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CHIPS (Children in Need of Protection) Court
There are several case types under the heading of CHIPS. They are child protection, termination of parental rights, truancy, runaway, delinquencies under the age of 10 years old, and voluntary placement cases.
After investigation by Family Services and a recommendation by that agency to the County Attorney, a petition may be filed with the court. The Court Administrator's office prepares a Summons and Notice of Hearing and provides for service of Summons and Notice with supporting documents on the parties named in the case. A hearing Notice is also sent to participants named in the case. Unless the parties themselves resolve the issues alleged in a petition, the court will make a decision on the case.
The Minnesota Juvenile Rules of Procedure define the difference between a party in a CHIPS case and a participant. Parties include the child's legal custodian, the petitioner, the Guardian Ad Litem, and any person who intervenes as a party. Parties are fully involved in the case. If the child is of American Indian heritage, the appropriate tribe must be named as a party in the case. Participants may include the child, the child's non-custodial parent, foster parents, and relatives. Participants have limited involvement in the case. If a participant makes a motion to intervene in the case to become a party, the judge assigned to that case will either grant or deny that request. Court forms are available at http://www.mncourts.gov
CJI (Children's Justice Initiative)
A joint venture between the Minnesota Supreme Court and the Minnesota Department of Human Services to work with key stakeholders in each of Minnesota's 87 counties to improve the processing and outcomes of child protection cases was started in December 2000. A lead judge and representation from all inter-agency partners were selected in each county to work on local issues to improve their system.
The program is focused on thinking "through the eyes of the child," and all recommendations and decisions by a CJI team must achieve one of the following child-focused goals:
- Child Safety
- Child Stability
- Permanency for the Child
- Timeliness of Process
- System Accountability
- Due Process Protection for the Parties