CHINS 6 is a statute within the abuse and neglect part of the Indiana juvenile code that allows the judge to declare that the child is in need of services (CHINS) through the child’s own acts that endanger his own health or the health of others. There is no allegation of wrongdoing by the parent.
In 2008, the statute was changed such that only the DCS attorney could request authorization to file a CHINS 6 petition. The prosecuting attorney was removed from the statute. Since that time, DCS administrative policy made it largely impossible to get a CHINS 6 petition in front of a juvenile court judge for consideration. The result was that mentally ill children were being forced in the juvenile delinquency system, with the collateral consequences that come with it, in order to get access to services.
On July 1, 2013, assuming the bill is signed into law, the prosecutors will again be able to request authorization to file a petition alleging a CHINS 6, as well as the DCS attorneys.
Many, many thanks to the legislators (especially those who also participated in the interim summer study committee), the Indiana Public Defender Council, the Indiana Prosecuting Attorneys Council, the Indiana State Bar Association, IARRCA, the National Alliance on Mental Illness, and so many other advocates.