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Child Abuse & Neglect – Frequently Asked Questions

How do I report suspected child abuse?

Am I required to report suspected child abuse?

Is there any type of liability for reporting or not reporting child abuse?

Under what circumstances may police or social workers take a child away from a situation?

What is the definition of "child in need of care?"

What is "physical, mental, or emotional abuse?"

What is the definition of "sexual abuse" of a child?


Who may file a petition under the Kansas Code for Care of Children?

Where do children go when the police or social workers take them away?

How can a court issue orders as to custody without a hearing?

How do I get my child returned to my custody?

What is a temporary custody hearing?

When is a temporary custody hearing held?

Will I receive notice of the temporary custody hearing?

Who may participate in a proceeding under the Kansas Code for Care of Children?

How does a grandparent become aware of a pending child in need of care proceeding initiated on behalf of their grandchild?

What rights does an individual participating in a child in need of care proceeding have?

Am I entitled to an attorney? Will my child have an attorney?

What is a court appointed special advocate (CASA)?

Who is in charge of my child’s custody?

If my child is removed from my custody will I be required to pay child support?

What can be done if I disagree with SRS's placement decision?

What is "informal supervision?"

What happens at the "first appearance?"

What is "adjudication?"

What happens at the "dispositional hearing?"

Who will receive notice of the dispositional hearing?

What is reintegration?

When is reintegration not a viable option?

What is a permanency plan?

What is case plan/ family meeting?

How can I participate in a "case planning meeting?"

What is "permanency hearing?"

Who should receive notice of the permanency hearing?

What is "permanent custodianship?"

How is a permanent custodian appointed?

What is a termination hearing? How are parental rights terminated?

Who will receive notice of a termination hearing? How will notice be given?

What can a parent do short of having the termination hearing to eliminate the risk of being found "unfit?"

Are there any future potential ramifications to an unfitness finding?

What is a presumption of unfitness?

What are grounds for an unfitness finding?

What happens to a child after parental rights are terminated or a finding of parental unfitness is made?

What if following termination SRS is granted custody and a party disagrees with how SRS is handling things?


How do I report suspected child abuse?

If you suspect or witness an emergency, call 9-1-1.

To report suspected child abuse or neglect, call the abuse hotline at 1-800-922-5330.

For more information on hotlines, visit http://www.srskansas.org/hotlines.htm
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Am I required to report suspected child abuse?

Pursuant to Kansas law 38-2223 the following persons are mandated to report if they have reason to suspect that a child has been harmed as a result of physical, mental or emotional abuse or neglect or sexual abuse:

(1) Persons providing medical care or treatment who are licensed to practice the healing arts, dentistry and optometry; persons engaged in postgraduate training programs approved by the state board of healing arts; licensed professional or practical nurses and chief administrative officers of medical care facilities;

(2) Persons licensed by the state to provide mental health services to include licensed psychologists, licensed maters level psychologists, licensed clinical psychotherapists, licensed social workers, licensed marriage and family therapists, licensed professional counselors, licensed clinical professional counselors and registered alcohol and drug abuse counselors

(3) Teachers, school administrators or other employees of an educational institution which the child is attending and persons licensed by the secretary of health and environment to provide child care services or the employees of person so licensed at the place where the child care services are being provided to the child; and

(4) Firefighters, emergency medical services personnel, law enforcement officers, juvenile intake and assessment workers, court services officers and community corrections officers, case managers appointed under Kansas law 2005 Supp. 23-1001 et seq., and amendments thereto, and mediators appointed under Kansas law 23-602, and amendments thereto.

Any other person who has reason to suspect that a child may be a child in need of care may report the matter.
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Is there any type of liability for reporting or not reporting child abuse?

Pursuant to Kansas law 38-2223(e) Willful and knowing failure to make a report required by law is a class B misdemeanor. It is not a defense that another mandatory reporter made report. Intentionally preventing or interfering with the making of a report required by Kansas law is a class B misdemeanor.

As of January 1, 2007 pursuant to Kansas law 38-2223(e)(3) any person who willfully and knowingly makes a false report or makes a report that such person knows lacks factual foundation is guilty of a class B misdemeanor.

Anyone who without malice, participates in the making of a report to the secretary or law enforcement agency relating to a suspicion a child may be a child in need of care or who participates in any activity or investigation relating to the report or who participates in any judicial proceeding resulting from the report shall have immunity from any civil liability that might otherwise be incurred or imposed. Read Kansas law 38-2223(f).
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Under what circumstances may police or social workers take a child away from a situation?

Kansas law number 38-2231.

A law enforcement officer or a court service officer may take a child into custody when:

(1) The officer has a court order commanding that the child be taken into custody;
(2) The officer has probable cause to believe that there is a court order that the child be taken into custody;

A law enforcement officer shall take a child into custody when:

(1) The officer reasonably believes the child will be harmed if not immediately removed from the place or residence where the child has been found; or
(2) The officer has probable cause to believe that the child is a missing person and a verified missing person entry for the child can be found in the national crime information center for missing person system;

A law enforcement officer may temporarily detain and assume temporary custody of any child subject to compulsory school attendance, during the hours school is actually in session.
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What is the definition of "child in need of care?"

Kansas law number 38-2202.

A "child in need of care" means a person less than 18 years of age who:

(1) is without adequate parental care, control or subsistence and the condition is not due solely to the lack of financial means of the child’s parents or other custodian;

(2) is without the care or control necessary for the child’s physical, mental or emotional health;

(3) has been physically, mentally or emotionally abused or neglected or sexually abused;

(4) has been placed for care or adoption in violation of law;

(5) has been abandoned or does not have a known living parent;

(6) is not attending school as required by Kansas law 72-977 or 72-1111, and amendments thereto;

(7) with certain exceptions, does an act which, when committed by a person under 18 years of age, is prohibited by law but which is not prohibited when done by an adult;

(8) while less than 10 years of age, commits any act which if done by an adult would constitute the commission of a felony or a misdemeanor as defined by Kansas law 21-3105 and amendments thereto;

(9) is willfully and voluntarily absent from the child’s home without the consent of the child’s parent or other custodian (run away);

(10) is willfully and voluntarily absent at least a second time from a court ordered or designated placement, or a placement pursuant to court order, if the absence is without the consent of the person with whom the child is placed or, if the child is placed in a facility, without the consent of the person in charge of such facility or such person’s designee;

(11) has been residing in the same residence with a sibling or another person under 18 years of age, who has been physically mentally or emotionally abused or neglected, or sexually abused; or

(12) while less than 10 years of age commits the offense defined in Kansas law 21-4204a and amendments thereto.

