St. Cloud Child Protection Attorney

Wanda Gierman has been involved in child protection cases since 2004. Before starting her private practice, the court appointed her to represent children in juvenile court. She is on the Minnesota Supreme court roster of attorneys qualified to handle juvenile cases. She supervises and advises other attorneys taking on juvenile cases. Juvenile cases can be emotional for the parents involved and the parents need sound legal advice and someone who will stand up for their wishes in court.

Child in Need of Protective Service (CHIPS)

Child in need of protective services (CHIPS) are cases handled by juvenile court. These cases typically originate when social services becomes involved with families due to allegations of child neglect, abuse or truancy. Social services, or in some cases a private party, files a petition which begins the case. If an individual is charged with a criminal case involving child endangerment, social services is notified and may open an investigation. Once social services is contacted and opens a case, they are required to investigate to determine if the allegations are true.

The child may be removed from the home during the investigation and placed in the care of a relative or in a foster home. Social services gives the family a case plan that must be completed in order for the child to be returned home.

These cases are stressful for both the parents and children. It is important to have an experienced legal advisor advocating for you and your child.


Termination of Parental Rights

Termination of parental rights ends the parent-child relationship, rendering the child free to be legally adopted by someone other than their biological parent. The process of terminating of parental rights can be complex, and Minnesota courts take these issues very seriously.

Involuntary termination of parental rights cannot be reversed, it is a permanent court ruling. Involuntary termination can occur when one of these situations applies:

  1. Abandonment- The parent deserts the child and escapes duties of a parent.
  2. Parental Neglect- The parent has continuously or repeatedly neglected the child despite the efforts of social services and the situation cannot reasonably be improved.
  3. Financial Neglect- The parent has been ordered by the court to pay child support and failed to do so without showing justifiable cause.
  4. Unfit Parent- The parent is unfit to raise the child.
  5. Egregious Harm- The parent is causing egregious harm to the child.

Minnesota Courts give the parent every opportunity to prove they are fit to raise their child, as children are often harmed by not having a parent. These cases are tough for everyone involved. We offer free consultations to learn more about your specific situation.


Transfer of Custody

When social services is involved in a child protection case, the parent is given a case plan. If the parent fails to  meet the case plan goals, human services develops a plan for the child. This may include transfer of custody of the child to a relative or non-custodial parent. Ms. Gierman will explain your rights and options.


Juvenile Delinquency

When a Juvenile violates a criminal law, the case is typically dealt with in juvenile court. There are many similarities in the process as adult criminal cases, but there are also some significant differences.

Juvenile courts believe juveniles are not as responsible for their behavior as adults, because juveniles lack judgement and are primarily in need of rehabilitation. Juvenile courts are oriented toward problem solving.

Juveniles are not “convicted” of a crime, but rather “adjudicated of delinquency”. Courts typically keep juvenile records closed from the public, to avoid having a record follow a minor. Many times the attorney is appointed by the government to represent the child, but parents can also hire a private attorney to represent their child.

If your child is facing a juvenile delinquency charge, reach out to Ms. Gierman for a free consultation.

We look forward to representing you