Do you feel like your child is out of control?

All families experience crisis from time to time. Some issues that challenge parents may be children who skip or miss school, run away from home, refuse to follow directions or make poor life choices. Parents and caregivers may be able to resolve most of these problems quickly, but sometimes families have problems that push them to the limit and they may need CINS/FINS services.

Click Below to download our CINS/FINS Parent Brochure:

The Florida Legislature passed a law (Chapter 984, F.S.) that provides help to Children In Need of Services (CINS) and Families in Need of Services (FINS). These programs are open to children age 6-17 years old and their families. The Florida Department of Juvenile Justice (DJJ) funds and supports these counseling programs to keep kids out of serious trouble. Young people who are runaways, habitually truant, ungovernable (do not obey their guardians) or homeless – and their families – can receive free services to improve their behaviors, resolve conflicts effectively and start communicating again. CINS/FINS programs are in your area and your local agency will walk you through the options that best fit your needs.

A youth may be referred to nonresidential counseling or a short-term residential counseling stay at one of our programs depending on the need of your family. Your counselor will work with you, your child and others to develop a plan that fits you and your child’s needs and goals. Find a program near you.

Sometimes youth need a little extra help. Another form of interventions our staff may utilize is a Case Staffing Committee or CINS Petition.

What is Case Staffing Committee?
A Case Staffing may be requested for a youth by your CINS/FINS counselor after your child is screened and an intake is completed to review your child’s needs. A Case Staffing is held by a committee made up of people from the CINS/FINS program, school board, parent or legal guardian and any other person who may be able to help the committee. You may recommend other people from the community who know, or have worked with, your child and family such as a youth group leader, church pastor or mental health provider to attend the Case Staffing to provide information about your child and family to the committee. The purpose of this Case Staffing is to review your child’s situation and service plan developed by you, your child and the CINS/FINS program. The Case Staffing Committee will meet with you and your child to review the case if:

  • you or your child do not agree with the services or treatment offered; and/or
  • you or your child are not participating in the services or help that has been offered; and/or
  • the CINS/FINS counselor needs help in developing a better plan for you and your child.

The Case Staffing Committee will develop a plan for services, which may include recommending the filing of a CINS petition with the court. A Case Staffing committee may recommend the following options for a youth:

  • Additional Services
  • Referrals to Other Agencies

A parent, guardian or legal custodian of a child may request a Case Staffing be held. We recommend talking with your CINS/FINS counselor before requesting a Case Staffing. To request a Case Staffing Committee meeting, a parent must submit a request in writing to their CINS/FINS provider and they will have seven working days to hold a committee meeting. This seven-day period does not include holidays or weekends.

The Case Staffing Committee will develop a plan for services, which may include recommending the filing of a CINS petition with the court. A parent may request a Case Staffing Committee meeting, by submitting a request in writing to their CINS/FINS provider.

A CINS petition is a formal written request to the court to find that your child is a CINS. A CINS petition is usually filed if the child refuses services or continues to show problem behaviors. The CINS petition may be filed in court, only as a last resort after voluntary services have been offered and have not been enough to resolve the child’s behavior. The local DJJ attorney will file a CINS petition, if recommended by the Case Staffing Committee, and if the child meets the legal definition of a CINS.

If you, as a parent, do not participate, do not allow your child to participate or you allow your child to ignore the services in this plan, you may be ordered to participate in family counseling and other services, and insure your child attends school as part of the CINS Court’s orders. If you fail to abide by court orders, you may be held in contempt of court. You, as a parent or legal guardian, can also file a CINS petition with the court if:

  • The local program will not hold a case staffing after having received your written request for a case staffing, and/or
  • The local program does not schedule a case staffing within seven days of receiving your written request, and/or
  • You do not agree with the service plan made by the Case Staffing Committee, and/or
  • The local program has not given you a report of the reason to recommend or decline a petition within seven days after the case staffing and/or
  • The DJJ waives the statutory requirement for the Case Staffing Committee to meet.

If you wish to file your own CINS petition, the law requires that you let the local DJJ attorney know, in writing, of your wish to file a petition. If you fail to do so, the court may automatically dismiss your petition.

In your CINS petition which must be signed under oath, you must show that you have participated in and tried voluntary services that have been offered and that the services were not enough to help you and your child resolve your problems. Filing a CINS petition is not a way to get emergency mental health services or substance abuse services for your child.

A CINS Court does not have the power to force a school to provide special services for your child, or to force the Department of Children and Families to provide services. If you need help with these types of services, talk with your CINS/FINS counselor and they can refer you to agencies that can assist you. The CINS Court will require the child and family to participate in services provided by either the CINS/FINS provider, or within the community. The parent, guardian or legal custodian will be financially responsible either out-of-pocket or through insurance to pay for community services. Many services are available on a “sliding scale” based on the family’s ability to pay.

Additional Programs

The Florida Network of Youth and Family Services also offers other programs outside of Residential and Non-Residential CINS/FINS services that are designed to target two very different populations.

Stop Now and Plan (SNAP)

Stop Now and Plan (SNAP) is a prevention program designed for youth ages 6-11 and their families.
Learn more about SNAP

Domestic Violence Respite

The Domestic Violence Respite program is for youth who have been charged with domestic violence on a family member and meet the criteria for alternative placement.
Learn more about Domestic Violence Respite