(13) has had a permanent custodian appointed and the permanent custodian is no longer able or willing to serve.
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What is "physical, mental, or emotional abuse?"

"Physical, mental or emotional abuse" means the infliction of physical, mental or emotional harm or the causing of a deterioration of a child and may include, but shall not be limited to, maltreatment or exploiting a child to the extent that the child's health or emotional well being is endangered. Read Kansas law number 38-2202 with reference to (x).
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What is the definition of "sexual abuse" of a child?

Pursuant to Kansas law 38-2202(cc) “sexual abuse” means any contact or interaction with a child in which the child is being used for the sexual stimulation of the perpetrator, the child or another person. Sexual abuse shall include allowing, permitting or encouraging a child to engage in prostitution or to be photographed, filmed or depicted in pornographic material.
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Who may file a petition under the Kansas Code for Care of Children?

Most cases are filed by the County or District Attorney. However, any person may file a petition to have a child adjudicated as a child in need of care. We have filed petitions on behalf of grandparents and others who believe that a child is in need of care. The Kansas Code for Care of Children provides a means for persons other than a parent to take custody of a child whose needs are being abused or neglected.
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Where do children go when the police or social workers take them away?

See Kansas law 38-2232.

When a law enforcement officer takes a child into custody the child shall be delivered to the custody of the child's parent or other custodian unless there are reasonable grounds to believe that such action would not be in the child's best interest.

If the child is not returned to the child's parent or other custodian, the child shall be delivered to a facility or person designated by the secretary, a shelter facility designated by the court, court services officer, juvenile intake and assessment worker, licensed attendant care center or other person. Other persons could include a family member or family friend.

If your child is not returned to you, then the court will have a temporary custody hearing to determine whether your children should remain out of your home.

If a child is taken into custody without a court order and is placed into custody, the facility or person where the child is placed will have physical custody of the child and shall provide care and supervision for the child until the temporary custody hearing, this is also referred to as "police protective custody." Such person or facility shall discharge custody of the child not later than 72 hours from placement, excluding Saturdays, Sundays, and legal holidays, absent a court order pertaining to temporary custody or release being entered by the court.
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How can a court issue orders as to custody without a hearing?

Read Kansas law 38-2242.

The court upon review of a written application of the state or individual person, such application being sworn to under oath, which alleges the child is in need of care, is likely to sustain harm if not immediately removed from the home, allowing the child to remain in the home is contrary to the welfare of the child; and the facts relied upon to support the application, including efforts known to the applicant to maintain the family unit and prevent the unnecessary removal of the child from the child's home, or the specific facts supporting that an emergency exists which threatens the safety of the child, and a finding that there is probable cause to believe the allegations in the application are true, may issue an order of protective custody. Such order remains in effect until the temporary custody hearing.

If a child is in the protective custody of the secretary, the secretary shall allow at least one supervised visit between the child and the parent or parents within such time period as the child is in protective custody, unless the court specifically prohibits such supervised visit by determining it is not in the best interest of the child for such visit to take place.
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How do I get my child returned to my custody?

If your child is removed from your custody, there will be subsequent hearings to include a temporary custody hearing, in which the petitioner, whether the state or private individual, will have the responsibility of proving there is probable cause to support that either (1) your child is likely to sustain harm if not immediately removed from the home; (2) allowing the child to remain in home is contrary to the welfare of the child; or (3) immediate placement is in the best interest of the child; and either reasonable efforts have been made to maintain the family unit and prevent unnecessary removal of the child from the child's home or that an emergency exists which threatens the safety of the child. If the petitioner is unsuccessful at proving this your child will be returned to your care at that hearing.

Whether or not the petitioner is successful, within thirty (30) days of the filing of the child in need of care petition there will be a first appearance and subsequently an adjudication hearing. At the adjudication hearing the petitioner will be required to prove the allegations in the petition by clear and convincing evidence. If the movant is not successful the case will be dismissed and if your child has not yet been returned to your home, he or she will be immediately returned to your home. If the movant is successful at proving his/her case, a dispositional hearing will be held within thirty days. If at the dispositional hearing your child continues to be placed outside of your home, the court will determine whether or not placement outside the home continues to be necessary to provide for the safety and welfare of your child; if that question is answered in the affirmative the court will then determine whether or not reintegration is a viable option. If reintegration is determined viable, successful completion of a reintegration plan will ideally result in the return of your child to your custody.
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What is a temporary custody hearing?

Read Kansas law 38-2243

At a temporary custody is the first of several hearings in a child in need of care proceeding which addresses a child's custody. At this hearing the court may issue an order directing who shall have temporary custody of a child and may modify the order during the pendency of the proceedings as will best serve the child's welfare. At the temporary custody hearing the court can place the child in the temporary custody of a parent, or other person having custody of the child, a person, other than the parent or other person having custody, a youth residential facility, a shelter facility or the secretary. Before placing a child in the custody of anyone other then a parent the court must determine the child is dangerous to self or to others, the child is not likely to be available within the jurisdiction of the court for future proceedings; or health or welfare of the child may be endangered without further care.
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When is a temporary custody hearing held?

Read Kansas law 38-2243.

A temporary custody hearing is held within 72 hours, excluding Saturdays, Sundays, and legal holidays, following a child having been taken into protective custody or whenever it is determined that an order for temporary custody is necessary.

Whenever it is determined that a temporary custody hearing is required, the court shall immediately set the time and place for the hearing.
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Will I receive notice of the temporary custody hearing?

Read Kansas law 38-2243.

Notice of a temporary custody hearing shall be given to all parties and interested parties. Notice of the temporary custody hearing shall be given at least 24 hours prior to the hearing. Oral notice may be used for giving notice of a temporary custody hearing where there is insufficient time to give written notice.
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Who may participate in a proceeding under the Kansas Code for Care of Children?

