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(CityRegions.Com, December 11, 2017 ) Most of the time child abuse is perpetrated by the people that are closest to them. This is perhaps the clearest rationale for the establishment of the CHINS system. CHINS stands for a child in need of services, defined as a child who is under eighteen years who is not getting the kind of care they should be.
CHINS also covers children that are abused or neglected.
Here are some of the types of cases that fall under CHINS;
Children endangered by something parents either did or did not do
Child living in a home where there are illegal drugs
Child who is a danger to themselves and others
Victim of sexual abuse
Born with disorders as a result of the parents drinking or taking alcohol during pregnancy
The field of CHINS can be complicated, some of the typical cases that one would think would fall under this are might not. For example, many people tend to think that when a child is a victim of a sex offense by a neighbor, they might not necessarily fall under CHINS. Typically, the child in need of services tag is for situations where the child does not get services or care that they should be receiving from their parents in their home environment. It could be that the parent are either unwilling or unable to provide the care, or cannot give it without a court order. The general goal of any CHINS proceeding is to protect the child or children. Proceedings are not criminal, so the parents cannot go to jail or be fined. However, the parents might have to pay some treatment costs, etc. It is important to realize that child abuse is a very serious offense that is punishable by law. In some cases, it is possible to have a CHINS case for the child and a separate abuse case against the parent.
When a case is filed under the Child in Need of Services, there normally are several hearings involved. In the initial hearing, one can liken this to the arraignment in a normal hearing. At this hearing, the child’s parent either admits or refutes the charges that have been brought on them. The results of this trial generally determine the direction that the rest of the case takes. If one admits guilt, the judge then schedules a dispositional hearing. If the parent refutes the claims, then a fact finding hearing is scheduled.
The fact finding hearing is civil in nature, and is conducted in front of a judge but without a jury. At this hearing, the office of family and children will try to prove that the abuse is more likely to have happened than to not have happened. If the office of family and children meets this burden of proof, then the case continues. If not, then the case is dismissed. The dispositional hearing is where the court decides what steps should be taken regarding the child, and what services are required to help the child and their parents. The goal is to get the family back together.
Here are some of the possible scenarios that might happen during the dispositional hearing;
The court might order child supervision by the OFC
The court could order that the child receive outpatient treatment
It might award the wardship of the child to any individual or agency
Order the parents to pay for some or all of the costs of caring for the kids
Completely or partially emancipate the child
Remove the stewardship of the child from their parents, and place them in a foster home, a shelter or any other therapeutic care facility.
According to the law, every CHINS law has to be reviewed after six months, a review that is referred to as a placement review hearing. Here, courts consider reports from professionals and experts, and decide what happens to the child, whether they should be returned home, emancipated, given up for adoption or placed with a legal guardian.
Are you embroiled in a CHINS case? Laws that surround child service cases are clear, but a parent is entitled to have representation in a CHINS case. There is a lot involved when such a case is filed, work which can only effectively be done by a qualified and experienced lawyer. To learn more contact divorce lawyer and family law attorney Christina L. Maas @ www.christinamaas.com.
Christina L. Maas
Christina L. Maas