Child in Need of Protective Services

Child in need of protective services (CHIPS) matters involve the county attorney, and social services, overseeing efforts to improve the circumstances a child finds themselves in. The goal is to reunify a parent with his/her child through a case plan. If efforts improve things fail, the county may seek to terminate parental rights.

Child in Need of Protective Services (CHIPS) deals with the health, safety, and welfare of children in Minnesota. There are a variety of reasons why a parent may be involved in a CHIPS case. Here’s what you need to know.

1.    Who can file a CHIPS petition? Anyone. In Minnesota, if you find yourself accused of child abuse or neglect, you’ll have to defend yourself. Your best bet is to hire an attorney.

2.    Will the state remove my child from my home? If a Child Protective Services (CPS) investigator deems your child is in danger, your child could be removed for up to 72 hours. That time does not include weekends and holidays.

3.    Where will my child go if removed? The court’s first choice is with a relative. If CPS removes your child, give them the name and contact information for your nearest relative.

4.    What happens if my child is placed in foster care? You have the right to be notified of this fact.

5.    What happens after my child is removed? You’ll be notified of an Emergency Placement Hearing within 72 hours of your child’s removal from your home. You should be at that hearing with your attorney.

6.    Will my child be permanently removed? The court will consider less restrictive measures, but they do err on the side of caution and heavily consider the nature of the petition.

7.    Is there a presumption of innocence? You will be asked to admit or deny allegations against you. Consult with an attorney before your hearing. If you admit to any type of neglect or abuse of your child, there could be serious consequences.

The state of Minnesota takes CHIPS allegations seriously. Your best defense is to hire an attorney; don’t answer allegations until you have proper representation.

Get your CHIPS case law questions answered today. Call 763-323-6555 to talk to a qualified Minnesota family law attorney.

Minnesota’s Children in Need of Protection or Services program (CHIPS) protects children’s welfare, safety and health. Kids might be placed in CHIPS for numerous reasons, such as neglect, abuse, habitual running away or truancy. The state generally attempts to keep children with their biological parents but does place them in foster care if needed.

CHIPS Classifications

There are a number of protective service case classifications. These include:

•    Runaways;
•    Children in need of protection;
•    Children whose parents lose their parental rights;
•    Truants;
•    Children who have been voluntarily placed; and
•    Delinquents younger than 10 years of age.

CHIPS Process

The County Social Service Agency first investigates the case. After the agency receives approval from the County Attorney’s Office, the case is labeled as CHIPS. A petition is then filed with the court. The Court Administrator prepares the paperwork and schedules service of the Summons and Notice to all involved parties, along with scheduling a hearing. The parties can agree on the outcome of the case, or the case could go to trial, where a judge will rule on the CHIPS status of the child.

CHIPS Party Distinctions

Involved parties include the agency/person filing the petition, the child’s legal parent/guardian, the Guardian ad Litem and other parties as designated. For Native American children, their tribe is also listed as a party.

Participants, who have limited involvement in the case, might include the child, foster parents, other relatives and a non-custodial parent. However, a participant can seek to become a party in a case. The judge can grant or deny this request.

CHIPS Goals

The goal of child protective services is to provide as much support as possible to the child, such as medical care, mental health services, dental care and education. The county and the child’s family cooperate to establish a plan in the child’s best interests with his or her safety as the top priority.

In the case of foster care, the parents have a year to resolve their issues so that the child can return home. After a year, the courts begin a permanency case, and parental rights might be terminated. Permanency cases also serve to assign a new legal guardian to the child.