Child In Need Of Care
A Child in Need of Care case may be filed when a child seventeen years of age or younger has been abused, neglected, abandoned, runaway from home, or is truant from school. Cases are referred to the County Attorney’s Office for review by SRS, law enforcement, or local school districts to determine whether a Child in Need of Care case will be filed. A guardian ad litem (GAL) is an attorney who represents the best interests of the child. A GAL is appointed by the Court to represent a child who is the subject of a Child in Need of Care case. The GAL is responsible for appearing at all Court hearings to represent the child’s interests.
When a Child in Need of Care case is filed, the Court makes orders regarding the child’s care, custody, and control. The child may be placed in SRS custody and removed from the parents’ home. The Court decides whether there is sufficient evidence to find that a child has been abused, neglected, abandoned, runaway, or is truant. If the Court removes the child from a parent, then a reintegration plan is ordered which lists all of the tasks that the family needs to complete in order for the Court to determine when a child can be returned to the parent. In rare circumstances, a parent’s parental rights may be terminated to a child if the parent fails to complete the reintegration plan and the Court finds by clear and convincing evidence that they are unfit and their parental rights should be terminated.