Mass. Bill Aims To Help Troubled Kids, Families

August 5, 2012 12:00 AM
Mass. Bill Aims To Help Troubled Kids, Families
" BOSTON (AP) — Massachusetts youth who routinely skip school, run away from home and find themselves in trouble could soon benefit from legislation that seeks to overhaul the system that handles their cases.

Passed in the state Legislature shortly this week, the bill would overhaul the state’s Children In Need of Services program, which handles kids between the ages of 6 and 17 who often get into trouble.

If signed by Gov. Deval Patrick, it would create a timeframe for children to receive social services under the program, require school districts to implement truancy prevention efforts for students who often miss school and attempt to remove the stigma of the current system by removing the “CHINS” label for these children.

The bill also aims to keep these cases out of Juvenile Court, where they are currently handled, and would place a greater emphasis on family and community by creating community resource centers, among other things.

Supporters of the bill say it will fix the system’s shortcomings when it comes to addressing the needs of troubled children. Patrick hasn’t indicated whether he will sign the bill into law "

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