In times of family crisis, the legal system is there to help people from falling through the societal safety net. For many families, a Child in Need of Protection or Services (or CHIPS) case can be among the most important interactions with the legal system in a lifetime. Even so, many individuals are not aware of what a CHIPS case is, or how it can help them and their loved ones.
CHIPS Cases Can Remove Kids From A Bad Situation, Help Children With Behavior Issues
CHIPS cases come in many forms. Some CHIPS petitions involve child protection or termination of parental rights. These types of cases can remove a child from a very bad situation with a custodial parent. Minnesota family law courts generally favor keeping a parent-child relationship intact whenever possible, so it can be difficult to terminate parental rights. That being said, some of the reasons a Minnesota court may terminate parental rights include:
• Abandonment — lack of contact with children and failure to show interest in them for more than six months absent a good reason
• Neglect — failing to meet the children's needs, such as providing food, clothing, shelter and education, despite an ability to do so
• Egregious harm — the children were seriously injured while under the parent's care
• Serious criminal conviction — a conviction for a crime such as assault against one's children or the killing of a child
CHIPS cases are not just about removing kids from a dangerous situation with caregivers or stopping someone who is not doing his or her job as a parent from potentially harming children. They can also concern kids who need to be placed in some type of program for children offered by the state, like a residential facility for children with severe behavioral problems. Delinquencies for kids younger than 10, voluntary placement cases, runaway cases and truancies all also fall under the category of CHIPS cases.
CHIPS cases may be brought by the social services department of a county or by an individual filing a private CHIPS petition on the behalf of parents or children. Parties in a CHIPS case may include the person or entity that filed the petition, the child's legal custodian, a guardian ad litem and, if the child has American Indian heritage, the applicable tribe.
There may also be participants in the case whose involvement is limited, such as a noncustodial parent, the child, foster parents and other relatives of the child. Although participants have limited power in a CHIPS case, a participant can motion to intervene and become a party in the case.
Ask A lawyer For More Information About A CHIPS Case
If there is a child in your life who needs help, a CHIPS case might be a solution. Very few private law firms are involved in representing individuals in CHIPS cases in Minnesota, but many of those that do have extensive experience. A CHIPS attorney can help ensure that the child in your life gets into a better situation.
Fixing a problem in a child's life is not easy and may be a long process. But setting things right for those you love is the right thing to do. Contact a law firm with CHIPS experience to learn more about what a CHIPS case could do for you.