FINS or Families In Need of Services are programs for families on the verge of crisis due to the ungovernable behavior of a child. The primary goal of FINS is to secure appropriate services to remedy the family’s dysfunction.
Advantages to FINS
- Informal process
- Focus on the family
- Early intervention
- Receipt of needed services, rather than imposing a punishment
- When a FINS officer is involved, the recidivism rate (relapse into criminal behavior) is reduced to 3% or less.
VYJ’s FINS program worked with 322 families to secure appropriate family Services in 2021-2022.
So How Does It Work?
- Submit a written complaint alleging a family is in need of services.
- Anyone may file a complaint/make referral.
- Most common: law enforcement, school officials and parents make referrals.
The complaint must allege at least one of the grounds listed under ChC Article 730:
- Child is truant or has willfully and repeatedly violated lawful school rules.
- Child is ungovernable.
- Child is a runaway.
- Child repeatedly possessed or consumed intoxicating beverages, or that he has misrepresented or deceived his age for the purpose of purchasing or receiving such beverages from any person, or has repeatedly loitered around any place where such beverages are the principal commodities sold or handled.
- Child committed an offense applicable only to children. (Smoking/purchasing tobacco)
- Child under 10 years of age committed any act which if committed by an adult would be a crime under any federal, state, or local law.
- Caretaker has caused, encouraged, or contributed to the child’s behavior under this Article or to the commission of delinquent acts by minor.
- After notice, caretaker willfully failed to attend meeting with child’s teacher, school principal, or other appropriate school employee to discuss child’s truancy, the child’s repeated violation of school rules, or other serious educational problems of the child.
- Child found incompetent to proceed with a delinquency matter.
- Repealed by Acts 2012, No. 730 § 2. (Child found in possession of handgun or semiautomatic handgun under circumstances that reasonably tend to exclude any lawful purpose.)
Director of Court Programs