Understanding Child in Need of Assistance (CINA) Proceedings
What are the Qualifications?
In order to meet the requirements for being a CINA, a child must be under 18 years of age, not married, and need the involvement of the Court in their life for the following reasons under Iowa Code section 232.2:
- Their parent, guardian, or custodian has abandoned or deserted them
- Their parent, guardian, custodian or household member physically abused or neglected them, or is imminently likely to abuse or neglect them
- They suffered or are imminently likely to suffer harmful effects as a result of mental injury inflicted by their parent, guardian, custodian or relative; or these individuals demonstrated lacks a reasonable degree of care in supervising the children
- Sexually abused by their parent, guardian, custodian or relative
- Require medical treatment to cure, alleviate, or prevent severe physical injury or illness in which their parent, guardian, or custodian is unable or unwilling to provide
- Require medical treatment to cure or alleviate severe mental disorder or illness, or emotional damage based on serious anxiety, depression, withdrawal, or untoward aggressive behavior toward self or others in which their parent, guardian, or custodian is unable or unwilling to provide
- Their parent, guardian, custodian fails to exercise a marginal degree of care in providing them with proper food, clothing, or shelter and refuses other means made available to supply such necessities
- They committed a delinquent act due to the pressure, guidance, or approval from a parent, guardian, custodian, or household member
- They have been the subject of or a party to prostitution or pornography
- They are without a parent, guardian, or other custodian
- Their parent, guardian, custodian desires to be relieved of care and custody for a good cause
- Requires treatment to cure or alleviate chemical dependency in which their parent, guardian, or custodian is unable or unwilling to provide
- Not receiving adequate care due to the parent’s or guardian’s mental capacity or condition, imprisonment, or alcohol or drug abuse
- Presence of an illegal drug in their body as a direct and foreseeable consequence of the acts or omissions of their parent, guardian, or custodian
- Their parent, guardian, or custodian unlawfully manufactures drugs
First, there is the adjudication hearing, in which the state must prove that the child is in need of assistance within the meaning of one or more of the CINA statutory grounds listed above. While there are some cases where the parent will agree that their child is in need of services or out-of-home placement, if the state is opposed by the child’s parents, then the child is provided a guardian ad litem, as well as an attorney, to represent their interests.
However, even before the adjudication hearing, the state can pursue the removal of the child from parental custody due to imminent danger. Without a hearing, a juvenile judge may remove the child from the home if they are provided with evidence that suggests the child is in imminent danger. If there is a removal without a hearing, a hearing must be held within 10 days once removal is accomplished.
Second, after the adjudication hearing, a disposition hearing is held, in which the judge determines what services need to be administered to the parent(s) to help take care of the issues which resulted in the adjudication, and what services should be administered to the child. Typically, the judge makes their decision based on a disposition report created by social service workers. If the child has been removed from their parent(s), a plan is devised which details the requirements the parent(s) must fulfill to regain custody.
The two possible dispositions are the following:
- The child remains in the home of their parent(s), in which the parent(s) must cooperate with service providers
- The child is removed from the parent(s), in which the parent(s) must participate in services in order to prove whether or not they can regain custody
Third, once a decision has been made, all CINA cases in which the child has been removed from the home are subject for review hearings every six months before a juvenile judge. At a review hearing, the judge will examine the parent(s)’ progress, the child’s condition, and the placement of the child.
Lastly, the judge can determine whether a permanent placement plan is required for the child and whether the parent(s)’ parental rights should be terminated.
Seek Legal Representation with Our Des Moines Child Custody Lawyers
At The Law Offices of Mark R. Hinshaw, we are dedicated to providing solutions for those in need of legal assistance in order to navigate through the complexities of the law. Do not hesitate to get the necessary help to get the results you desire.