A Child in Need of Services (CHINS) petition can be sought by a parent, child or DSHS. This petition makes formal an agreement for a temporary out-of-home placement for the youth. Sometimes, when conflict has escalated between parents and youth, the best course of action is a temporary separation, during which the family would engage in counseling or other efforts to resolve conflicts and heal the family bond.
The petition allows the out-of-home placement without any dependency action on the part of DSHS, retains the parents’ involvement in the child’s life and emphasizes actively engaging in efforts towards reunification. In Island County, the family must have a place for the youth to go, such as a friend or relative’s home, and that home must be deemed to by DSHS to be safe and appropriate. Youth who are homeless or in need of food and shelter may also file a CHINS petition to get help.
To initiate the CHINS process, families must first schedule and complete an assessment through the Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS). The DCFS assessor will give you some recommendations and explain the process in more detail. Call the following number to make an appointment:
For assistance, call Child Protective Services (CPS) intake at 1-866-829-2153