Families In Need of Services (FINS) is a legislatively created juvenile court proceeding enacted into law upon passage of the Louisiana Children’s Code in 1991. The purpose of FINS, Title VII, is to (1) define self-destructive behaviors by the child and (2) conduct by other family members that contributes to the child’s harm and warrants court intervention in the family’s life, so that appropriate services to remedy the family’s dysfunction can be secured.
The elements of Title VII consist of the following:
- secures the effectiveness of the court’s intervention by explicitly confirming its' duty to obtain the cooperation and coordination of all public institutions or agencies having responsibility to supply services to any member of the family referred to the court;
- requires establishing, when appropriate, a family service plan binding upon all family members and the appropriate service providers; and
- protects the integrity of the family by authorizing adjudication and the imposition of a disposition judgment requiring participation in a plan of services only after available voluntary alternatives have been exhausted.
Referrals are accepted by the FINS Division from parents, law enforcement, schools or concerned adults, when:
- a child is ungovernable;
- a child is truant or has willfully and repeatedly violated lawful school rules;
- a child is a runaway;
- a child has repeatedly possessed or consumed intoxicating beverages or has misrepresented or deceived their 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;
- a child under ten years of age has committed any act which if committed by an adult would be a crime under any federal, state or local law;
- a caretaker has caused, encouraged or contributed to a child’s behaviors enumerated in this above, or to the commission of delinquent acts;
- a caretaker, after notice, 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; or
- a child has committed an offense applicable only to children.