The Family Division handles cases of "Children in Need of Services" also known as CHINS. Petitions are filed to assist children experiencing serious difficulties and who are in need of services in order to protect the child from the long lasting impact of harmful behavior. These petitions may be filed by parents, guardians, schools or law enforcement depending upon the behavior which is alleged. In some instances a CHINS petition may only be filed with the consent of the NH Department of Health and Human Services.
NOTE: The definition of a “Child in Need of Services” (CHINS) is as follows:
A child under the age of 18:
(a) Who is subject to compulsory school attendance, and who is habitually, willfully, and without good and sufficient cause truant from school;
(b) Who habitually runs away from home, or who repeatedly disregards the reasonable and lawful commands of his or her parents, guardian, or custodian and places himself or herself or others in unsafe circumstances;
(c) Who has exhibited willful repeated or habitual conduct constituting offenses which would be violations under the criminal code of this state if committed by an adult or, if committed by a person 16 years of age or older, would be violations under the motor vehicle code of this state; or
(d) With a diagnosis of severe emotional, cognitive, or other mental health issues who engages in aggressive, fire setting, or sexualized behaviors that pose a danger to the child or others and who is otherwise unable or ineligible to receive services under RSA 169-B or RSA 169-C; and
(e) Is expressly found to be in need of care, guidance, counseling, discipline, supervision, treatment, or rehabilitation.