CHINS (Children in Need of Services) Children

An CHINS child is one who is:

  • Subject to compulsory school attendance and is habitually and without justification truant from school
  • Habitually disobedient of the reasonable and lawful commands of the child's parent, guardian, or other custodian and is ungovernable
  • Has committed an offense which is applicable only to a child
  • Deserts the child's place of abode without just cause and without the consent of the child's parent or legal custodian
  • Wanders or loiters about the streets of any city, or in or about any highway or any public place, between the hours of 12:00 midnight and 5:00 am
  • Disobeys the terms of supervision contained in a court order which has been directed to such child, who has been adjudicated as a CHINS
  • Patronizes any bar where alcoholic beverages are being sold, unaccompanied by such child's parent, guardian, or custodian, and is in need of supervision, treatment, or rehabilitation in any of the foregoing

Beginning an CHINS Case

CHINS cases begin by a person filing a complaint with the court alleging that the child has committed a status offense. The child may or may not be placed in the Youth Detention Center. The Juvenile Court intake officer will investigate the case and determine whether it is in the child's interest to file a formal petition or may decide to divert the case or dismiss it. If a petition is filed it will be given to the child and parent. The case will be scheduled for an arraignment hearing at which the child and the child's parent or guardian will be advised of the child's rights by a judge.

A guardian ad litem will be appointed for the child. The child may then be asked whether the child admits or denies the petition (unless the child elects to remain silent). If the child denies the petition or remains silent, the case will be scheduled for a trial at a later date. If the child admits the petition the court may dispose of the case at that time or may refer the child to a probation / intake officer and schedule the disposition hearing at a later time.

Status offenders are subject to any disposition allowed by law, including commitment to the Department of Juvenile Justice for a period of two years.