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BOSTON CHILDRENS HOSPITAL Lunch and Learn Families and Children Engaged in Services (FACES); a reform of the CHINS law January 23, 2013.

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Presentation on theme: "BOSTON CHILDRENS HOSPITAL Lunch and Learn Families and Children Engaged in Services (FACES); a reform of the CHINS law January 23, 2013."— Presentation transcript:

1 BOSTON CHILDRENS HOSPITAL Lunch and Learn Families and Children Engaged in Services (FACES); a reform of the CHINS law January 23, 2013

2 Senator Karen E. Spilka, Assistant Majority Whip of the Massachusetts Senate Nancy Allen Scannell Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children Erin Bradley Childrens League of Massachusetts PRESENTERS

3 First enacted in 1973 the CHINS law decriminalized four distinct juvenile behavior problems: Running Away Truancy Stubborn Child Failure to obey school rules and Allowed parents, legal guardians, truant officers and police to petition the court for services. THE CHINS STATUTE

4 The CHINS system had successes but it was widely viewed as failing to meet its intended goals. 54.3% of CHINS youth were arraigned for adult criminal offenses or juvenile delinquency offences within three years. Making them 2X as likely to be arraigned after a CHINS Petition than before. Families were torn apart as parents lose custody of their children during the CHINS Process Youth held in shackles and in lockup for non criminal offenses WHAT WERE THE RESULTS?

5 WHAT WENT WRONG? Families were uninformed about the process prior to involvement The adversarial nature of the court process Singular focus on the child Precipitating behaviors viewed out of context Practices not standardized Lack of data collection Inconsistent availability of services Inadequate funding levels and failure to systematically integrate resources

6 SPARKING CHANGE Multiple Commissions study the effectiveness of the CHINS system and make recommendations for change. Advocacy organizations file bills to reform the system In 2005, Senator Karen Spilka, then Chair of the Joint Committee on Children and Families forms a task force to examine the CHINS system. In January of 2007, Senator Spilka and Representative Paul Donato filed new legislation to reform the CHINS system The bill was signed into law by Governor Deval Patrick in August of 2012

7 Ch. 240 of the Acts of 2012 An Act Regarding Families and Children Engaged in Services is intended to break down barriers between the juvenile court, parents, and the community, and create a second access point for children to receive necessary services. The main goal is to steer children away from juvenile justice involvement and support them in safely and successfully living at home and attending school.

8 MAJOR PROVISIONS De-stigmatizes the process by deleting the CHINS label for children receiving services; Prohibits children requiring assistance from being arrested, confined in shackles or placed in a court lockup; Establishes (over three years) community based access to services for youth and their families; Focuses on the child and family as a unit making parents full and active participants in their childs proceedings;

9 MORE MAJOR PROVISIONS Ensures that the child and family fully understand the procedures by requiring that information be given to parents in writing at the beginning of the court process; Requires school districts to establish truancy prevention programs as a precursor to a juvenile court referral; Creates a standardized data collection system to evaluate outcomes and ensure that children benefit from the new system and that resources are being used well.

10 IMPLEMENTATION Families and Children Requiring Assistance Advisory Board Executive Office of Health and Human Services The Juvenile Court Department of Elementary and Secondary Education Legal Services Practitioners Others

11 WHATS NEXT? SD 236 HD 773 An Act to expand juvenile jurisdiction, increase public safety and protect children from harm Includes almost all 17 year olds in the juvenile justice system (except those charged with first or second degree murder) Senator Karen Spilka Rep. Kay Khan SD 150 An Act relative to juvenile life without parole sentences Brings MA Law into compliance with the recent U.S. Supreme Court decision that a mandatory sentence of life without the possibility of parole for a juvenile is unconstitutional Senator Cynthia Creem Rep. Liz Malia HD 1153An Act Relative to Parent Child Privilege Gives Parents the Right to decline to testify against their child in most criminal proceedings Rep. Michael Costello

12 INFORMATION For more Information… Boston Childrens Hospital Childrens Mental Health Campaign Childrens League of MA


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