The state, the petitioner, the child and any parent, guardian, or any person who is by law liable to maintain, care for or support of the child is a party to a child in need of care proceeding and may participate.

Read Kansas law 38-2202(t) and (u).

The state participates in the proceedings through the office of the county or district attorney.

Read Kansas law 38-2214

Grandparents of the child shall be allowed to participate as a party to a child in need of care proceeding if the grandparent notifies the court of such grandparent's desire to become an interested party. Notification may be made in writing, orally or by appearance at the initial or subsequent hearing on the child in need of care petition.

Read Kansas law 38-2241(c)

Persons with whom the child has been residing for a significant period of time within six months of the date of the child in need of care petition being filed shall also be made an interested party of the proceedings, if such person notifies the court of such person's desire to become an interested party. Notification may be in writing, orally or by appearance at the initial or a subsequent hearing on the child in need of care petition. Read Kansas law 38-2241(d)

Other persons can upon motion, be made an "interested party" if the court determines that it its in the best interests of the child. Read Kansas law 38-2241(e)

(1) Any person with whom the child has resided at any time, who is within the fourth degree of relationship to the child, or to whom the child has close emotional ties.

(2) Any person with whom the court determines that the person has a sufficient relationship with the child to warrant interested party status or that the person's participation would be beneficial to the proceedings.
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How does a grandparent become aware of a pending child in need of care proceeding initiated on behalf of their grandchild?

Pursuant to Kansas law 38-2237 notice of hearing on a Petition to find a child in need of care shall be sent first class mail to the child's grandparents.
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What rights does an individual participating in a child in need of care proceeding have?

A party to a child in need of care proceeding has the right to receive notice of hearings held in the proceeding, present oral and written evidence and argument, to call and cross examine witnesses; and representation by an attorney. Pursuant to Kansas law 38-2241(b) an interested party's rights are subject to authority of the court to rule on admissibility of evidence and provide for the orderly conduct of the proceedings.

Read Kansas law 38-2241.

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Am I entitled to an attorney? Will my child have an attorney?

You may hire an attorney to represent you if you are a parent or custodian of a child adjudicated or alleged to be a child in need of care or in an interested party in such action. To inquire about our firm's representing you, click here: http://www.yourchild1st.com/contact_us.shtml

If a parent or custodian would like an attorney but cannot afford one, the court shall appoint one for him/her. Read Kansas law number 38-2205 with reference to (b).

The court may appoint an attorney for an interested party in a proceeding involving a child alleged to be a child in need of care, who desires but is financially unable to employ an attorney, but the court is not required to do so. Read Kansas law number 38-2205(c).

A child alleged or adjudicated a child in need of care will be appointed a guardian ad litem (also called a "GAL"). The guardian ad litem will appear at hearings for your child and conduct an independent investigation to determine the best interest of your child. Download the Supreme Court Administrative Rule 100, duties of Guardians Ad Litem pdf at: http://www.kscourts.org/ctruls/admin100.pdf

When a child's position is not consistent with the determination of the guardian ad litem as to the child's best interests, the guardian ad litem shall inform the court of the disagreement. The guardian ad litem or the child may request the court to appoint a second attorney to serve as attorney for the child, and the court, on good cause shown, may appoint such second attorney.

Read Kansas law 38-2205(a).

The court might require you to reimburse the state for the fees of the guardian ad litem or for your appointed counsel.
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What is a court appointed special advocate (CASA)?

A Court Appointed Special Advocate, also known as a "CASA," is a community volunteer appointed by the court to advocate for the child. They receive many hours of training and professional supervision.

CASA's are not acting as social workers or attorneys. They are independent of the SRS, the social workers, and the guardian ad litem.

The court might appoint a CASA to investigate your case. The CASA volunteer will interview you, your child and all persons important to your child. The CASA volunteer will have contact with your child, in person or by phone, several times a month.

The CASA will then write a report for the court. You will not be allowed to see the report, but your attorney may discuss the report with you. CASA reports are influential with the court. The court views CASA reports as objective assessments.
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Who is in charge of my child’s custody?

When a child is placed in the temporary custody of someone other then the child's parent, the court can place the child in the custody of a relative of the child or to a person with whom the child has close emotional ties, to any other suitable person, to a shelter facility, to a youth residential facility or to the secretary. Whomever the court places the child in the custody of will be in charge of the custody of the child, until such time that order is modified.

If the child is placed in the custody of the secretary, the Kansas Department of Social and Rehabilitation Services, known as the "SRS," will manage the child's custody. However, the SRS then refers the case management to an independent contractor. In Johnson County, Wyandotte County and Miami County, the private contractors are currently Kaw Valley Children's Center, Inc. (KVC) or DCCCA. The private contractor will appoint a case manager. The case manager will have responsibility of locating an appropriate placement for your child and providing services for reintegration (returning the children to your home) or for adoption. Until your child is returned to your custody or other arrangements are made, your child will be placed in “foster home” or other residential facility, but SRS through its contractor will still be responsible for the custody of your child.

If your children are in foster care, and you want them home, it is essential to have an excellent relationship with the case manager. Do everything the case manager requires for you to bring your children home. Let the case manager know that you have done what you have been asked to do. Stay in frequent contact with your case manager (at least once a week). Keep a log of all your contacts and attempted contacts with your case manager.

The private contractor might also assign a family support worker to your case. Your family support worker is a resource for you to use when you need help complying with the requirements of your case plan.
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If my child is removed from my custody will I be required to pay child support?

If your child is removed from your custody the court may enter orders of child support. If the child is removed from your custody and placed in SRS custody the court is required to issue orders of child support.

Read Kansas law 38-2255.
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What can be done if I disagree with SRS's placement decision?

Read Kansas law 38-2255.

In a child in need of care proceeding the court can grant custody of a child to a myriad array of people, but most often a judge will place a child with SRS and give SRS the authority to place the child. On occasions relatives or the child's loved ones may disagree with SRS's placement decision.

