the court), and Health Support Services to elderly or disabled adults and their families.
Disabled adults are vulnerable to abuse, neglect, and exploitation. Moore County Department of Social Services receives and evaluates reports to determine whether disabled adults are in need of protective services and what services are needed (as required by Article 6, Chapter 108A of the North Carolina General Statutes).
Moore County DSS protects adults by:
  • Receiving reports and evaluating the need for protective services
  • Planning and counseling with the disabled adult, the family or caregiver to identify, remedy, and prevent problems which result in abuse, neglect, or exploitation
  • Reporting evidence of mistreatment to the District Attorney and various regulatory agencies when appropriate
  • Initiating court action as necessary to protect the adult
  • Mobilizing essential services on behalf of the disabled adult
  • Disabled adults or disabled emancipated minors present in North Carolina who are reported to be abused, neglected, or exploited and in need of protective services are eligible to receive this service without regard to income.
If you have a concern that an elderly or disabled adult is being exploited, abused or neglected or you would like more information about the broad array of services available to older and disabled adults and families in Moore County call us at 910-947-2436.

What is Foster Care?

Foster care is a temporary living arrangement for abused, neglected, and dependent children who need a safe place to live when their parents or another relative cannot take care of them. Often their families face issues such as illness, alcohol or drug addiction, or homelessness.
When Moore County Department of Social Services (MCDSS) believes a child is not safe, and a judge agrees, MCDSS takes custody of that child and finds a foster home for him or her. Length of stay in foster care varies from a few days to much longer.
Foster families are recruited, trained, and licensed to care for abused and neglected children temporarily, while their parents work with social work professionals to resolve their family issues. Relatives may be licensed as foster parents.
The foster family, MCDSS and the birth family work together to return children to their own homes as quickly as possible. In cases where the child becomes free for adoption, foster parents may be considered as adoptive parents.

Who are the children?

Thousands of children in North Carolina enter the foster care system each year, and range in age from infants to 18 years old. All foster children have unique backgrounds, experiences, personalities, strengths and needs.
Some children in foster care require extensive care for physical or emotional handicaps and disabilities.
Some also require help with undisciplined and delinquent behaviors. Most foster children do not have a strong sense of belonging or self-worth. Many have been victims of physical or sexual abuse. All children who are in foster care require special care, support and nurturing.

Who pays for the child's care?

Foster parents receive financial compensation from the placement agency for a child's room, board, and other living expenses. Sometimes there are supplemental payments for the care of children with special needs.
Although the amount of the financial compensation payments may vary from agency to agency and sometimes based on the individual needs of the foster child, the current state recommended rates are as follows:
  • $475 - children ages 0 - 5
  • $581 - children ages 6 - 12
  • $634 - children ages 13 and over

Who can be a foster parent?

Foster parents must:
  • Be at least 21 years old
  • Have a stable home and income
  • Be willing to be fingerprinted and have a criminal records check
  • Maintain a drug-free environment
  • Complete all required training and be licensed by the state of North Carolina
  • To find out more on how to become a licensed foster parent, please contact our office at (910)947-2436. MCDSS can offer information that will help you decide if foster parenting is right for you.

Do foster parents have to be licensed?

Yes, North Carolina state law requires that all foster parents be licensed to care for children in their care. These licenses are issued by the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services. County Departments of Social Services and several private child caring agencies are authorized to work with potential foster parents to assist them with the licensing process and to provide supervision and support for the foster parents.
Potential foster parents receive 30 hours of training. The training covers topics such as child abuse and neglect, working with birth parents, and helping foster children deal with the issues they face. It also helps the potential foster parents think about how parenting another child may affect their family.

How do I become a foster parent?

To find out more on how to become a licensed foster parent you can visit our licensing web page, click on this link to view an orientation video from the state State Foster Parent Orientation, call NC KIDS at 1-877-NCKIDS (1-877-625-4371) or contact MCDSS at (910)947-2436. MCDSS can offer information that will help you decide if foster parenting is right for you.

Helping Teens Make a Successful Transition from Foster Care to Self-Sufficiency

The name of the North Carolina Foster Care Independence Program, NC LINKS, is not an acronym and therefore doesn't "stand" for anything. Instead, it is a word that captures the purposes and intent of the John Chafee Foster Care Independence Act: build a network of relevant services with youth so that they will have ongoing connections with family, friends, mentors, the community, employment, education, financial assistance, skills training, and other resources to facilitate the transition to adulthood.


