I need to stop a Children Requiring Assistance (CRA) case!

Produced by South Coastal Counties Legal Services (SCCLS)
Reviewed July 2021

I filed a CRA, but I changed my mind. What can I do?

If the judge has not held the Fact-Finding Hearing yet, you can tell the Judge you "withdraw" your CRA application, and the Judge will dismiss the case.You can also ask the Probation Officer to help you tell the Judge.

You do not need to file a Motion to Dsmiss if:

  1. You filed the CRA and
  2. The judge has not yet held the Fact-Finding Hearing.

The school filed an application for a CRA, and I disagree. What can I do?

The court appoints a lawyer for your child as soon as someone files a CRA application. Work with your child’s lawyer. They can file a Motion to Dismiss.

You may be able to help your child in other ways:

  • Apply for services in your community,
  • Ask the school to evaluate your child for special education services, or
  • Do both.

You can also ask your own lawyer to help you file a motion to dismiss. See Your right and your child’s right to a lawyer.

If you do not have a lawyer or you cannot afford a lawyer, you can ask the judge to appoint a lawyer for you.

You have the right to a lawyer if the judge is considering:

  • where your child will live, and
  • who to give custody of your child to.

Important

In CRA cases there is always the possibility that the judge can put your child into the custody of DCF or a family member, so you can argue that custody is an issue and you need a lawyer.

Places to look for services for your child

Family Resource Centers (FRCs)
FRCs can link you to resources and services to help your family and your child.

Children’s Behavioral Health Initiative (CBHI)
helps people find services that meet the individual needs of your child and family including children’s mental health services, in-home therapy and Intensive Care Coordination.

Community Service Agencies
offer a range of services and referrals for low income families from food assistance to finding a job.

Parent/Professional Advocacy League (PPAL)
is a statewide organization dedicated to improving the mental health and wellbeing of children, youth and families through education, advocacy and partnership.

211
Go online or phone the number '211' in Massachusetts to find health and human services available in your community.

Handhold
Offers support for parents around their child’s mental health needs.

Thanks to Jodi Guinn, Attorney, Justice Center of Southeast Massachusetts LLC (Subsidiary of South Coastal Counties Legal Services, Inc.) and Erin O’Sullivan, Staff Attorney, Committee for Public Counsel Services, Youth Advocacy Division

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