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District Attorney

Child in Need of Care FAQ 


How do I report child neglect or abuse when I see it? 

  • In the Kansas City metropolitan area, suspected child abuse or neglect can be reported by calling SRS at the toll free number:  866-215-9077.  Persons who report abuse or neglect that they see cannot be held to be liable for damages in a lawsuit, because they reported this to the authorities, should the parents seek to sue. 

My minor relative has been placed in foster care, what can I do?  

  • You can contact the juvenile court, or SRS and state that you are willing to be a placement for the child. There is a process that must be followed, including that  your home, and everyone who resides there, would be checked out by professionals.   Children often go into a foster home, but when appropriate relatives are located and checked out, many of them go to live with relatives. 

Can I find out about the case and know what is happening?   

  • Matters that are in court under the Code for the Care of  Children are confidential, but sometimes relatives are allowed to come into court with parents and learn about what is happening with the child.  It is unlikely that anyone from the court or attorneys will tell you information over the phone.

What happens to children placed in the custody of SRS? 

  • The court will enter orders for the parents to follow, and if the parents change their circumstances and follow court orders, many children are returned to the parents.   If  parents do not work to complete the court orders, and change the circumstances that brought the family to the attention of the court, it is likely that the court may terminate the parents’ rights after finding them unfit.  After that, the children are eligible to be adopted, by relatives or others.

Who represents the parents in court?  

  • The parents are free to hire an attorney to represent them, or to ask the court to appoint an attorney. 

Who represents the children in court?  

  • The children’s interests are represented by an attorney called a guardian ad litem, who is appointed by the court.

What do I do if my child continues to run away from home? 

  • You should always make a report to the police when your child leaves home without permission.  This is the way that your child’s name gets into the police computer system so that an officer who comes into contact with your child knows what to do.

What happens when a runaway child is picked up by police? 

  • When reported run away children are picked up by police, they are taken to the Juvenile Intake and Assessment Center (JIAC).  This in not the same as the detention center.  The child will be interviewed about his/her home, and habits, school attendance, etc.  Then you, his parent will be called to come and pick him/her up from JIAC, which is located at 6th and Tauromee.  At that point, you could go and pick your child up, or refuse.  If you refuse, JIAC staff will make a report to SRS, and you will be contacted by an SRS worker.  You can also ask JIAC staff about the program that they have for runaway children at their center.  JIAC staff may be reached at 913-621-3523.   SRS workers are trained to work with families to attempt to keep children out of the state’s custody.  They have a service that they can offer, called Family Preservation Services.  They may also be able to help in other ways.  If your child goes into state’s custody (custody of SRS) and continues to run from his/her court ordered placement repeatedly, then the assistant district attorney assigned to the case may file a request to place your child in a secure place for at least 60 days, where intensive services are provided.  This is a locked facility where the child cannot leave.  

When can my child legally leave home? 

  • Your child remains in your custody until age 18, until emancipated by court order, or placed in the custody of another person, or in the custody of the state, by a court order.  Until then, you may place your child in a placement voluntarily, if you believe that is in the child’s best interest.  For example, children sometimes go to Job Corps placement, or to live with relatives or friends with the consent of their parent or guardian.

When can I leave my child home alone? 

  • There is no age set by law.

My child is out of control, whom do I contact? 

  • There are a number of agencies that you can call that can assist you, such as: 
Wyandotte Mental Health.............................

(913) 328-4600


The Family Conservancy
(Formerly Heart of America Family Services).....


(913) 287-1300

El Centro...................................................


(913) 281-1186

Juvenile Intake and Assessment Center(JIAC)...


(913) 621-3523

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