Washington County Family Law Attorneys Provide Strong Advocacy in Child Protection Cases

Serving individuals and families throughout Washington County, Dakota County, Burnsville, Stillwater and Woodbury, MN

Minnesota child protection agencies screened more than 56,500 allegations of child maltreatment during 2010, the most recent year for which figures are available. If the state has made wrongful allegations of child abuse or neglect against you, or if you need help securing a safe environment for your child, the family law attorneys at Appelhof, Pfeifer & Hart, P.A. can help. We have the compassion to take on your fight as our own and the knowledge to navigate the legal system on your behalf.

When can a child be placed in protective care?

Minnesota authorities may remove a child from his or her home and place the child in protective care when:

    • The parent or legal guardian fails without justification to have regular contact with the child or show interest in the child’s well-being for six months or more
    • The parent or legal guardian has the means to care for the child but fails to provide adequate food, shelter, clothing or other necessities
    • The parent or legal guardian caused or allowed egregious harm to the child, including:
  • Mental abuse
  • Emotional harm
  • The parent or legal guardian fails to protect the child from conditions or actions that endanger the child
  • The parent or legal guardian fails to ensure the child is educated according to the law
  • The birth mother exposed the child to certain drugs during pregnancy

If the state believes any of these circumstances exist, it may initiate proceedings to remove the child from the parent or legal guardian.

What is a CHIPS petition?

A Child in Need of Protection or Services (CHIPS) petition asks a court to determine that a child needs protection or social services. The petition is generally filed by the county. But if a private citizen reports to the county that he or she has reason to believe a child needs protection, and the county fails to act on the tip, the private citizen can then file a CHIPS petition.

If the judge agrees that the child needs protection or services, county social workers must develop a case plan that gives the parents an opportunity to address the problems. A CHIPS petition can eventually lead to a petition to terminate parental rights, if the parents or legal guardians don’t comply with the case plan and fix the problems.

Contact our lawyers for answers to your child protection questions

Appelhof, Pfeifer & Hart, P.A. delivers aggressive legal representation for families throughout Minnesota, including in Washington County, Dakota County, Burnsville, Eagan and Woodbury, MN. There is no charge for initial consultations, and flexible scheduling is available. Call us today at 651-379-3024 or contact us online to make an appointment.

Contact the Firm


Appelhof, Pfeifer & Hart, P.A.


20856 Holyoke Avenue,
P.O. Box 369,
Lakeville, Minnesota 55044