County child welfare workers hold signs as they march through Beaufort on Thursday to raise awareness of child abuse in recognition of April as Child Abuse Prevention Month. (Cheryl Burke photo)


BEAUFORT — Wearing T-shirts that stated “No excuse for child abuse” about 50 people involved with child welfare services walked through the streets of the community Thursday.

Many of those walking and carrying child abuse prevention signs were employees of the County Department of Social Services, which sponsored the walk in recognition of April being Child Abuse Prevention Month. They were joined by employees and volunteers from the Carteret County Children’s Advocacy Center and the Carteret County Guardian ad Litem program.


County Department of Social Services child welfare program manager Kody Krebs speaks to county child welfare workers Thursday during a Child Abuse Prevention ceremony on the steps of the county courthouse in Beaufort. (Cheryl Burke photo)

Prior to the walk, workers gathered on the county courthouse steps for a brief ceremony, including a moment of silence for abused children. They then planted pinwheels, the symbol of child abuse prevention, in front of the courthouse.

During the ceremony, Kody Krebs, child welfare program manager for DSS, said, “Too often we think that the responsibility of raising healthy and safe children solely falls on the parent or caregiver alone. In reality it takes each of us, and we all benefit when we work together. Even while children and families continue to face unprecedented stress and risk during the pandemic, we know that maltreatment is preventable.”


A county child welfare worker places a pinwheel, a symbol of child abuse prevention, in front of the county courthouse in Beaufort on Thursday as part of a ceremony recognizing April as Child Abuse Prevention Month. (Cheryl Burke photo)


He further pointed out that over the last 12 months, DSS has accepted about 700 reports of child maltreatment, with more than 80% of those for neglect. There are currently 70 children in foster care, and that number has gone as high as 90 over the last year.

Mr. Krebs said child welfare is currently serving nearly 60 families in the in-home services program, which may involve multiple children per family that are at risk of being removed from their homes if safety issues are not remedied.


County Department of Social Services social worker Makenzie King reads Gov. Roy Cooper’s proclamation declaring April as Child Abuse Prevention Month during a ceremony Thursday on the steps of the county courthouse in Beaufort. (Cheryl Burke photo)

With “Growing Better Together,” the theme of Child Abuse Prevention Month for 2022, Mr. Krebs thanked child welfare workers for making a difference.

“I have witnessed the vast support and dedication that each of you show to our children and families here in Carteret County, and I am proud to stand with you today,” he said.

Tracey Brenneman, district administrator for the Guardian ad Litem program, also encouraged workers to continue to make a difference.

“We are better together, and we are making a difference for families,” she said. “We’re even better when we do things together like this that raise awareness and show we care about children.”

DSS social worker Makenzie King then read Gov. Roy Cooper’s proclamation that declares April 2022 Child Abuse Prevention Month.


Holding signs that raise awareness regarding child abuse, county child welfare workers march through Beaufort on Thursday in recognition of April as Child Abuse Prevention Month. (Cheryl Burke photo)

For more information about preventing child abuse and neglect before it begins, visit Prevent Child Abuse North Carolina online at preventchildabusenc.org.

Those needing to report suspected abuse or neglect can call DSS at 252-728-3181 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. After hours, on weekends and holidays, call the County Communications Center at 252-726-1911.

Contact Cheryl Burke at 252-726-7081, ext. 255; email Cheryl@thenewstimes.com; or follow on Twitter @cherylccnt

(16) comments

Doc Epoch

In the past year, there were 700 reports of maltreatment with 80% of those for neglect…hmmm, what could have contributed to this enormous amount of reporting? Has anyone in our local government reflected on the common denominator here because this is being seen across the country.

Child abuse awareness is necessary in this community because it’s rampant but DSS/NCDHHS need to first conduct some self awareness themselves. Their support and forced participation in the draconian lockdowns, mandates, and isolation of children directly contributed to the increase in child abuse, drug/alcohol use, and suicide in our community. The evidence is all there.

