CHINS cases, known as "status offenses," are acts prohibited by law. They would not be considered a crime if committed by an adult and the juvenile can not be detained for these offenses. Children in need of Supervision or Services fall into three categories:
- Truancy (Supervision): A school attendance officer must become involved when a child has a high number of unexcused absences and makes referrals if there is no improvement. Parents/Guardians are encouraged to call the school to discuss their child's attendance.
- Runaways (Supervision): A child is in need of supervision if they run away from home or a residential facility more than once without permission. An intake officer must decide if the child's behavior is a threat to his or her life or health. The intake officer also documents past efforts to address the child's problems. Locating the child is top priority. Contacting the court should be the last option. *Parents/Guardians should always call the police first to report the child as a runaway.
- Behavior, Conduct or Condition (Services): A child is in need of services if their behavior or conduct is a serious threat to the safety of themselves or others (if the child is under age 14). If a child's needs are not met, the court may intervene. A child cannot receive probation for these cases.
If you believe your family needs assistance with a CHINS issue, schedule an appointment with an intake officer (703-246-2495) to assess the situation. It is important that your child also attend the appointment.
HELPFUL INFORMATION TO HAVE FOR A cHINS APPOINTMENT:
- Prior community interventions or things you have tried (changing schools, church groups, tutoring, etc.)
- Number of runaways, including dates and length of time
- Any criminal behaviors child has engaged in
- History of self-destructive behaviors such as drug/alcohol use, mental health issues
- Prior court interventions