Legal Protections For Vulnerable Children
Minnesota courts generally recognize the authority of parents and legal guardians to make decisions on behalf of their children. Courts must at the same time consider the best interests of the child, however, and the law can intervene when courts determine that parents and guardians are putting the child at risk.
Cases that involve the health, safety and welfare of children are categorized as Child in Need of Protection or Services, or CHIPS, cases. As the name suggests, these cases are meant to protect the child, and they often arise from allegations that a child has been abused or neglected. Runaway children may also be considered CHIPS cases.
Coodin & Overson, PLLP, is a Woodbury, Minnesota, law firm that helps people with a variety of issues in family law and related fields, including CHIPS cases and domestic violence. These are difficult cases, and the firm takes great care ensuring that the best interests of the child are met, while the rights of everyone involved are respected.
How CHIPS Cases Work
CHIPS cases begin with an investigation by a social services agency at the county level. If the agency determines that a child needs protection or services, it gets approval from the county attorney and files a petition with the court. The court then issues a summons and notice of hearing to the affected parties and the participants.
The participants are generally the child, the noncustodial parent, foster parents or relatives. The parties may include the child’s legal custodian, the agency requesting the hearing and a guardian ad litem, who is a lawyer appointed by the court to represent the child. Typically, the parties do the work in a CHIPS hearing, and participants must petition the court to intervene.
Lawyers For CHIPS Cases
Cases involving children and parental rights are extremely sensitive for everyone involved. Courts look for powerful evidence of abuse or neglect before they will intervene in a legal custodian’s rights with regard to raising his or her child.
Still, every parent and child has rights, and these rights must be respected. Whatever your position may be — as a child, a relative, a parent or other party — if you care about someone who is involved in a CHIPS dispute, it can be crucial to speak to an attorney who has experience in these difficult cases.