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.
There are a number of protective service case classifications. These include:
• Children in need of protection;
• Children whose parents lose their parental rights;
• Children who have been voluntarily placed; and
• Delinquents younger than 10 years of age.
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.
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.