If you disagree with the placement decision of SRS the most efficient way to have this addressed is speak to the case manager and reasonably apprise them of your concerns, and advocate for a placement change for the child in a non-accusing rational manner. If this approach is not effective, you may request the assistance of the court. A judge cannot order SRS to place a child in a specific home or residence, but a judge can make placement recommendations to SRS. Pursuant to Kansas law 38-2253 SRS shall consider any placement recommendation of the court and notify the court of the placement or proposed placement of the child within 10 days of the order awarding custody. Upon request of a party or its own motion the court may make a finding that the placement or proposed placement of the child is contrary to the welfare or not in the best interests of the child and SRS shall then make an alternative placement.
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What is "informal supervision?"

"Informal supervision" means that the petitioner and court will not proceed with adjudication of your child. Instead, you will agree to a plan of informal supervision. Read Kansas law number 38-2244

The plan of informal supervision will establish requirements for you to follow. If you follow all of the requirements for the duration of the plan, the case will be dismissed.

All parties must agree to a plan of informal supervision. An order for informal supervision may remain in force for a period of up to six months. It may be extended, upon hearing, for an additional six-month period for a total of one year, for a child who remains in the custody of such child's parent, such one-year period may be extended if no party objects, upon hearing, for up to an additional one year, with reviews by the court occurring at least every six months. Read Kansas law 38-2244 with reference to (b).
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What happens at the "first appearance?"

At the first appearance the parties will have to the opportunity to ?stipulate,? to the allegations in the petition, enter a ?no contest? statement to all or part of the allegations in the Child in Need of Care Petition, or request a trial on the Petition (also known as an ?adjudication hearing?).

To stipulate to the petition means to agree that the allegations in the petition are true and correct. To enter a “no contest” statement means that the party entering such statement is not willing to agree that the allegations in the child in need of care petition are true and correct, but, will not require the Petitioner to prove his/her case. If a party stipulates to the allegations in the child in need of care petition or enters a no contest statement the Judge will ask that individual a series of questions to insure his/her decision to do so was freely and voluntarily made. Before accepting a stipulation the court is required to find that there is a factual basis for the stipulation. Before accepting a no contest statement, the court is required to find that there is a factual basis for a child in need of care finding. Following the court accepting the stipulation and/or no contest statement of the party and making the required findings, the child may be adjudicated a child in need of care. However, if all parties do not stipulate or enter no contest statements, a trial date will be set and the court will be required to hear evidence as to those persons not stipulating or entering a “no contest” statement. Read Kansas law 38-2248.

If a parent or custodian chooses to request a trial (also known as an adjudication hearing); a trial date will be set.
At trial the Petitioner will be required to prove by clear and convincing evidence that the child is a child in need of care. Read Kansas law 2250.

If the Petitioner is unsuccessful at proving the child at issue is a child in need of care, the Petition will be dismissed. Read Kansas law 38-2251(a).

Whether by stipulation, “no contest” statement, or trial the court finds there is clear and convincing evidence to find a child a child in need of care, the child at issue is “adjudicated” a child in need of care.
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What is "adjudication?"

Adjudication is a finding that there is clear and convincing evidence that a child is a child in need of care. After making such finding the court can proceed forward and enter future orders as authorized by the child in need of care code. Read Kansas law 38-2251.
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What happens at the "dispositional hearing?"

The dispositional hearing may be held immediately following the adjudication hearing, but shall be held within 30 days following adjudication, unless delayed for good cause. At the dispositional hearing the court will receive testimony and other relevant information with regard to the safety and well being of the child. The court may enter orders regarding case planning which sets forth the responsibilities and timelines necessary to achieve permanency for the child; and the custody of the child. Read Kansas law 38-2253.

At the disposition hearing the presiding judge will make one of several dispositional orders authorized by the child in need of care statute. Prior to making such order the court is to consider (1) the child's physical, mental, and emotional condition; (2) the child's need for assistance; (3) the manner in which the parent participated in the abuse, neglect or abandonment of the child; (4) any relevant information from the intake and assessment process; and (5) and the evidence received at the hearing. Read Kansas law 38-2255(a)

CUSTODY ORDERS. After considering the evidence presented the court will make one of the following orders in reference to custody of the child:

(1) Placement of the child with a parent. The court can place the child in the custody of either of the child's parents subject to terms and conditions which the court prescribes to assure the proper care and protection of the child, including but not limited to:
a. Supervision of the child and the parent by a court services officer;
b. Participation by the child and the parent in available programs operated by an appropriate individual or agency; and
c. Any special treatment or care which the child needs for the child's physical, mental or emotional health and safety.

(2) Removal of a child from the custody of a parent. If the court removes the child from the custody of the parent the court can place the child in the custody of a relative of the child or a person with whom the child has close emotional ties, to any other suitable person, to a shelter facility, to a youth residential facility or to the secretary. If the child is not currently in the custody of a parent at the dispositional hearing or removed from the custody of the parent at the dispositional hearing, the court will also determine whether reintegration is a viable alternative or, if reintegration is not a viable alternative, whether the child should be placed for adoption or a permanent custodian should be appointed.

OTHER ORDERS. At the dispositional hearing additional orders relating to the safety and wll being of the child may be made to include:
(1) Orders for reasonable visitation rights to any person after making a finding that visitation rights would be in the best interest of the child.
(2) Restraining orders.
(3) Orders for the child and the child's parents to attend counseling.
(4) Orders for or if alcohol or drugs is an issue, to submit to and complete an alcohol and drug evaluation and comply with the recommendations,
(5) Orders for one or both parents to pay child support, and when the custody is awarded to the secretary the court shall order one or both parents to pay child support. Read Kansas law 2255(g)
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Who will receive notice of the dispositional hearing?

All parties to the case are entitled notice to the dispositional hearing, in addition to the child's foster parents, pre-adoptive parents if applicable, the child's grandparents, and any person having custody of the child. Notice shall be given by first class mail, not less than 10 business days before the hearing.
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What is reintegration?

