Children in Need of Assistance
Children in Need of Assistance (CINA) cases concern the welfare of the children. They usually follow an assessment by the Department of Human Services that children have suffered some kind of abuse such as:
- Neglect: This often entails cases in which children aren’t in a clean enough, or, proper house. But it can entail cases in which children are around drug use, or, domestic abuse between partners, or, a paramour who shouldn’t be around the children. The degree of abuse alleged, and, whether parents are willing to engage in DHS services can determine whether a juvenile court case is opened.
- Physical abuse: When the department alleges physical abuse of a child, it will usually seek to open a juvenile court case. Physical abuse can entail many things, but any time a child has a visible injury, the department will usually find physical abuse.The Department will sometimes find physical abuse even when the injury is accidental. Because of our mandatory reporting statutes, school officials will call the department even if the child reports accidental injury. Even parental discipline will sometimes be reported as physical abuse.Having experienced juvenile counsel is crucial to a parent accused of physical abuse of their child, especially if they are innocent. Even if the physical abuse did happen, parents can successfully journey through the juvenile court system if they’re willing to put in an effort, and, with the help of experienced counsel.
- Sexual abuse: These cases are the most significant and dangerous cases for parents, grandparents and even persons who just know the children. Accusations of sexual abuse are always taken seriously. The Department engages in a protocol which often results in the child’s allegations being bolstered, even if not true.Parents and grandparents accused of sexual abuse often face criminal prosecution as well. The Graves Law Firm regularly defends parents and others accused of sexual abuse of children.It is a terrible thing when a child is abused sexually by an adult. It is also a terrible thing when a person is accused of sexual abuse he or she did not commit. Attorney Tom Graves has represented clients in juvenile and criminal court and in administrative DHS hearings. He goes to great lengths to assure his clients are justly treated by the system.
CINA cases take some time. They begin with the filing of a petition and can, but don’t have to, entail removal of the children from their parents.
If the department wants to remove your children from your home get a lawyer to help you. A parent has rights, including the right to a hearing on whether the children should be or should have been removed.
Next steps in CINA cases include:
- Adjudication is the first important hearing (after removal). The adjudicatory hearing determines whether or not the child (or children) should be involved with juvenile court. A parent can take a stand here and try to keep the children out of court. Experience juvenile attorneys are needed for this stage.
- Disposition is the next hearing if the child/children are adjudicated as being in need of the court’s assistance. At this important hearing, the Court will determine what should happen to the children, including where they should reside for the time being and what services should be offered to children and parents.
- Review hearings are what they sound like, reviews of the status of the case, especially what services are being provided. If a parent needs a service and doesn’t tell the court, he or she cannot later contend they should have received that service.
- Termination hearings are where the State attempts to sever the child/parent relationship. It is crucial that a parent have experience legal counsel in juvenile court to wage the battle for their parental rights.
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