Child in Need of Protection or Services (CHIPS)

CHIPS actions are court cases that involve the health, safety and welfare of children. Children can be considered CHIPS because they are abused or neglected, truant, runaway, or otherwise need protection or services. Cases are brought to protect children and to deliver services so children can be safe at home or, if children cannot be home and must be in foster care, so they can safely return home.  If services do not resolve the issues, children may be permanently removed from the care of their parents including through termination of parental rights. It is advisable to be represented by an attorney.

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Child Protection Forms:
CHIPS (Children in Need of Protection or Services) There are several case types under the heading of CHIPS.  They are child protection, truancy, runaway, delinquencies under the age of 10 years old, and voluntary placement cases. Related case types include permanency through transfer of permanent legal and physical custody to a relative and termination of parental rights. 
After investigation by the county social services agency and approval by the County Attorney’s Office, which includes a determination that there is sufficient proof that the child is CHIPS , 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 the petition on the parties named in the case.  A hearing Notice is also sent to participants named in the case.  A case may be resolved by agreement of the parties or may require a trial before a judge.  If the case goes to trial, the judge will decide whether the child is CHIPS or not.

The Minnesota Juvenile Rules of Procedure define the difference between a party in a CHIPS case and a participant. Open the tab “Juvenile Court Rules” and then open the tab “Rules of Juvenile Protection Procedure”. 

Parties include the agency or individual filing the CHIPS Petition, the child’s legal custodian, the Guardian ad Litem, and any person who intervenes as a party.  Parties are fully involved in the case.  If the child is an Indian child, the child’s 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 moves to intervene in the case to become a party, the judge assigned to that case will either grant or deny that request.

The goal of a CHIPS case is to provide a child with support,  so the child is safe and gets needed education, medical care, and, if needed, mental health care.  Protection and services are provided by the county agency and the child’s family working together to develop a plan aimed at keeping the child safe.  The agency is required to make reasonable or, in the case of an Indian child, active efforts to implement the plan and to help the child be safe. 

If the child is in foster care, the law gives the agency and the parents one year to resolve issues and to make it safe for the child to go home.  If the child is not returned home in one year, a permanency case must be started and could include termination of parental rights.   The purpose of permanency cases, including termination of parental rights, is to provide the child with a new legal custodian or legal parent who can provide protection, and, if needed, services.
Rules & Laws on Child in Need of Protection or ServicesThe following is a list of some of the laws and rules that deal with child protection in Minnesota. You can get more help with your legal research at Law Libraries throughout Minnesota. County law libraries are open to the public, but hours will vary.

We strongly encourage you to talk with a lawyer to get advice on how the laws and rules may affect your case.