What if my child does not show up for the Preliminary Hearing in a Child Requiring Assistance (CRA) case?

Produced by Massachusetts Law Reform Institute
Created February, 2021

If the clerk thinks the only way to get your child to the Preliminary Hearing is by ordering them to come, the clerk can issue a summons that says your child must come to the Hearing.

The summons has a copy of the CRA Application attached. The summons has the time and place of the Preliminary Hearing.

If your child got a summons

If your child does not show up for the Preliminary Hearing after they got a summons, the judge can issue a Warrant of Protective Custody.

A Warrant of Protective Custody orders a law enforcement officer to pick up your child and bring them to court for a hearing.

At the hearing the judge decides to:

  • Send your child home with you, or
  • Place your child in the custody of the Department of Children and Families for no more than 15 days.

The order can be extended twice, for a total of 45 days.

In short

If your child does not show up for the Preliminary hearing, they risk:

  • Being brought to court by a law enforcement officer, and
  • Being placed in the custody of DCF for up to 45 days.

If your child did not get a summons

If your child did not get a summons to come to the Preliminary Hearing and they do not show up at the Hearing, the clerk can issue a summons.

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