Furthermore, hundreds of parents protested at school board meetings in 2020/2021 against the lockdown of children during COVlD because all of this was already being seen but it didn’t matter how much our children begged and pleaded, we were ignored and told to call “our legislatures in Raleigh if we had a complaint”

Did DSS attend or take into account what the community was saying back then? Nope. Our protests never received this kind of attention. If our protests were organized and supported by the local media and health department maybe things would have been different for our children. Maybe Carteret Times can ask NCDHHS and the county’s DSS to give their assessment on the effects of their forced isolation mandates on the community. I’ll wait with bated breath for their response and your coverage.


Please don’t hold your breath, Doc.

The NCDHHS was headed by Dr. Mandy, who reported to Governor Coop. They were the primary folks responsible for lockdowns, mandates, and isolation of our children.

Our local DSS falls under the umbrella of the NCDHHS.

Carteret County DSS won’t offer any support against the Elites in Raleigh. Unlike my grocery store clerk, the DSS went mostly virtual in 2020 and 2021 and never missed a paycheck.

Doc Epoch

Yep and God bless your grocery store clerk, definitely an essential worker and an asset

to our community. NCDHHS/DSS, not so much.

David Collins

To busy organizing marches with signs and planting pinwheels ?


700 reports, without the context of how many in prepandemic years, that number is fairly meaningless as far as blaming covid, dr mandy and the Gov. As always any opening to bash the dems has a few eager participants.

To read the comments one would think children were chained to a wall and only released to be fed a daily bowl of gruel. Now when driving around the county did you not see kids playing together anywhere or at any time? I certainly saw them in our neighborhood, in the park, at the walmart, at food lion. Snapchatting away, and generally just being kids. Isn't that what actually happened? Or is the local rewriting of history complete?

Doc Epoch

A simple Google search like “child abuse increase during lockdowns” will give you a bunch of articles, discussions, and studies to review. Maybe Mrs. Burke could further investigate or ask for the five year total/trend of child abuse cases in the county so we can compare to pandemic levels and explore what’s being seen nationally, locally.

I know its “fringe” or triggering for some but the truth still stands, the lockdowns didn’t work and it caused a lot of harm to kids. With the messaging we’ve heard for two years straight, it’s understandable that some will never accept this fact but that’s okay. The courts will have to determine liability at this point. Seriously, why would anyone trust our health department especially when their focus this month is “racism is a health emergency”. Haha.

If you’re interested, there’s an active court case in NC that you can follow as well that’s holding the School Board and County Commissioners responsible because they do not have the legal authority to mandate anything. Who knows what will happen but watch Iredell County.

Those are good starting points for you to start your own research, unless you want to continue to use your anti-Science method of making blanketed assumptions based upon personal observation of children and their SnapChat use. Good luck 👍 , we look forward to hearing your findings.



Stop ignoring facts, our local DSS and DHSS and Mandy are responsible for making bad decisions. These bad decisions had major negative impacts with children in the last 2 years.


Not seeing facts, just opinions. End of grade testing quoted in this paper said slightly worse, not disasterously worse. Is anyone going to quote an actual fact, like neglect cases from prepandemic to compare? Fact is my yard still had kids in it, kids coming and going, those are facts I observed, eog testing is facts. The vauge comments are opinions. Glad to hear some actual facts.. I don't doubt there are cases of mental illness and injury related to pandemic, if you have facts to support that it was universal, widespread, and applies to the vast majority, I would be glad to consider them. U tube videos, and opinions obviously are not what I am talking about.

Doc Epoch

June 14, 2021 – The North Carolina Healthcare Association (NCHA), along with 11 statewide organizations, sent a letter today to Governor Roy Cooper, Senate President Pro Tempore Phil Berger and Speaker of the House Tim Moore stating that behavioral health in North Carolina has reached a state of emergency.

The rate of kids in the emergency room because of a behavioral health concern nearly doubled in 2020. By December, the rate of emergency room discharges for pediatric patients with a behavioral health condition had increased by 70 percent over the prior year, according to the NCHA’s patient data system.