"Reintegration" is a process by which a child is reintroduced back into the family home after being removed from the home. If reintegration is found to be a viable option a "reintegration plan" or "permanency plan" will be adopted by the court. Such plan with require the parent(s) will to successfully complete tasks which will ideally better position him/her to take care of his/her child. As the parent(s) successfully completes tasks on the reintegration/ permanency plan and returns to a position where he/she is better able to meet the needs of the child, through a gradual increase in visitation, the child should ultimately be returned to the home of his/her parent(s).
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When is reintegration not a viable option?
The court will consider the following in determining the viability of reintegration:

(1) Whether a parent has been found by a court to have committed, aided and abetted, attempted, conspired or solicited the commission of one of the following crimes.
a. Murder in the first degree,
b. Murder in the second decree,
c. Capital murder,
d. Voluntary manslaughter, or
e. Felony battery that resulted in bodily injury.

(2) Whether a parent has subjected the child or another child to aggravated circumstances;

(3) Whether a parent has previously been found to be an unfit parent;

(4) Whether the child has been in extended out of home placement;

(5) Whether the parents have failed to work diligently toward reintegration;

(6) Whether the secretary has provided the family with services necessary for the safe return of the child to the home; and

(7) Whether it is reasonable to expect reintegration to occur within a time frame consistent with the child's developmental needs.

After considering the above factors the court will determine whether reintegration is viable. The more factors present, the less likely reintegration will be found to be a viable option. If the court finds that reintegration is not viable, proceedings to terminate parental rights and permit placement of the child for adoption or appointment of a permanent custodian shall be initiated within thirty days of a finding being made that reintegration is not a viable option unless the court finds that compelling reasons have been documented in the case plan why adoption or appointment of a permanent custodian would not be in the best interests of the child. Read Kansas law 38-2255
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What is a permanency plan?

Read Kansas law 38-2263

Child in need of care proceedings are to be handled in a way that there is an acknowledgment that the time perception of a child differs from that of an adult. Read Kansas law 38-2201(b). The goal of these proceedings is to achieve permanency for the child at issue. The concept is that each and every child deserves permanency and stability in their living situations. In planning for permanency the safety and well being are paramount.
Read Kansas law 38-2263.

In determining the appropriate permanency plan for a child Kansas law 38-2263(a) requires that the importance of continuity of family relationships and connections being preserved is considered.

Kansas statutes require that anytime a child is subject to the jurisdiction of the court in a child in need of care proceeding a permanency plan shall be submitted to the court within thirty days of the initial order of the court.

A permanency plan is often the result of a case planning/ family meeting.

A permanency plan is a document prepared for the court which does the following:

1) Describes the permanency goal which, if achieved, will most likely give the child a permanent and safe living arrangement.
2) Describes the child's level of physical health, mental and emotional health, and educational functioning;
3) Provides an assessment of the needs of the child and family;
4) Describes the services to be provided the child, the child's parents and the child's foster parents if appropriate;
5) Includes the description of the tasks and responsibilities designed to achieve the plan and to whom assigned; and
6) Includes measurable objectives and time schedules for achieving the plan.
7) If the child is in an out of home placement the plan is also required to include:
a. A plan for reintegration of the child's parent or parents or if reintegration is determined not to be a viable alternative, a statement for the basis of that conclusion and a plan for anther permanent living arrangement;
b. A description of the available placement alternatives;
c. A justification for the placement selected, including a description of the safety and appropriateness of the placement; and
d. A description of the programs and services which will help the child prepare to live independently as an adult.
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What is case planning/ family meeting?

Once a child is removed from your custody if the child is placed in SRS custody there will be a twenty-four hour meeting which is set up to discuss what is to come. At that meeting a future meeting which may be referred to as the case planning meeting or family meeting will be held. This is usually held within ten (10) days of your child being taken into custody and at least every five or six months following your child being taken into custody up until the resolution of the case. The case-planning meeting will usually take place at the office of the private contract managing the custody of your children.

The state through its contractor will facilitate the meeting. Individuals present at the meeting will include the assigned case manager, possibly a representative from SRS, a ?third party? (an uninvolved individual employed by the contractor who sits in on the meeting), the parents of the child, the child if over the age of ten, the Guardian ad Litem (GAL), possibly the child's therapist, grandparents, foster parents, and other involved parties.

At this meeting a goal will be determined often referred to as the ?case plan goal.? Most often there is a dual case plan goal of reintegration and adoption/ permanent custodianship. At the meeting the strengths and weaknesses of the family are discussed and tasks are assigned to parties to help achieve the stated goal. At this meeting the parties will often be referred to community resources which can assist to help accomplish the assigned tasks. These tasks are what often comprise the court ordered reintegration or permanency plan.

The case-planning/ family meeting is one of the most important steps to regain custody of your children. At the case-planning meeting, you, the case manager, and other persons will identify the issues to be resolved before you can bring your children home. The case planning team will require tasks for you to accomplish, and refer you to resources to accomplish those tasks.

Parties should receive notice of this meeting at least ten days prior to the date and time of the scheduled meeting.
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How can I participate in a "case planning meeting?"

If your children are in foster care, you will be invited to a case planning meeting. Your first meeting will take place shortly after your case commences. The case-planning meeting will usually take place at the office of the private contract managing the custody of your children.

The case-planning meeting is one of the most important steps to regain custody of your children. At the case-planning meeting, you, the case manager, and other persons will identify the issues to be resolved before you can bring your children home. The case planning team will require tasks for you to accomplish, and refer you to resources to accomplish those tasks.

Your attitude at the case-planning meeting will determine your relationship with your case manager and other professionals. At the beginning of your case, they want to help you bring home your children. You should be open to their help. Their reports to the court will indicate whether you were cooperative and willing to accept their assistance.

The case manager also needs your help. Case managers have too many cases, and all of them are important. Consequently, case managers might write a generic case plan that does not take into account the unique needs of you and your children. You can help write an effective case plan by openly disclosing what you and your children need. The case manager can then identify tasks and resources for you to receive that help.

You should also insist that the objectives and tasks in the case plan are "SMART." SMART is an acronym that stands for Specific, Measurable, Action Words, Relevant, and Time Specified.

For example, the case manager might set as a goal that your child will have her physical, mental and social needs met. This phrase is fine as a goal, but it is not an objective or a task. The objective or task would be something specific, measurable, action words, relevant and time specified (SMART). For example, the objective might say that your child will commence individual therapy with a counselor provided by Catholic Charities within three weeks after the case plan.

SMART case plans increase your chances for reintegration with your children. Vague and immeasurable objectives leave you wondering what you are required to do.
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What is a "permanency hearing?"

