Not only does The Court Services Unit deal with juveniles who have committed criminal offenses but it also deals with Children in Need of Services or Children in Need of Supervision (CHINS).
A Child in Need of Services is defined in the Code of Virginia, Section 16.1-228, as:
... a child whose behavior, conduct or condition presents or results in a serious threat to the well-being and physical safety of the child; however, no child who in good faith is under treatment solely by spiritual means through prayer in accordance with the tenets and practices of a recognized church or religious denomination shall for that reason alone be considered to be a child in need of services, nor shall any child who habitually remains away from or habitually deserts or abandons his family as a result of what the court or the local child protective services unit determines to be incidents of physical, emotional or sexual abuse in the home be considered a child in need of services for that reason alone.
However, to find that a child falls within these provisions, (i) the conduct complained of must present a clear and substantial danger to the child's life or health or (ii) the child or his family is in need of treatment, rehabilitation or services not presently being received, and (iii) the intervention of the court is essential to provide the treatment, rehabilitation or services needed by the child or his family.
A Child in Need of Supervision is defined in the Code of Virginia, Section 16.1-228, as:
A child who, while subject to compulsory school attendance, is habitually and without justification absent from school, (i) and the child has been offered an adequate opportunity to receive the benefit of any and all educational services and programs that are required to be provided by law and which meet the child's particular educational needs, and (ii) the school system from which the child is absent or other appropriate agency has made a reasonable effort to effect the child's regular attendance without success; or
A child who, without reasonable cause and without the consent of his parent, lawful custodian or placement authority, remains away from or habitually deserts or abandons his family or lawful custodian or escapes or remains away without proper authority from a residential care facility in which he has been placed by the court, and (i) such conduct presents a clear and substantial danger to the child's life or health, (ii) the child or his family is in need of treatment, rehabilitation or services not presently being received, and (iii) the intervention of the court is essential to provide the treatment, rehabilitation or services needed by the child or his family.
Examples of CHINS issues include
- not following household rules, and
Code of Virginia, Section 16.1-260, further states that CHINS problems should be resolved through the use of community resources before court intervention can take place. Regarding CHINS matters, the goal of the Virginia Beach Court Services Unit is to divert the juvenile and his/her family from the court process whenever possible. The Intake Unit can assist families in finding available community resources to address an adolescent's acting out behavior.
When a parent requests assistance with a child exhibiting negative behaviors, an Intake Officer instructs the parent to initiate individual/family counseling. If the child refuses to attend two scheduled appointments, refuses to take prescribed medication or refuses to comply with a recommended course of treatment, the parent is instructed to provide written documentation of the non-compliance from the therapist. A CHINS petition is then filed and a court date is scheduled for the child and a parent/legal guardian to appear before a judge. The judge may then issue an order of compliance.