David Collins

Perhaps this blaming crowd has darned good reasons to cast the blame where it deserves to land . In my eyes it all was , still is and could be again a bit heavy handed . A true fortune was and still is being wasted on misguided efforts to ease the pain , be it real , imagined or contrived . Government at it’s worst and most inept . Can not in my wildest dreams imagine if a real tragedy struck and what would ensue . Perhaps that explains the sudden growth of bomb proof bunkers favored by some of the wealthy .

The grossly embellished descriptions referenced , kids in chains or perhaps border patrol agents on horseback using whips on illegals , were for dramatic effect for everyone likes drama these days . That is why they watch CNN , MSNBC , THE VIEW , Maxine Waters and any other Jerry Springer like shows . A squeaky wheel and grease thing even though too much requires that wheel to be replaced , like it or not .

700 reports does not necessarily equate to 700 charged , found guilty and convicted .

Bashing the opposition has always been in favor . Comes with the territory .


I note you only mentioned one side of the media drama machine, do you think fox oann and talk radio et al are less melodramatic?

Personally, on the rare occasions I see either cnn or fox, I find the right goes all out on righteous indignation, and the left on snarky superiority, with some overlap into each other's modus operandi.


For the study, researchers analyzed data on more than 39,000 children treated at nine pediatric trauma centers between March and September of last year. Of these, 2,064 were victims of suspected child abuse.

Among children aged 5 and older, the number of child abuse victims tripled to 103, up from an average of 36 during a similar period before the pandemic,

So child abuse in this study tripled, sounds horrific, and any abuse certainly is.

What are the actual numbers ? Of 2064 kids 106 were confirmed to have been abused compared to 36 prepandemic.

Yes that is 3x prepandemic, but is that what any rational person would call widespread. My math suggests that is 5 % meaning that 95% were found not to have been abused. Stressors bring out underlying conditions. The pandemic has been a stressor on everyone. To suggest all or most children were " damaged" by the pandemic is not bore out by this particular study, the local eog testing, or my personal observations.

Now can someone explain why the usa has the highest death rate from covid of 1st world. And exceedsmany 3rd world nations as well? Hint rights vs responsibilities

David Collins

Researchers , there are hundreds of thousands of them these days . Anyone that does an internet search can be referred to as a researcher . Sadly , this is one more word that has lost it’s meaning . Kind of like the word expert . Write a book on something and poof , another expert is born .

All the news networks have taken on the opinion show format to the demise of actual news . And I mean all . It is what pays the bills .

The USA , being a rich nation , population has fallen into the usual trap that goes with being rich . Complacency , over consumption of unhealthy foods , over dependence on pills for relief from you name it and just plain laziness . Pretty much the perfect recipe for a weaker immune system .

Child abuse , a term that describes different things to different people . Beating your child bl**dy , starving and isolation are truly valid descriptions . Then there are those that say not allowing your child to access the internet , social media , have the latest trendy clothes , allow then to chose if they are a male or female and act on it before graduating from high school , and so forth , is child abuse . These so-called therapists are a large part of the problem as well .

All of the above come under the heading of self inflicted .


Dramatic percentages garner headlines. In the study I quoted( FROM US NEWS AND WORLD REPORT) abuse had tripled, tripled being 106 out of 2060. As I said. The majority of ppl have been stressed by the pandemic, underlying conditions appear under stressors. Folks with an axe to grind about masks or lockdowns or vaccines are not objective.

If the number is 3 a 100% increase is 6. You always see the 100% increase, the 6 not so much.


I see lots of defense, Drew. Even 1 more abuse case is too many. Spin the numbers any way you want.


"Enormous amount", " rampant" tell us again about spin? In the media " if it bleeds it leads" In real life actual facts lead to fact based conclusions and response. Hype leads to bad decisions, over reaction and wasted resources that could well be utilized elsewhere. To quote Jack Webb " just the. Facts mamn"

God help us when something truely deady and contagious comes along.

Welcome to the discussion.

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