Older youth and young adults who have experienced extended time in foster care are at increased risk of negative consequences once they leave care, such as dropping out of school, unplanned parenthood, high rates of untreated illness, homelessness, criminal activity, depression and suicide. In order to help these youth and young adults have better outcomes, the NC LINKS program provides services and resources to all youth in foster care age 16 to 18 and to those young adults who are between the ages of 18 and 21 and are participating in a Foster Care to Age 21 Agreement, as well as to young adults who aged out of foster care at age 18 and are not participating in a Foster Care to Age 21 Agreement. For the purposes of this policy, “foster care” means that the youth was in DSS custody as a minor and lived either in a licensed foster care facility or lived with a relative (not the removal home). Moore County Department of Social Services (MCDSS) is required to offer LINKS services to these two populations if we have eligible youth or young adults who are or were in our custody. Counties are strongly encouraged to provide services to youth in foster care ages 13 through 15 and to youth and young adults who were discharged from their custody as teens but prior to their 18th birthday. Youth ages 13-18 who have been discharged from foster care as teenagers may request LINKS services from their local department of social services. Moore County elects to serve youth 13 until their 21st birthday if they were in foster care for even one day!

In order for a youth or young adult to receive LINKS services or funding, he or she must be a willing and active participant in the assessment, planning, and service implementation processes. Youth and young adults who refuse services may later change their minds so long as they are eligible.

The NC LINKS program is comprised of several elements:

  1. An assessment of the youth's strengths as well as their needs for further information and training. The assessment is completed by the youth and his or her caregiver.
  2. A plan that is based on the assessment and which includes the youth/young adult's interests and goals as well as their responsibilities for fulfilling the plan.
  3. Services outlined in the plan which are directed helping the youth or young adult to achieve positive outcomes. Desired outcomes for all young adults exiting the foster care system are:
    • Sufficient income to meet daily needs
    • A safe and stable place to live
    • Sufficient academic and/or vocational training that is in keeping with the youth's goals, interests and abilities
    • Connections to and emotional support from a variety of adults outside of the public child welfare system
    • Avoidance of High Risk Behaviors
    • Postponement of parenthood until emotionally and financially capable of parenting
    • Access to routine mental health, health and dental health care
    • Services are individualized but usually include group activities; participation in community activities that promote maturity; one-on-one instruction; volunteer activities; employment; specific life skills training; exposure to educational and vocational resources, etc.
  4. Funding is provided for program operations based on the number of eligible youth and young adults served by the county. In addition, limited funding is available to reimburse MCDSS for expenditures made on behalf of individual youth and young adults that help to fulfil the purposes of the program.

Undocumented alien youth/young adults and youth/young adults with personal reserves in excess of $10,000 are not eligible for LINKS funds nor can services be provided through the use of LINKS funds. Ineligible youths may participate so long as their participation does not require the use of additional LINKS funds and so long as no LINKS-eligible youth are denied services due to their participation.

If you or someone you know needs this service, please contact our LINKS Coordinator at (910)947-2436.

Economic Services

Affordable Care Act
The Affordable Care Act (sometimes called Obamacare) will require most NC residents without health insurance to obtain insurance by March 31, 2014, or pay a penalty. You may meet this requirement through existing coverage with an employer, a spouse's employer, or a private policy. You may also meet that requirement if you are covered by Medicaid, NC Health Choice, or Medicare.
If you are currently not covered by health insurance, you may find information about purchasing insurance through the Federal Healthcare Exchange, or (in Spanish) They can also be reached by phone: 1-800-318-2596. If you are deaf or hard-of-hearing, you may use the TTY line at 1-855-889-4325. Two private insurance companies, Blue Cross Blue Shield of NC, and Coventry, are providing coverage under the Federal Healthcare Exchange. More information is available from those companies' websites or local agents. Links: Blue Cross Blue Shield and Coventry Insurance
Social Services is not an official "navigator" for the Affordable Care Act, and cannot provide guidance in how to interpret information, submit applications, or discuss tax subsidies associated with the ACA Insurance Marketplace.
Moore County Social Services is only involved in establishing eligibility for Medicaid and NC Health Choice, a State sponsored insurance program for children whose families meet certain income guidelines. NC has not expanded Medicaid, so the eligibility rules for that program remain the same. Medicaid for adults who meet income guidelines - and who are not blind, disabled, and/or elderly - may be limited to family planning services. For additional information about Medicaid and NC Health Choice, click here.
You may now apply for Nutrition Services (Food Stamps), Medicaid, and NC Health Choice through NC ePass. You may also apply for these programs at our office at 1036 Carriage Oaks Drive Carthage, NC 28327.

