Child Protective Proceedings

In Juvenile Court, there are two types of child protective proceedings as follows.

Child Abuse & Neglect

Cases in which children under the age of 18 are found within this county physically or mentally abused by their parents (or parental figures) or without their health, material, educational or supervisory needs being met. The Court has the right to remove children from their families and place them elsewhere or remove parents from the home to maintain a child's safety while the case is proceeding. 

The Court has authority over parents of children in the jurisdiction of the Court and can obtain jurisdiction over other adults who affect the health, safety and morals of such a child. If the claims are found (by jury / non-jury trial or plea) to be true, the Court determines a rehabilitative treatment plan to be followed to assure the child's safety in the home and if the statutory grounds exist for termination, the Court may terminate a parent's rights to a child following notice and hearing. 

Child protective cases are primarily investigated, prosecuted, serviced and managed by the Children's Protective Services and Family Court Divisions of the County Department of Human Services, however, the Court staff carries out these tasks in cases of educational neglect.

Religious-Based Denial of Medical Care for a Child

Cases in which the Court determines that medical care necessary for a child's health, quality of life or life is refused by the parent and that the basis of the refusal is a genuine religious belief. The Court may order necessary treatment but may not make a finding of neglect nor may the parent be listed on the State's Central Registry of perpetrators of child abuse or neglect.