February 19, 2016
What You Should Know About Care and Protection Cases
When the safety of a child comes under scrutiny, it is the responsibility of the courts to intervene to guarantee that no child is being harmed or neglected. When the court reviews the status of a juvenile’s living conditions, this is called a Care and Protection Case. There are many steps to the process that people should understand. While each case is different, provided here are basic guidelines about what you should expect.
Care and Protection Cases
What Does the Court Consider?
During a Care and Protection Case, there are many points that the courts will take into consideration in order to make the proper determination about care for the child. The points considered throughout a Care and Protection Case are:
• Are there signs of abuse and/or neglect?
• Is the guardian unfit?
• Who should have custody?
• What is in the best interest of the child?
The court will take into account the factors above in order to make a determination about the best living situation for the child. In some situations, they will ask the parents to complete certain tasks, such as parenting classes, as part of the reunification process. Each case is different, and the requirements will vary based on findings.
How Does a Care and Protection Case Start?
A Care and Protection Case can begin for some reasons. Any person over the age of 18 may file what is called a 51A Report. This report is submitted when there is suspected physical or sexual abuse. While anybody over the age of 18 may report suspected abuse, there are mandated reporters who are required to report abuse. Mandated reporters are people who are required to report any suspected abuse toward children. Mandated reporters include:
• Daycare Providers
Once the report is turned into the Department of Children and Families, it is viewed by a professional caseworker. Once the expert has investigated the report, charges may be brought against the accused person.
There are some results for Care and Protection Cases. Once the report has been filed, it is either screened in or screened out. If the report is screen out this means that there were no findings of abuse and neglect.If the case is tested in then, this means that there were findings of abuse and neglect. Depending on the circumstances, the caseworker may be able to file an Emergency Care and Protection Case to immediately remove the child from the home. This is determined by the caseworker’s discretion based on their training and expertise.
Are you or someone you know involved with a Care and Protection Case? If you are looking for additional information, reach out to New Bedford Attorney, Paul Santos. He has years of experience with juvenile law, and he can assist you in better understanding the process. Call him today for trusted guidance through your case.