CHINS POLICY (CHILD IN NEED OF SUPERVISION) They include those who come to the attention of the Court because of running away from home, not obeying their parents, or not attending school. Because the law says they cannot be confined with delinquent youth, the center has a separate building called the Crisis Center, which provides shelter care housing for up to 12 youth for safekeeping. The Crisis Center is staffed by detention officers 24 hours a day.
The intent of this policy is to help families realize that the Juvenile Court of Mobile County does not have readily available solutions to their complex problems and providing shelter is the last resort. The burden of Proof must be on the parents to show that they have exhausted all resources in the community before referring their child to the court.
I. Prior to Court intervention, families must participate in family counseling and exhaust all community resources. The Juvenile Court Intake Division shall not accept any CHINS Petition if the family has failed to exhaust all other resources first, unless approved by the intake Supervisor.
2. A list of community counseling resources in the form of a handout shall be made available to all parents seeking assistance.
3. Intake shall advise all Persons wishing to file a CHINS petition that the parents shall be subject to a court order including, but not limited to: (a) applicable filing fees ($148.00- Payable prior to filing); (b) attorneys fees; and (c) child support payments (Out-of-home placement if court ordered), unless found to be indigent by the Court.
4. No petition shall be issued without documentation or evidence of attempt at family counseling such as a referral letter from a counselor or sworn affidavit by the parents. Usually a minimum of six (6) counseling sessions will be required. The parent shall attend alone if the child refuses.
5. The complaint must be signed by both parents, custodial parent or legal guardian.
6. A Guardian Ad Litem, who is an attorney, shall be appointed to represent the child. The parent is to be responsible for attorney fees unless found to be indigent by the court.
7. When appropriate after payment of the filing fee and placement on the court docket, the court may require a home investigation by the Department of Human Resources.
8. The court may require the involvement of the Mobile County Department of Human Resources on all CHINS petitions as deemed necessary. A Child Abuse/Neglect report will be filed on all referrals when appropriate.