Read Kansas law 38-2264.

A permanency hearing is a proceeding held to determine progress toward the accomplishment of a permanency plan. A permanency hearing shall be held within 12 months of the date the child entered out of home placement and less frequently than every 12 months thereafter. If the court determines at any time that reintegration may not be a viable alternative for the child, a permanency hearing shall be held no later than 30 days following that determination.
At this proceeding the court (or citizen review board) will determine whether and, if applicable, when the child will be:
(1) Reintegrated with the child's parents
(2) Placed for adoption;
(3) Placed with a permanent custodian; or
(4) If the secretary has document compelling reasons why it would not be in the child's best interests for a placement in one of the placements pursuant to paragraphs (1), (2), or (3) placed in another planned arrangement.
At this proceeding the court will enter a finding as to whether the person or entity having custody of the child has made reasonable efforts to accomplish the permanency plan. The court may rescind any of its prior dispositional orders and enter any dispositional order authorized by this code or may order that a new plan for the reintegration be prepared and submitted to the court. At this hearing the court could also find that reintegration is no longer a viable option.
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Who should receive notice of the permanency hearing?

Read Kansas law 38-2265

Notice shall be given to all parties and interested and the child's foster parent(s), permanent custodian providing care for the child: pre-adoptive parents of the child if any; the child's grandparents, or if not grandparent is living or if no living grandparent's address is known, to the closes relative of each of the child's parents whose address is known; and the person having custody of the child. This notice shall be given by first class mail, not less then 10 business days before the hearing.
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What is "permanent custodianship?"

Read Kansas law 38-2272.

A permanent custodianship is an arrangement in which an individual(s) is appointed by the court as a permanent guardian of a child. This is similar to an adoption in that a certain individual(s) is designated by the court as the permanent caregiver(s) for the child, but the court may continue to have jurisdiction over such arrangement until the child turns eighteen.

Subject to a specific order otherwise a permanent custodian shall stand in loco parentis (in the place of the parent) and shall exercise all of the rights and responsibilities of a parent except the permanent custodian shall not (1) consent to the adoption of the child; and (2) be subject to court ordered child support or medical care. Pursuant to Kansas law 38-2272(d) the court may impose limitations or conditions upon the rights and responsibilities of a permanent custodian such as the court can determine the appropriate contact with the biological parents, consent to marriage, consent to psychosurgery, removal of a bodily organ or amputation of a limb; consent to sterilization; consent to behavioral and medical experiments; consents to withholding life-prolonging medical treatment; consent to placement in a treatment facility; or consent to placement in a psychiatric hospital or an institution for developmentally disabled. Another frequent example of such limitations on a permanent custodian would be ordering grandparent visitation as part of permanent custodianship order.

If a permanent custodian is appointed prior to a termination of parental rights the parent(s) retain the following rights and responsibilities: (1) the obligation to pay child support and medical support; the right to inherit from the child; and the right to consent to adoption of the child, all other parental rights transfer to the permanent custodian. If a permanent custodian is appointed after termination of parental rights, the parent retains no right or responsibilities to the child.
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How is a permanent custodian appointed?

Read Kansas law 38-2272(a).

Either in the original petition initiating the child in need of care case or in a motion made in the existing proceeding under the child in need of care code any party or interested party may request that either or both parties be found unfit and the parental rights of either or both parents be terminated or a permanent custodian be appointed.

The court may appoint a permanent custodian(s) for a child after either (1) receiving the consent of the parents; (2) a finding of unfitness of the parents; or (3) termination of parental rights.

Prior to appointing a permanent custodian, the court shall receive and consider a home study of any potential permanent custodian. In addition, the court must make a finding that permanent custodianship rather then adoption is in the best interest of the child. Some Judges veer away from granting permanent custodianship in cases where a young child is at issue.
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What is a termination hearing? How are parental rights terminated?

A termination hearing is hearing set on a party's motion for a finding of unfitness and for termination of parental rights.

If the court finds that reintegration is not a viable option, and there is no compelling reason to support a finding that neither adoption nor appointment of a permanent custodian are in the child's best interest, the petitioner will be required to file a motion to terminate parental rights or to appoint a permanent custodian within 30 days of such finding. Or at anytime either under an original child in need of care petition or in a motion made in the existing proceedings any party or interested party may request that either or both parents be found unfit and the parental rights of either or both parents be terminated.

At the termination hearing the court will hear evidence on the movant's motion and determine whether or not there is clear and convincing to prove the allegations therein. If the court finds by clear and convincing evidence that a parent is unfit by reason of conduct or condition which renders the parent(s) unable to care properly for a child and the conduct or condition is unlikely to change in the foreseeable future the parent(s) will be found unfit. Following a finding of unfitness the court will consider whether termination of parental rights is in the best interests of the child. In making this determination the court will give primary consideration to the physical, mental and emotional health of the child. If the court finds that the physical, mental or emotional needs of the child would best be served by termination of parental rights, the court will terminate parental rights.
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Who will receive notice of a termination hearing? How will notice be given?

All parties and interested parties, all the child's grandparents or if no grandparent is living or if no living grandparent's address is known, to the closest relative of each of the child's parents whose address is known, in any case in which a parent of a child cannot be located by the exercise of due diligence, to the parents nearest relative who can be located, if any; and to the foster parents, pre-adoptive parents or relatives providing care shall receive notice. Notice shall be given by return receipt delivery not less than 10 business days before the hearing.
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What can a parent do short of having the termination hearing to eliminate the risk of being found "unfit?"

Prior to a hearing to consider termination of parental rights with the consent of the guardian ad litem and the secretary either or both parents may relinquish parental rights to the child to SRS, consent to an adoption or consent to appointment of permanent custodian. Such consents must be signed in writing before a judge of a court of record.
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Are there any future potential ramifications to an unfitness finding?

Read Kansas law 38-2271(a)(1).

If a parent has previously been found to be an unfit parent he/she will be presumed to be unfit in any future child in need of care proceedings.
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What is a presumption of unfitness?

Read Kansas law 38- 2271.

The parent who is presumed unfit will have the burden of proving he or she is not unfit in any future child in need of care proceeding. If he or she fails to do so, the court will terminate the parent's parental rights. Absent the presumption the movant would maintain the burden of proving unfitness.