Emergency Assitance

Families who are experiencing a financial emergency may be eligible for financial help to pay for housing and utilities.

Families that meet the following criteria may be eligible for Emergency Assistance:
  • The family must have a child who lives with a relative as defined for Work First Family Assistance and who meets the age limit for Work First cash assistance.
  • Total income must be at or below 200% of poverty level.
  • Family’s statement is acceptable for citizenship and identity unless it is questionable. If in doubt, request appropriate verification.
Counties may set requirements that are more restrictive than these, but not requirements that are more lenient.
Other assistance programs are available through Work First.
Low Income Energy Assistance Program
The Low Income Energy Assistance Program (LIEAP) is a Federally-funded program that provides for a one-time vendor payment to help eligible households pay their heating bills. Only households containing an elderly person age 60 and above or a disabled persons receiving services through the Division of Aging and Adult Services (DAAS) are eligible to potentially receive benefits from December 1st through December 31st or until funds are exhausted..

Any household can potentially receive benefits from January 1st through March 31st or until funds are exhausted. 

A household that applies must:
  • Have at least one U.S. citizen or non-citizen who meets the eligibility criteria
  • Meet an income test
  • Have reserves at or below $2,250
  • Be responsible for its heating bills
Energy Assistance is important to all that receive it, but more so if someone in your home may especially be at risk for a life threatening illness or death if their home is too cold in the winter.
In addition to the LIEAP program, we also offer assistance through our Crisis Intervention Program. For more information on the Crisis Intervention Program please visit our Crisis Intervention Program page.

Food and Nutrition

Food and Nutrition Services (FNS) is a federal food assistance program that helps low-income families. In North Carolina monthly allotments of FNS benefits are issued via Electronic Benefit Transfer cards (EBT cards). The purpose of Food and Nutrition Services is to end hunger and improve nutrition and health. It helps eligible low-income households buy the food they need for a nutritionally adequate diet.

Food and Nutrition Services is an entitlement program, so all eligible individuals and households can receive assistance. Benefits may be used to purchase most foods at participating stores. They may not be used to purchase tobacco, pet food, paper products, soap products, or alcoholic beverages.
Eligible households must have the opportunity to access benefits no later than thirty days from the date of application. Individuals with special circumstances must have an opportunity to use their benefits within seven days from the date of application.
Applicants must meet the following criteria


All households must meet an income test to receive benefits. Income limits vary by household size.

You *may* be eligible for Food and Nutrition Services if your total income falls below the appropriate gross income limits for your household size. Please be aware that the eligibility workers at your local county Department of Social Services determine which income limit applies to your household and have many other factors to consider in determining if you are eligible.
"Household" size refers to the number in the household who may be eligible for FNS. Individuals who receive SSI, WFFA, or the household contains an aged or disabled individual may have different eligibility requirements.
North Carolina residents can apply for Food and Nutrition services online by using an application called epass.
To apply for Food and Nutrition Services online go to

Each Additional Member

Household Composition

Individuals residing together, but purchasing and preparing their meals separately, may participate in FNS as a separate household. Some individuals must participate in FNS as one household even though they purchase and prepare their meals separately.
Individuals who must participate in FNS as one household are:

  • Individuals living together who purchase/prepare their food together or will do so upon receipt of food assistance
  • Spouses living together or individuals representing themselves as husband and wife to the community
  • Individuals under 22 living with a parent
  • Individuals under 18 under the parental control of an adult living in the home; or
  • Two unmarried adults living in the same home who are parents of a mutual child

