CHIPS actions are court cases involving the health, safety, and welfare of children. CHIPS claims attempt to protect children and to deliver services so they can be safe at home. They may also ensure that children who cannot be home are safe in foster care. If services do not resolve the issues, the court may permanently remove a child from the care of their parents and terminate parental rights. It is always advisable to be represented by an attorney if you have been accused of child abuse or neglect.
Anyone can file a CHIPS petition. Reasons include:
- child protection related to neglect or abuse
- delinquencies of children under the age of 10-years-old
- voluntary placement cases
- permanency through the transfer of permanent legal and physical custody to a relative
- termination of parental rights
The Process of a Child Protection Case
Every child has the right to be safe, educated, provided for physically, medically, and emotionally. The goals of a CHIPS case are to provide a child with the support and protection they need to maintain these fundamental rights, preferably while reunifying the family. This is best achieved when the county and the child’s family work together, although often, a CHIPS case will involve other parties and participants.
A party is anyone directly involved in the action. This can include the agency or person filing the petition, the child’s legal guardian/custodian, and anyone who intervenes as a party. Participants have limited involvement. If they become more invested, they can become a party once the judge grant’s the request (although the judge can also deny it. If you are the noncustodial parent, family member, or close friend of the child involved in a CHIPS case, you must assert any rights you may have to participate in the process early in the case. These rights may include requesting placement of the child with you, the ability to participate in hearings, and to be provided with other updates regarding the case.
If an inspector determines that a child is in danger, the child can be removed from the home for up to 72 hours (not including weekends and holidays). They will attempt to have the child stay with a relative. If the court removes your child from your home, it is crucial to give the authorities the name and contact information of your nearest relative. During these 72 hours, the court will notify you of a placement hearing. It is essential to attend this hearing, accompanied by an attorney. At the hearing, the judge will ask you to admit or deny any allegations of abuse or neglect. Your attorney can advise you about how to respond. There are severe consequences to abuse and neglect so it is essential to have proper legal representation.
Once a child is in foster care, parents have one year to ensure it is safe for their child to return home by resolving any issues that must be addressed. This will involve complying with a court-ordered case plan. If the parents don’t do this, CHIPS may initiate a permanency case. This could include termination of parental rights of one or both parents and may provide the child with a new legal guardian who can provide protection and any needed services.
If a CHIPS petition has been filed against you, don’t take any chances. It is essential to have proper legal representation on your side. Contact White & Associates today!