A parent is presumed to be unfit by reason of conduct or condition which renders the parent unable to fully care for the child if, it can be established by clear and convincing evidence that:

1) A parent has previously been found to be unfit;
2) A parent has twice before been convicted of crime against a person, sex offense, or crime affecting family relationships and children and the victim was under the age of 18;
3) On two or more prior occasions a child in the physical custody of the parent has been adjudicated a child in need of care because the child was without adequate parental care, control or subsistence and the condition is not due solely to lack of financial means of the child's parents or other custodian; has been physically, mentally, or emotionally abused or neglected or sexually abused; has been abandoned or does not have a known living parent; or has been residing in the same residence with a sibling or another person under 18 years of age, who has been physically, mentally or emotionally abused or neglected, or sexually abused;
4) The parent has been convicted of causing the death of another child or stepchild of the parent;
5) The child has been in an out-of-home placement, under court order for a cumulative total period of one year or longer and the parent has substantially neglected or willfully refused to carry out a reasonable plan, approved by the court, directed toward reintegration of the child into the parental home;
6) The child has been in an out-of-home placement; under court order for a cumulative total period of two years or longer; the parent has failed to carry out a reasonable plan, approved by the court, directed toward reintegration of the child into parental home; and there is a substantial probability that the parent will not carry out such plan in the near future;
7) A parent has been convicted of capital murder, murder in the first degree, murder in the second degree, or voluntary manslaughter and or has been adjudicated a juvenile offender because of an act which if committed by an adult would be an offense named and the victim of such murder was the other parent of the child;
8) A parent abandoned or neglected the child after having knowledge of the child's birth or either parent has been granted immunity from prosecution for abandonment of the child;
9) A parent has made no reasonable efforts to support or communicate with the child after having knowledge of the child's birth;
10) A father, after having knowledge of the pregnancy, failed without reasonable cause to provide support for the mother during the six months prior to the child's birth;
11) a father abandoned the mother after having knowledge of the pregnancy;
12) A parent has been convicted of rape resulting in the conception of the child; or
13) A parent has failed or refused to assume the duties of a parent for two consecutive years next preceding the filing of the petition.

The parent then has the burden to prove that he/she is not unfit. In the absence of proof that the parent is presently fit and able to care for the child or that parent will be fit and able to care for the child in the foreseeable future, the court will terminate the parent's parental rights.
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What are grounds for an unfitness finding?

Read Kansas law 38-2269.

In making a determination of unfitness the court shall consider, but is not limited to, the following:

(1) Emotional illness, mental illness, mental deficiency or physical disability of the parent, of such duration or nature as to render the parent unable to care for the ongoing physical, mental and emotional needs of the child;
(2) Conduct toward a child of a physically, emotionally or sexually cruel and abusive nature;
(3) The use of intoxicating liquors or narcotic or dangerous drugs of such duration or nature as to render the parent unable to care for the ongoing physical, mental or emotional needs of the child;
(4) Physical, mental or emotional abuse or neglect or sexual abuse of a child;
(5) Conviction of a felony and imprisonment;
(6) Unexplained injury or death of another child or stepchild of th parent or any child in the care of the parent at the time of injury or death;
(7) Failure of reasonable efforts made by appropriate public or private agencies to rehabilitate the family;
(8) Lack of effort on the part of the parent to adjust the parent's circumstances, conduct or conditions to meet the needs of the child;
(9) When the child is not in the physical custody of the parent, the court, shall consider, but is not limited to the following;
a. Failure to assure care of the child in the parental home when able to do so;
b. Failure to maintain regular visitation, contact or communication with the child or with the custodian of the child;
c. Failure to care out a reasonable plan approved by the court directed toward the integration of the child into a parental home; and
d. Failure to pay a reasonable portion of the cost of substitute physical care and maintenance based on ability to pay.
(10) If the parent(s) have abandoned the child, the custody of the child is surrendered, or the child was left under such circumstances that the identity of the parents are unknown and cannot be ascertained, despite diligent searching, and the parents have not come forward to claim the child within three months after the child is found; or
(11) If a person is convicted of a felony which sexual intercourse occurred, or if a juvenile is adjudicated a juvenile offender because of an act which, if committed by an adult would be a felony in which sexual intercourse occurred, and as a result of the sexual intercourse, a child is conceived.

The existence of any one of these factors may but does not necessarily establish grounds for a finding of unfitness. Before entering a finding of unfitness the court must find by clear and convincing evidence that the parent is unfit by reason or conduct or condition which renders the parent unable to care properly for a child and that conduct or condition is unlikely to change in the foreseeable future.
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What happens to a child after parental rights are terminated or a finding of parental unfitness is made?

The goal of the child in need of care code is to obtain permanency for children. Upon termination of parental rights or a finding of parental unfitness the court may authorize adoption, appointment of a permanent custodian or continued permanency planning.

The court may award custody of the child to SRS, or the proposed adoptive parent to achieve the authorized permanency objective, or issue orders of permanent custodianship.

If an individual or agency is granted custody for the purposes of adoption, permanent custodianship, or other permanency plan, the custodian will be responsible for submitting a written plan for permanent placement which shall include measureable objectives and time schedules to the court within thirty (30) days of receiving custody. The court is required to have regular permanency review hearings until permanency is achieved for the child.
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What if following termination SRS is granted custody and a party disagrees with how SRS is handling things?

Read Kansas law 38-2264(h).

If the child is placed in the custody of SRS and a party feels that SRS is not making reasonable efforts or progress towards achieve permanency for the child, a motion can be filed requesting the court find that reasonable efforts or progress have not been made toward achieving permanency for the child. If the court makes such finding, the previous orders can be rescinded and the court can make new orders regarding custody that are appropriate under the circumstances, otherwise SRS will maintain custody and authority of placement decisions for the child.
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Resources for Child Abuse & Neglect

Community Resources

Abuse Hotline 1-800-922-5330
http://www.srskansas.org/hotlines.htm

Guide to Community Services http://www.srskansas.org/community_services/Johnson.htm

Community services, many of them free or reduced cost, listed for each county by categories for Children & Families, Counseling Services, Disability Services, Education, Food Assistance, Health Care, Shelter/Housing, and Utility Assistance. This link takes you to the Johnson County page, but you can select other counties from there.