Citizenship/Immigration Status

Each member of the FNS household must be a U. S. Citizen or an immigrant admitted to the United States under a specific immigration status. Citizens and eligible immigrants must also meet all other FNS eligibility requirements to receive assistance.
You can choose not to apply for yourself or members of your household and are not required to answer questions about Social Security Numbers (SSNs) and citizenship/immigration information for those you choose not to apply for. For each individual that you are applying for you must provide information about SSNs and citizenship/immigration status. Providing a SSN is required by the Food and Nutrition Act for applicants seeking benefits. We will not share SSNs with INS. We will only use the SSNs you give us to do computer matches and check what you told us with State and Federal Agencies. You must be a United States (U.S.) citizen or an eligible alien and also meet other Food and Nutrition Services rules to get Food and Nutrition Services benefits. We will only contact USCIS to check the immigration status on the household members who give us their immigrant documents. If an applicant does not provide this information, they will be ineligible for benefits.
Household members must provide their financial information because it is needed to determine eligibility for individuals who are applying. Eligible household members who apply will be able to get benefits even though some people in the household are not applying for benefits. The amount of benefits will depend on the number of people requesting benefits.


Some households may be subject to a resource test. For households subject to the resource test the household may have $2,250 in countable resources, such as bank accounts and money in certain retirement accounts. Households may have $3,250 if at least one person is age 60 or older or disabled. Certain resources are not counted, such as homes, buildings, and land. The resources of people who receive Supplemental Security Income (SSI), Work First payments or services, or households that are Categorically Eligible are not countable.
Many women and children in Food and Nutrition Services households are also eligible for food assistance through the
Women, Infant and Children (WIC) program, administered by the NC Division of Public Health.
To learn more about Food and Nutrition Services please visit the United States Department of Agriculture 's web site.
If you have questions or comments please feel free to contact us via email.

Your Rights

You have the right to:


  • Receive an application when you ask for it.
  • Turn in your application the same day you receive it.
  • Receive your Food and Nutrition Services (or be notified that you are not eligible for the program) within 30 days after you turn in your application.
  • Receive Food and Nutrition Services within 7 days if you are eligible for emergency benefits.
  • Have a fair hearing if you disagree with any action taken on your case.

If you have not received your Food and Nutrition Services Benefits within the timeframe described above, please contact your local County Department of Social Services. Contact information for local offices can be found at
If your local office cannot assist you regarding your benefits, contact the NC EBT Call Center at 1-866-719-0141.If you wish to file a Civil Rights program complaint of discrimination, complete the.
USDA Program Discrimination Complaint Form (PDF), found online at, or at any USDA office, or call (866) 632-9992 to request the form. You may also write a letter containing all of the information requested in the form. Send your completed complaint form or letter to us by mail at U.S. Department of Agriculture, Director, Office of Adjudication, 1400 Independence Avenue, S.W., Washington, D.C. 20250-9410, by fax (202) 690-7442 or email at [email protected]. In accordance with Federal Law and U.S. Department of Agriculture policy, this institution is prohibited from discriminating on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, age, religion, political beliefs, or disability. USDA is an equal opportunity provider and employer.


