59 Kids and the Law What happens at the trial? At the trial it is the burden of the Petitioner to prove the child is in need of Care and Protection. In addition to using the evidence in the court investigator’s report, the Petitioner may call witnesses to testify. Usually, these witnesses are DCF social workers, therapists, health care providers, teachers, neighbors, and other people who are familiar with various family members. Frequently, DCF calls the parent as a witness. The Petitioner may call upon expert witnesses to testify about a specific problem or issue, even if these experts have never met any of the family members. After the Petitioner is through questioning the witness, the attorneys for the parent or guardian and child may cross-examine the witness. When the Peti- tioner is through calling its witnesses and presenting its evidence, the attor- neys for the parent or guardian and child can then call their own witnesses. The court investigator can be cross-examined by any of the attorneys about the information included in the report. A parent, guardian, or social worker can be called as a witness by any of the parties. Usually, children do not testify, but any party can call them as witnesses. What happens after the trial? After the trial, the judge will decide if the Petitioner proved by clear and con- vincing evidence (evidence that is strong, positive and free from doubt) one or more of the following allegations: 1. The child is without necessary and proper physical or educational care and discipline. 2. The child is growing up under conditions or circumstances damaging to sound character development. 3. The child lacks proper attention of a parent or guardian with care and cus- tody. 4. The child’s parents or guardians are unwilling, incompetent, or unavail- able to provide such care, discipline, or attention. Care and Protection Cases 6