Kansas Department of Social and Rehabilitation Services ("SRS") http://www.srskansas.org

The Farm, Inc.
http://www.the_farm.org/fostercare.html

Kaw Valley Center
http://www.kawvalley.org/

Children’s Alliance of Kansas
http://www.childally.org/index.html

Associated Youth Services

Catholic Charities– Catholic Community Services http://www.archkck.org/Chancery/catcharities.asp

Kansas Children’s Service League
http://www.kcsl.org

Johnson County District Attorney– Juvenile Division http://courts.jocoks.com/da_juv.htm

Inside Juvenile Detention Center (JDC): http://www.jocofamily.net/InsideJDC.html
Video tour of the Johnson County Juvenile Detention Center

Understanding Kansas Truancy Laws
http://www.jocofamily.net/TLaws.html
Video explanations of Kansas Truancy Laws

General legal reference page, with links to all courts, statutes, legal news, and self help resources.
http://www.findlaw.com

Find a lawyer in another city.
http://www.lawyers.com
http://martindale.com


Resources: Books about Child Abuse & Neglect

No information about this topic is available at this time.

Read the Law: Child Abuse & Neglect

Read the Law
Enter the statute number in the on-line Kansas Legislature Statute Directory. Go to: http://www.kslegislature.org/cgi-bin/statutes/index.cgi

Kansas law numbers are provided below for:

Revised Kansas Code for Care of Children
Chapter 38, Article 22

Statute number and description

38-2201 Citation; Construction of Code: Policy of the State
38-2202 Definitions
38-2203 Jurisdiction; age of child, presumptions
38-2204 Venue
38-2205 Right to counsel, guardian ad litem
38-2206 Appointment of special advocate
38-2207 Citizen Review Boards, members
38-2208 Same, duties and powers
38-2209 Confidentiality of child in need of care records; penalties; immunities
38-2210 Parties exchanging information
38-2211 Court records; preservation of records
38-2212 Child in need of care reports; exchange of, access to and disclosure of information; liability; unlawful acts. 38-2213 Records of law enforcement agencies 38-2214 Duties of county or district attorney
38-2215 Docket fee and expenses
38-2216 Expenses of care and custody of child
38-2217 Health Services
38-2218 Educational decisions; education advocates for exception children
38-2219 Evaluation of development of needs of child
38-2220 Parentage
38-2221 Fingerprints and photographs
38-2222 Public information and educational program; reporting of suspected abuse and neglect
38-2223 Reporting of certain abuse or neglect of children; persons reporting; reports, made to whom; penalties; immunity from liability
38-2224 Same; employer prohibited from imposing sanctions on employee making report or cooperating in investigation; penalty
38-2225 Same; reporting of certain abuse or neglect of children in institutions operated by the secretary; rules and regulations
38-2226 Investigation of reports; coordination between agencies
38-2227 Child advocacy centers
38-2228 Multidisciplinary team
38-2229 Investigation of abuse or neglect; subpoena; request to quash
38-2230 Same; duties of SRS
38-2231 Children under 18, when law enforcement officers or court services officers may take into custody; sheltering a runaway
38-2232 Child under 18 taken into custody; duties of officers; referral of cases for proceedings under this code and interstate compact on juveniles; placed in shelter facility or with other person; application of law enforcement officer; release of child
38-2233 Filing of petition on referral by SRS or other person; filing by individual
38-2234 Pleadings
38-2235 Procedure upon filing of petition
38-2236 Summons; persons to be served; notice of hearing
38-2237 Service of Process
38-2238 Proof of Service
38-2239 Service of other pleadings
38-2240 Subpoenas; witness fees
38-2241 Additional parties
38-2242 Ex parte orders of protective custody; application; determination of probable cause; period of time; placement; procedures; orders for removal of child from custody of parent, limitations
38-2243 Orders of temporary custody; notice; hearing; procedure; findings; placement; orders for removal of child from custody of parent, limitation
38-2244 Order for informal supervision; restraining orders
38-2245 Discovery
38-2246 Continuances
38-2247 Attendance at proceedings; confidentiality
38-2248 Stipulations and no contest statements
38-2249 Rules of Evidence
38-2250 Degree of proof
38-2251 Adjudication
38-2252 Predispositional alternative; placement with person other than child's parent; conference, recommendations; immunity
38-2253 Dispositional hearing; purpose; time
38-2254 Same; notice
38-2255 Authorized dispositions
38-2256 Rehearing
38-2257 Permanency planning at disposition
38-2258 Change of placement; removal from home of parent; findings by court
38-2259 Emergency change of placement; removal from home of parent, findings of court
38-2260 Placement; order directing child to remain in present or future placement, application for determination that child has violated order; procedure; authorized dispositions; limitations on facilities used for placement; computation of time limitations
38-2261 Reports by foster parents
38-2262 Placement; testimony of certain children
38-2263 Permanency planning
38-2264 Permanency hearing; purpose; procedure; time for hearing
38-2265 Same; notice
38-2266 Request for termination of parental rights or appointment of permanent custodian
38-2267 Procedure upon receipt of request
38-2268 Voluntary relinquishment; voluntary permanent custodianship
38-2269 Factors to be considered in termination of parental rights; appointment of permanent custodian
38-2270 Placement; testimony of certain children
38-2271 Presumption of unfitness, when; burden of proof.
38-2272 Appointment of permanent custodian
38-2273 Appeals; procedure; verification
38-2274 Temporary orders pending appeal; status of orders appealed from.
38-2275 Fees and expenses.
38-2276 Prohibiting detainment or placement of child in jail.
38-2277 Determination of child support.
38-2278 Journal entry for child support
38-2279 Withholding order for child support; filing; service
38-2280 Remedies supplemental not substitute
38-2281 Family services and community intervention fund; child in need of care; purpose of expenditure of moneys
38-2282 Newborn infant protection act
38-2283 Application to existing cases

Understanding Kansas Truancy Laws- Video explanations of Kansas Truancy Laws http://www.jocofamily.net/TLaws.html


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