CHILD PROTECTION: HOW DO I RESPOND WHEN FACED WITH A PETITION FOR CHILD(REN) IN
NEED OF PROTECTION AND SERVICES?
Child(ren) in Need of Protection or Services “CHIPS” matters are brought in juvenile court in Minnesota and are governed by the Rules of Juvenile Protection Procedure. The proceedings typically involve children removed or at risk of removal from the care of their parent(s) by the county due to serious and often complex allegations including child neglect and abuse.
Why is Child Protection calling me?
If you receive a call from child protection, it likely received a report of child abuse and/or neglect. In Minnesota, counties and tribes evaluate approximately 25,000 reports received each year of children being abused and neglected.
What should I do when I receive a call from Child Protection?
Child protection is likely contacting you to request an interview and obtain information. Before talking with child protection and agreeing to move forward with an interview, we recommend that you consult our attorneys at Dudley and Smith. Depending on the nature of the allegations, interviews can be combined with both child protection investigators and police detectives. The interviews are recorded and statements made in the interviews can be used to bring criminal charges against a parent.
What Is a Child Protection investigation?
If the county gets a report of neglect, maltreatment, child abuse and/or serious threats involving a child, it does an investigation to determine whether child maltreatment occurred and whether protective services are needed. During the investigation, the child protection worker conducts interviews to gather information to use in determining the next steps.
What is a Petition for Child in Need of Protection and Services “CHIPS”?
After investigation by the child protection worker(s) and approval by the county attorney’s office that there is sufficient evidence that child(ren) are in need of protection and services, the county attorney may file a CHIPs petition against the parent(s). If the county attorney files a CHIPs petition, the county attorney is asking the court to rule that child(ren) are in need of protection or services. To adjudicate child(ren) in need of protection or services, the county must prove, by clear and convincing evidence, the existence of one of the statutory child protection grounds and that the child(ren) need protection or services as a result.
What are the legal reasons for finding that children are in need of protection and services?
The reasons why a court may determine that a child is in need of protection and services include:
(1) Abandonment: The child(ren) are abandoned or without parent, guardian, or custodian.
(2) Abuse: the child(ren) have been victim(s) of or have resided with a victim of child abuse, physical abuse, or sexual abuse.
(3) Neglect – necessities: the child(ren) are without necessary food, clothing, shelter, education, or other required care due to the parent(s) being unable or unwilling to provide that care.
(4) Neglect – special care: the child(ren) are without the special care made necessary by a physical, mental, or emotional condition due to the parent(s) being unable or unwilling to provide that care.
(5) Neglect – medical care: the child(ren) do not receive proper medical care.
(6) Parent’s wishes: the parent(s) desire to be relieved of caring for the child(ren).
(7) Adoption placement: the child(ren) have been placed for adoption or care in violation of law.
(8) Parent’s inability to parent: the child(ren) are without proper parental care due to the parent’s emotional, mental, or physical disability, or state of immaturity.
(9) Injurious Environment: the child(ren)’s behavior, condition, or environment is such as to be injurious or dangerous to the child(ren) or others.
(10) Parental neglect: the child(ren) are experiencing growth delays diagnosed by a physician as being a result of parental neglect.
(11) Sexual exploitation: the child(ren) are sexually exploited.
(12) Delinquent acts/petty offenses: the child(ren) have committed a delinquent act or a juvenile petty offense before becoming ten (10) years old.
(13) Runaway: the child(ren) runaway.
(14) Truancy: the child(ren) are habitually truant.
(15) Incompetence: the child(ren) have been found incompetent to proceed or have been found not guilty by reason of mental illness or mental deficiency in connection with a specified proceeding.
(16) Prior involuntary termination: the child(ren) have a parent whose parental rights to one or more children were involuntarily terminated or transferred.
What is a case plan?
If the judge agrees that the county has shown the child(ren) are in need of protection and services, a case plan is made. The case plan gives the parent(s) the opportunity to fix the problems that the court says need to be fixed so the child(ren) can be in their parents’ care and custody. If parents do not follow a case plan or comply with remedying the problems, the county may file a new petition asking to terminate the parents’ rights.
How long does a case plan last?
If child(ren) are under the age of eight, the parent(s) have six months to resolve the problems raised by child protection by meeting the requirements set forth in the case plan. For children over the age of eight, parent(s) have one year to resolve issues. The county may attempt to terminate parental rights if the conditions that gave rise to the petition for termination of parental rights are not remedied or if there is egregious harm alleged.
The lawyers at Dudley and Smith will work with you and child protection to develop a clear and comprehensive case plan to restore and reunify your family. We will advise you in effectively implementing and completing the case plan.
Should I Get a Lawyer to represent me in a child protection matter?
Dudley and Smith’s skilled attorneys will represent you at all stages of the child protection matter, from handling the initial call from child protection to complying with child protection’s requests for information, interviews, assessments and evaluations. We are experienced in litigating the cases at trial where it is questionable whether the county will be able to prove by clear and convincing evidence the petition for child in need of protection and services and/or petition for termination of parental rights.
Contact Us If you are in need of assistance and representation in a child protection matter, contact Dudley and Smith, P.A. Our firm has skilled and compassionate attorneys, including Debbie Gallenberg, who can walk you through your legal options.
The law is continually evolving and Dudley and Smith, P.A.’s blog posts should not be relied upon as legal advice, nor construed as a form of attorney-client relationship. Postings are for informational purposes and are not solicitations, legal advice, or tax advice. A viewer of Dudley and Smith, P.A.’s blog should not rely upon any information in the blog without seeking legal counsel.