Ianiri Law

Juvenile Drug Possession Cases

Expulsion Hearings

Drug Possession

Child in Need of Services (CHINS)

Norwell Executive Ctr.
167 Washington Street Norwell, MA 02061
781-681-4320
cell 617-650-4520
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Juvenile Law

Child Requiring Assistance (formerly known as Child in Need of Services)

For over 17 years Attorney James Ianiri has represented children in CHINS and CRA cases in Boston, the Greater Boston area and the South Shore. He also represents parents in CRA cases that involve or may involve a change in custody to the Department of Children and Families (DCF).

In certain circumstances, a parent, legal guardian, school official or police officer may apply for a petition pursuant to M.G.L. Chapter 119 § 39E seeking a Child Requiring Assistance (CRA). Similar to the previous CHINS law, these circumstances are if the child:

  • Persistently runs away from the home (Runaway)
  • Persistently refuses to obey the lawful and reasonable commands of the parent or guardian (Stubborn)
  • Persistently and wilfully fails to attend school (Truant)
  • Persistently violates the lawful and reasonable regulations of his school (Habitual)

At the initial hearing, the judge must find probable cause to issue a formal petition  or have the probation department continue to handle it informally. If the petition is issued, therafter a Fact-finding Hearing is scheduled.  Under the new CRA statute, the child no longer has a right to a jury trial. While they were extremely rare during the CHINS era, Attorney Ianiri was one of the few lawyers in Massachusetts who actually had one.

In the more difficult CRA cases, the court may take the extreme step and award DCF temporary custody of a child.  Fortunately, in these instances, the parents have a right to counsel pursuant to the Supreme Judicial Court case of In Re: Hilary.

If the parent is indigent, he or she may be appointed counsel. However, if a parent does not qualify for court-appointed counsel, it is extremely important for the parent to tell the court that he or she wants a lawyer and to ask for a short continuance. Parents should not waive their right to counsel!  Moreover, parents are well-advised to seek an attorney who understands how to handle CRA cases and is well-versed in DCF law.

If you are a parent facing the prospect of losing custody of your child due to a CRA order, don't hesitate to call Attorney James M. Ianiri for a consultation.