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Children In Need of Protection or Services a.k.a. “C.H.I.P.S.”

     As a parent, being accused of things such as child abuse, neglect, or family violence is a frightening prospect. Such accusations are very serious and can result in your children being removed from your home and being placed in foster care. An event like this is very traumatic both for the children and the parents and can turn a family upside down.

     If you are facing allegations regarding child welfare or child protection issues, you need to contact one of our experienced attorneys at Brabazon Law Office immediately. It is very important that you have someone working for you who will aggressively defend you against such accusations and work to protect the rights of you and your family.

     Our Green Bay attorneys at Brabazon Law Office have extensive experience in both criminal and family law matters both of which come into play in a family services, child protection or child welfare case. It is important that you have a child protective services attorney who has a strong understanding of both types of law so they can get you the best possible resolution to the case. At Brabazon Law Office, we are frequently called by both individuals and the courts to represent parents and children in C.H.I.P.S. matters. We have a successful track record of keeping families together and minimizing the problems that can result when a family is forced to go through a child welfare or child protection process.

More information on C.H.I.P.S.

What is C.H.I.P.S.?

     CHildren In need of Protection or Services

When does a child need protection or services?

    The following is a list of circumstances in which Wisconsin Child Protective Services or a court may get involved in the life of a child in order to protect that child:

     • Child has no parent or legal guardian
     • Abandonment or relinquishment (“Safe Haven” babies)
     • Abuse or risk of abuse
     • Self-inflicted abuse
     • Parent signs a petition requesting services for the child
     • Placement for adoption or care in violation of the law
     • Parent is incarcerated, hospitalized, institutionalized or missing
        and child is receiving inadequate care
     • Neglect or risk of neglect
     • Emotional damage
     • Child has alcohol or drug abuse issues
     • Child has not been immunized as required by law
     • Substantial risk to an unborn child due to uncontrollable
        alcohol/drug abuse by expectant mother

What is Child abuse?

     Abuse is physical injury to a child intentionally caused by another person. The definition of abuse applies to an unborn child where the behavior of the expectant mother could cause serious physical harm, such as through alcohol and drug use. A court can consider emotional abuse under this definition as well.

     A court may consider a child to be “at risk” of abuse if another child in the same home has been the victim of abuse.

What is neglect?

     Neglect occurs where the parent or legal guardian of a child is unable to provide a child with necessary care, food, clothing, medical care, and shelter. The failure to provide this care must seriously endanger the child’s physical health to be considered neglect.

     Parents have the responsibility of training, protecting, providing for, and disciplining their children.

     A court may consider a child to be “at risk” of neglect if another child in the same home has been neglected.

How does a C.H.I.P.S. case begin?

     In most cases, Child Protective Services (CPS) or Wisconsin Child Protection Services is contacted to investigate a report of potential abuse to or neglect of a child. The caseworker makes a determination of whether they believe the child’s welfare is at risk or there may be a need for child protection. If the caseworker determines there are no safety issues, the case is closed. Where it is determined that the child is at risk and a need for child protection exists, a petition will be filed setting forth reasons why the child is at risk. In most cases, the petition is filed by either the District Attorney or the County Corporation Counsel.

What happens after the C.H.I.P.S. petition is filed?

     There are two phases in a C.H.I.P.S. case. The hearings are confidential. During the first phase, the court determines whether there is sufficient evidence that the child is in fact in need of protection or family services. There will be a plea hearing where the parties involved (parents, child/guardian ad litem) notify the court whether they intend on contesting the allegations set forth in the petition.

     If none of the parties contest the petition, then the court will schedule a dispositional hearing. If one or more of the parties involved does wish to contest the petition, the court will schedule a fact-finding hearing within 30 days (within 20 days if the child is in secure custody or if the case involves an unborn child and expectant mother who is being held in custody).

     At the fact-finding hearing, the petitioner must prove by “clear and convincing evidence” that the child is in need of protection or family services. The hearing will be before a judge, unless one of the parties timely requests a jury trial. After the parties present their evidence, the court or jury will make findings of fact and the court will make conclusions of law relating to the allegations included in the petition. If it is determined that the child is in need of protection or services, the court will schedule a dispositional hearing.

     At the dispositional hearing, the court will decide what will happen to the child. There is no right to a jury trial at this phase of the proceedings.

What happens if the court decides the child does need protection or family services?
     

     If the court determines that a child is in need of protection and/or family services, the court will designate an agency to submit a report to the court, in an effort to aid the court in determining an appropriate disposition for the child. The report may include the following:

     • A social history of the child (or expectant mother)
     • A recommended plan of rehabilitation or treatment and care
     • A summary of any report prepared during the initial investigation
     • A statement of the objectives of the recommended plan,
        including any behavioral changes desired, as well as any
        academic, social, or vocational skills needed

     At the dispositional hearing, the court will make a decision regarding what type of protection or family services the child may need in the best interest of the child’s welfare. The goal of the dispositional order is to undertake the least restrictive means necessary to maintain and protect the child’s welfare. The means chosen by the court shall also take into consideration the rights of the parents and child, as well as the protection of the public.

     There is a wide variety of ways in which a court can provide protection and/or services to a child in need. The following is a list of some of the potential ways a court may intervene:

     • Counseling for the child, parent, or guardian
     • Placing the child under the supervision of an agency/department
     • Placing the child under the supervision of a suitable adult, including a
        friend of the child
     • Placing the child in the child’s home
     • Placing the child in the home of a relative
     • Placing the child in foster care
     • Placing the child in a residential treatment center
     • Transferring guardianship of the child to someone other than the
        parent or current legal guardian
     • Requiring the child undergo AODA treatment or counseling
     • Requiring the child undergo drug testing
     • Requiring the child complete a specific educational program

     At the dispositional hearing, any party may present evidence, including testimony, in support of the recommendation of the agency or of an alternative recommendation. At the conclusion of the hearing, the court will make its dispositional order. Ultimately, the court will put the order in writing, and provide copies to all interested parties.

Can the court’s dispositional order be modified?

     Yes. The dispositional order can be modified if a person bound by the original order requests a revision. The request must be in writing and must explain why and how the original disposition should be changed. An attorney can assist an individual in determining whether the situation merits a modification of the original dispositional order.

Time limits

     Time limits are very strict with respect to C.H.I.P.S. cases. Therefore it is very important that parties involved in such cases are represented by an attorney who has experience in C.H.I.P.S. cases.

     Our Wisconsin child protection attoneys practice not just in the Green Bay, Brown County area. Our experienced attorneys will aggressively represent your interests in any county throughout the Fox Valley and Northeastern Wisconsin. We have experience practicing Wisconsin child protection law in De Pere, Appleton, Oshkosh, Fond du Lac, Sheboygan, Manitowoc, Kewaunee, Sturgeon Bay, Neenah, Menasha, Marinette, Shawano, Waupaca and Wausau.

     When you need a law firm that understands what you are going through when you are trying to protect your child from neglect or abuse or being accused of neglect or abuse, visit or contact us at Brabazon Law Office to schedule a consultation with a Brabazon Green Bay lawyer by calling today at 1-800-596-0691 or using our contact form.



Brabazon Law Office, LLC P.O. Box 11213 Green Bay, WI 54307-1213 Phone: (920) 494-1106 Fax: (920) 494-0501 E-Mail: brabazonlaw@msn.com

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