Office of Juvenile Court

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Office of Juvenile Court

Administrator: Lisa Tremblay

CHILD IN NEED OF SERVICES (CHINS)

This Court proceeding asks the Judge, or Court Commissioner, for help with children who will placed outside of the home.

Before a CHILD IN NEED OF SERVICES petition can be filed, the following situation must exist:

The child must be under 18 years old.

And, per RCW 13.32A.030(5)(a-c)

(5) "Child in need of services" means a juvenile:

(a) Who is beyond the control of his or her parent such that the child's behavior endangers the health, safety, or welfare of the child or other person;
(b) Who has been reported to law enforcement as absent without consent for at least twenty-four consecutive hours on two or more separate occasions from the home of either parent, a crisis residential center, an out-of-home placement, or a court-ordered placement; and

(i) Has exhibited a serious substance abuse problem; or
(ii) Has exhibited behaviors that create a serious risk of harm to the health, safety, or welfare of the child or any other person; or

(c)

(i) in need of:

(A) Necessary services, including food, shelter, health care, clothing, or education; or
(B) services designed to maintain or reunite the family;

(ii) Who lacks access to, or has declined to utilize, these services; and
(iii) Whose parents have evidenced continuing but unsuccessful efforts to maintain the family structure or are unable or unwilling to continue efforts to maintain the family structure.

If the Judge, or Court Commissioner, finds that the child is a CHILD IN NEED OF SERVICES, based on the above criteria, they may enter a Court Order placing the child in an out-of-home facility, change the proceeding to an AT RISK YOUTH case, or Order the Department of Social and Health Services (DSHS) to file a Dependency case with the Court. The usual Court Order addresses out-of-home placement and substance abuse evaluation/treatment.

Failure to comply with the Court Order can result in a finding of Contempt resulting in community service work, a fine or detention.

The Court Order, in a CHILD IN NEED OF SERVICES case, can remain in effect for up to 9 months, and does not affect the parent’s financial responsibility for the child.

HOW TO PROCEED:

Steps to take before Filing:

Contact the Family Reconciliation Services (FRS) caseworker
900 E. College Way, Suite 200
Mount Vernon, WA 98273-5682,
(360) 416-7200, Fax: (360) 416-7202

FRS can provide preliminary problem solving and assessments for families. Note that all other resources must be attempted to resolve the problem before the Court will accept the Petition

Forms are available at:

DSHS
900 E. College Way, Suite 200
Mount Vernon, WA 98273-5682,
(360) 416-7200, Fax: (360) 416-7202

or

Skagit County Office of Juvenile Court
611 South Second Street
Mount Vernon, WA 98273-3820
(360) 336-9360, FAX: (360) 336-9409

or

Can be downloaded by clicking here: CHINS LEGAL FORMS

Filing a Petition:

  1. Complete 1) a PETITION, 2) a NOTICE OF HEARING, and 3) a CONFIDENTIAL INFORMATION FORM.
  2. Submit (File) all 3 forms at the Skagit County Clerk's Office (1st floor of County Courthouse). All forms must be submitted between 8:30am -12:00pm (Monday-Friday)
  3. Tell the clerk you are filing a Child In Need of Services Petition. If you already have a Family Assessment Report from Family Reconciliation Services (DSHS/DCFS), submit it with the other 3 forms as well. Be sure the clerk stamps the court case number on each form you submit.
  4. The clerk will tell you when and where to appear in front of a Judge/Commissioner. Normally, you will appear that same day, or the next business day, on what is called the Ex-Parte calendar which starts at 1:15pm each day (Monday-Friday)
  5. During the Ex-Parte hearing, the Judge/Commissioner will review the Petition. If approved, a Fact Finding hearing will be scheduled. You may bring your own attorney, if you wish. The youth will be assigned a court appointed attorney.
  6. After the hearing, assuming the petition is approved, go to the Clerk's Office. Request 3 copies each of the Petition, Notice of Hearing, and Family Assessment Report, if applicable. One set is for you to keep, the 2nd set is to be given (served) to the youth in question (if possible), and the 3rd set is to be taken to the 3rd floor of the Courthouse and given to the Office of Assigned Counsel.

Preparing for Court:

Give a copy of the NOTICE OF HEARING and PETITION to your child as soon as possible after the filing process.

If your child is a runaway and can’t be located, simply appear for the scheduled Fact Finding Hearing and so advise the Court. A warrant may likely be issued for your child’s arrest.

Fact Finding Hearing:

The Fact Finding Hearing is to determine if the child is an AT RISK YOUTH or a CHILD IN NEED OF SERVICES (as defined by law).

Present why you are coming to the Court and what you want the Court to do. It is a good idea to prepare what you want to say in writing.

Disposition Hearing:

If your child is found to be an AT RISK YOUTH or a CHILD IN NEED OF SERVICES, a Disposition Hearing will be scheduled. Disposition Hearings generally take place two weeks after the Fact Finding Hearing concludes.

At the Disposition Hearing, you and your child can present any evidence about the child’s behavior and problems and ask for specific requirements in the Court Order.

A temporary Order, to help control the child’s behavior between hearings, is sometimes entered depending upon the situation.

Review Hearings:

Review Hearings are generally scheduled for about 3 months after the Disposition Hearing.

Contempt Hearings:

If the child does not cooperate with the Court Order, the parent may, AT ANY TIME, request a Contempt or Show Cause Hearing.

Parents should keep a written list of violations (include the behavior, the date, and the time). When there are either a) a significant number of violations or b) a serious violation, a Contempt Hearing should be requested.

Complete 1) a CONTEMPT MOTION, 2) a CONTEMPT HEARING NOTICE and 3) a CONFIDENTIAL INFORMATION FORM.

Submit (File) all 3 forms at the Skagit County Clerk's Office (1st floor of County Courthouse). All forms must be submitted between 8:30am -12:00pm (Monday-Friday)

Normally, you will be scheduled before the daily Ex-Parte Calendar (Monday-Friday) which starts at 1:15pm. The Judge/Court Commissioner will review the Motion and then schedule a hearing date.

After the hearing, assuming the Motion is approved, go to the Clerk's Office. Request 3 copies each of the Motion and Notice of Hearing. One set is for you to keep, the 2nd set is to be given (served) to the youth in question (if possible), and the 3rd set is to be taken to the Public Defender's Office, Juvenile Division.

Duration of Orders:

A CHILD IN NEED OF SERVICES case can be dismissed after THREE (3) MONTHS, if the child cooperates. If the Child does not cooperate, the Order can be extended for up to SIX (6) MORE MONTHS.

Note: You cannot file an ARY and CHINS petition. Do not file both. The Court will dismiss one of the cases, if you attempt to file both.

Note: Filing a CHINS petition does not relieve a parent of financial responsibility for their child.

Note: Additional documents may be required by local county superior court rules.

Important: To obtain legal advice you should contact a lawyer (for "full service" representation or for "limited" representation) or, if you cannot afford one, contact a low cost or free legal service program. For a referral to a lawyer or a legal service program, call CLEAR (888) 201-1014. If you are the victim of domestic violence, you may also obtain assistance from the Domestic Violence Hotline (800) 562-6025.

The Skagit County Family Law Facilitator cannot provide legal advice, but might be able to offer limited assistance depending on the type and nature of your case. Directions and forms on this page are not legal advice and are provided only for reference purposes.