Families in Need of Service (FINS)
Families In Need of Services (FINS) established jurisdiction of juvenile courts to intervene, to prevent the ripening of family conflict, delinquency, abuse and neglect. FINS is an intervention process aimed at preventing formal juvenile court involvement, therein reducing the number of children/youth lodged in the court system.
What is the purpose of FINS?
- To curtail self-destructing behaviors by the child and conduct by other family members which contribute to the child's harm and which warrant court intervention in the family's life so that appropriate services to remedy the family's dysfunction can be secured;
- To secure the effectiveness of court's intervention by obtaining the cooperation and coordination of all public institutions or agencies having responsibility to supply service to any member of the family referred to the court;
- To establish a family service plan, which is binding upon all family members and the appropriate services provider;
- And to protect the integrity of the family by authorizing adjudication and the imposition of a dispositional judgment requiring participation in a plan of service only after all available voluntary alternatives have been exhausted.
Who can request assistance?
- Referrals can be made by parents, schools officials, police officers, district attorneys, judges, or concerned citizens.
- Referrals can be made in person at Jefferson Parish Juvenile Court.
When should assistance be requested?
- If a child has unexcused absences (truancy) and repeatedly violates school rules.
- If a child is ungovernable.
- If a child is a runaway.
- If a child has repeatedly possessed consumed intoxicating beverages, or has misrepresented or deceived his age for the purpose of purchasing or receiving such beverages.
- If a child has committed an offense (i.e. gambling, purchase or use of alcohol, cigarettes, etc.).
- If a child under ten years of age has committed any offense which by law if committed by adult would be a crime under any federal, state, or local law.
- If a caretaker has caused, encouraged, or contributed to the child's delinquent behavior.
- If, after notice, a caretaker has willfully failed to attend a meeting with the child's teacher, school principal, or other appropriate school employee to discuss the child's truancy, repeated violation of school rules, or other serious educational problems.
Who is the FINS Officer?
The FINS Officer serves as a neutral third party, which helps to resolve individual/family conflict, by identifying problem areas and coordinating services without formal court intervention. There are three principal features of the FINS' process:
- Authority of the court to intervene even though the child is not delinquent and the parent has not violated any obligations established by the children's code.
- Authorization to develop and implement a plan for resolving child/family disputes under the supervision of the court.
- Court responsibility to insure that services provided by public agencies are made available to meet the needs of the family.
FINS is designed to bring together resources for the purpose of helping families to remedy self-destructive behaviors.
At least five district state agencies have responsibility for providing service to families who appear before the juvenile courts:
- Department of Social Services
- Office of Youth Development
- Department of Health and Hospitals
- Department of Education
- Department of Labor
Representatives of private community agencies may also be included. If an Informal Family Service Plan agreement is reached, both public and private agency representatives are signatories and commit themselves to the completion of the plan. If formal court intervention (adjudicative process) becomes necessary, the court has the power to order any public institution or agency and its representatives to provide available services and make semi-annual progress reports.
Voluntary Transfer of Custody
This court does handle voluntary transfers of custody from a parent to a non-parent. Either the parent or the non-parent must live in Jefferson Parish AND there must be no custody judgment regarding the minor previously rendered by another court. Voluntary transfer packets are available at Jefferson Parish Juvenile Court and on this website. Please note the Jefferson Parish Juvenile Court does not address transfers of custody between parents.
See our Printable Forms page for a printable Application for Judicial Bypass.