What is Medicaid?
Medicaid is a health insurance program for low-income individuals and families who cannot afford health care costs. Medicaid serves low-income parents, children, seniors, and people with disabilities.
Medicaid is a little different, depending on who you are and your situation.
Who is Eligible for Medicaid?
Medicaid serves low-income parents, children, seniors, and people with disabilities. There are different types of coverage for people with different needs. Income and resource limits for each of these groups vary:
  • Aged, Blind and Disabled
  • Infants, Children and Families
  • Long-Term Care
  • Medicare Recipients
To be eligible for Medicaid, you must also:
  • Be a U.S. citizen or provide proof of eligible immigration status. Individuals only applying for emergency services are not required to provide documentation of immigration status.
  • Live in North Carolina, and provide proof of residency.
  • Have a Social Security number or have applied for one.
You are automatically eligible for Medicaid if you receive any of the following benefits:
  • Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
  • Work First Family Assistance
  • State/County Special Assistance for the Aged or Disabled (Adult Care Home Assistance)
  • Special Assistance to the Blind
To receive Medicaid, you do not have to go through a physical or other type of exam. However, if you are applying because you are disabled, a medical exam may be required. If you are applying for Medicaid because you are pregnant, proof of pregnancy is required.
What Does Medicaid Cover?
Medicaid may help pay for certain medical expenses such as:
  • Doctor Bills
  • Hospital Bills
  • Prescriptions (Excluding prescriptions for Medicare beneficiaries)
  • Vision Care
  • Dental Care
  • Medicare Premiums
  • Nursing Home Care
  • Personal Care Services (PCS), Medical Equipment, and Other Home Health Services
  • In-home care under the Community Alternatives Program (CAP)
  • Mental Health Care
  • Most medically necessary services for children under age 21.
North Carolina’s Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program, called Work First, is based on the premise that parents have a responsibility to support themselves and their children. Through Work First, parents can get short-term training and other services to help them become employed and self-sufficient, but the responsibility is theirs, and most families have two years to move off Work First Family Assistance.
Work First emphasizes three strategies:
1. Diversion: Keeping families off welfare by helping them cope with unexpected emergencies or setbacks.
Under Work First, qualifying families can get a one-time payment equivalent to up to three months worth of cash Work First benefits, based on a needs assessment by the county worker, Medicaid, child care and Food and Nutrition Services, if eligible, and other supportive services.
2. Work: Shortening the length of time that families are on Work First Family Assistance by making work mandatory and by limiting how long a family can receive cash assistance.
To receive Work First Family Assistance benefits, parents must register for work with NC Works, sign a Mutual Responsibility Agreement (MRA) and, once they move into the work components of the program, they can continue to receive benefits for up to 24 months. In most cases, families who have reached the 24-month limit cannot receive Work First Family Assistance for three years.
3. Retention: Helping families to stay off public assistance by encouraging them to save and by helping to make sure they really are better off working than on welfare.
Work First increased limits on savings and vehicles, and the state legislature raised income eligibility limits for subsidized child care to ease the burden on low-income, working families. To help families stay employed, counties are also providing services to families whose income is at or below 200 percent of poverty.
Ultimately, North Carolina’s goal is to help all families move to self-sufficiency. Most will make it all the way; some, because of hardship or disability, will have a harder time.
North Carolina's success thus far at helping families move from cash assistance to work has led to a broadened focus for the Work First Program. No longer is the focus just on helping those families who receive cash assistance move off the rolls. While we remain committed to continuing our assistance to those families, we have added the flexibility and program structure for counties to provide former Work First families with job retention and child and family enrichment services designed to help ensure families' long-term success. Further, since child support is critical to ensuring families' success, we have expanded the Work First Program to allow counties to provide work-related services to non-custodial parents of Work First children.
Further, ensuring the safety and well-being of children is of utmost concern. Toward that end, North Carolina has taken advantage of the opportunity offered by the TANF Block Grant to enhance our efforts in this area.
Work First Benefits (WFB)
Effective October 1, 2009, the Work First program implemented a new process for issuing Work First cash assistance. This process is called Work First Benefits (WFB). All adults who are included in the assistance payment must have a Mutual Responsibility Plan of Action agreement that requires the individuals to work or participate in work-related activities. These adults must complete all of the requirements on their agreement each month before receiving Work First cash assistance, unless there is a good cause.
Work First Benefits mirrors the working world, where individuals “work first” and receive payment for employment afterwards. Work First Benefits was piloted in six (6) counties in which they were successful in improving North Carolina’s Work First participation rate. Work First participation rates are required by federal standards and can affect funding for Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF).
The North Carolina Division of Social Services worked with various agencies for more than a year to assist counties in preparing for the implementation of WFB. Work First will continue to practice family centered principles to ensure that services are provided to families in need.

Daycare Information

Subsidized child care was established to assist parents with the cost of child care. It is a program funded with both State and Federal dollars.

Parent/Responsible Adult
In order to qualify for subsidized child care, the parents or responsible adults must meet the program’s income guidelines and must have a recognized need for child care. They must also be a resident of the county in which they apply. The child care subsidy program can assist parents with the cost of child care for children ages 0-12.
Child care recognized needs:

  •         Employment (FT/PT)
  •         Education/Training
  •         Child Protective Services
  •         Developmental Needs
  •         Child Welfare Services

There are currently more than 90-licensed child care centers and homes in Moore County that participate in the child care subsidy program.  Child care facilities in North Carolina are rated with a Five Star License system based on how well they are doing in providing quality child care. Parents can obtain a child care provider’s star rating by checking the listing of providers on the Division of Child Development’s website

Please find below some frequently requested forms for your convenience:

Daycare Waiting List Form

DSS-8113 Wage Form

Income Limits


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