Thursday, July 10, 2014

Your rights as parents when your child is removed from your home


■■Your child is being taken into immediate custody. ■■Your child will be placed in a safe environment. When a law enforcement officer or judge believes that your child is in an environment dangerous to your child’s well-being, your child will be taken to a shelter facility. If your child is not going to be released to you, there must be a court hearing. It is very important that you go to this court hearing. Your child may not be kept in custody longer than 72 hours (excluding weekends and holidays) without a court hearing. If a hearing is not held within 72 hours (excluding weekends and holidays) after your child is taken into custody, your child must be returned to you. Your child may be released sooner if the release is approved by law enforcement. The county social service agency may also request authorization for release. ■■The law enforcement officer taking your child must tell you, your child and the court the reason your child was taken into custody. ■■ Law enforcement or county social services must tell you where your child is, unless telling you would place your child in immediate danger. ■■ You have the right to visit your child in the shelter facility. You should call your county social service office as soon as possible to request assistance for your family. Your child has rights too: the right to an attorney or a guardian ad litem to protect your child’s interest; also, the right to telephone parents. If your child is a member of an Indian tribe, or is eligible for membership in an Indian tribe, your entire family has the right to the protection of the Indian Child Welfare Act, the Minnesota Indian Family Preservation Act and the Minnesota Tribal/State Agreement on Indian Child Welfare. Contact your tribe for information and assistance. Seek help and attend the court hearing involving your child. ■■Immediately contact relatives or close friends to see if they could temporarily care for your child. Take your relatives or friends to court with you to explain to the court that your child can be safely returned to you. Relatives or friends might be eligible for foster care payments if they care for your child. ■■If you don’t agree that your child was in a dangerous environment, bring witnesses and evidence to the court hearing to help explain this. ■■If you don’t know the date and time and place of the hearing, call your social worker or the juvenile court in your county. ■■Unless the court finds that your child would be in immediate danger, your child will be returned to you at the first hearing, ■■ You have the right to be represented by a lawyer. You may request a public defender if you cannot afford a lawyer. ■■ You may have to wait until the day of the hearing to speak with a public defender. If so, go to the court early and ask to meet with your public defender. ■■ You may have the right to have an interpreter in court with you if English is not your first language or if you have a hearing impairment. For more information,
ask your local county service agency.■■Call your county social service office as soon as possible to request assistance for your family.

This information is available in alternative formats to individuals with disabilities
by calling us at (651) 431-4671. TTY users can call through Minnesota
Relay at (800) 627-3529. For Speech-to-Speech, call (877) 627-3848.
For additional assistance with legal rights and protections for equal access to
human services benefits, contact your agency’s ADA coordinator.

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