33 Kids and the Law What happens to a child taken under custodial protection? If a police officer takes a child into custodial protection under a warrant or be- cause the officer has probable cause (reason to believe) the child has run away from home and will not respond to a summons to come to court, the officer should immediately notify the child’s parent, the person legally responsible for the child’s care and/or the person with whom the child is living. The officer should also notify DCF if the officer has reason to believe the child is in DCF custody. The officer should make reasonable efforts to do one of the following in the order that they are listed: 1. release the child to a parent or guardian upon their written promise to bring the child to the court on the next date; 2. bring the child to a temporary shelter; 3. bring the child to the juvenile court. The officer must state on the record (tell the court) that the first two options were tried and explain why they were not successful. The officer may not use shackles or restraints or place the child in the court lock-up—even if a warrant was issued—as long as the child only has a CRA case (and not a delinquency case). If the child does not have a CRA case, a probation officer will interview the child and notify the parent or guardian to pick up the child. When the parent or guardian appears in court, he or she can choose to file a CRA application. If the adult does not choose to file an applica- tion, the child is released to the adult if the adult shows identification. What is Informal Assistance? Instead of conducting a Fact-Finding Hearing (“trial”), the court can refer the child and family for educational, community or social services to help with the issues that led to the filing of the application. Informal assistance occurs with the help of a probation officer who may: 1. refer the child to an appropriate public or private organization or person for psychiatric, psychological, educational, medical, dental or social ser- vices; or Child Requiring Assistance 4