CHINS Reform Law

Governor Patrick signs the new legislation. Pictured with Representative Paul Donato and Senator Karen Spilka, the champions of CHINS reform

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On August 7, 2012, with little fanfare, Governor Patrick signed S.2410, An Act Relative to Families and Children Engaged in Services (FACES), into the General Laws making it Chapter 240 of the Acts of 2012!  This landmark legislation is the culmination of 7 hard-fought years spent up on Beacon Hill, and will right many of the wrongs of the decades-old CHINS system that treated truant and runaway children as criminals.  The new legislation emphasizes community-based services for FACES.

The law came into effect on November 5, 2012 and has major implications for the universe of individuals, organizations, courts, and state and municipal agencies and offices tasked with implementing the new legislation.  Below are a number of documents provided by a variety of sources which are meant to serve as guidelines for the many audiences which serve these children and their families.

To read the legislation in its entirety:  Chapter 240 of the Acts and Regulations of 2012: An Act Regarding Families and Children Engaged in Services

Advisory Board:

Among Ch.240 of the Acts of 2012’s  provisions, the legislation establishes a Families and Children Requiring Assistance Advisory Board (Advisory Board). The Advisory Board’s duties include advising EOHHS, collecting and reporting data, and monitoring implementation of the legislation specifically around family resource centers.

FACES Advisory Board members 2-21-13

The meetings that will be held to review the implementation process are open to the public and all are encouraged to attend. The meetings are scheduled as follows for calendar year 2014 and all will be held at One Ashburton Place, 21st Floor Conference Room, Boston, MA.:

January 16; 11-1
February 13; 2-4
March 13; 11-1
April 17; 11-1
May 15; 11-1
June 12; 11-1
July 17; 11-1
August 14; 11-1
September 11; 11-1
October 16; 11-1
November 13; 11-1
December 11; 11-1

The first Report on Progress Made Relative to the Implementation of Section 16U of Chapter 6A of the General Laws was released by the Co-Chairs of the Advisory Board on January 30, 2013. FCRAB Report 1 30 2013.

The second report of the FCRAB Board was released in November 2013.

The Executive Office of Health and Human Services also released a draft outline of what the Family Resource Centers (FRCs) would look like under this statute. They presented this outline in multiple areas across the state during 2013.

General Information:

A Section-By-Section summary prepared by the Children’s League of Massachusetts: Ch 240 of the Acts of 2012 Section Summary – Final

A detailed summary of the new law:  FACES Law – Detailed Summary

A short summary of the new law: FACES Law – Short Summary

Positions Advocated for and Final Legislative Results

A PowerPoint presentation given by MSPCC at Children’s Hospital: FACES Lunch and Learn final

A Power Point presentation given by the Executive Office for Health and Human Services: From CHINS to FACES

A Power Point presentation on design of Family Resource Centers (FRCs) FRC Community Meeting Presentation Report 2013

A Brochure about the new law: Know the law

Information For Parents, Guardians and Custodians:

FACES – Parent Handbook from MA Juvenile Court

CWLA Article – CHINS Reform

Information for Law Enforcement Officials:

CPCS – Flow Chart for FACES Cases
ALP Non-Secure List
Changes to Juvenile Law Regarding FACES
Police Practices Under the Massachusetts FACES Statute

Information for Courts and Legal Counsel:

DCF Presentation on FACES bill_SWAC
Juvenile Court – Flow Chart for FACES Cases


To read a history of the CHINS Reform process, access prior testimony, and learn more about the fight to change a broken system, visit the CHINS Reform History page.

Thanks to those who have been hard at work producing the many of the documents we’ve linked to.  Included on that list, the Children’s Mental Health Campaign,, Massachusetts Department of Children and Families, Massachusetts Municipal Police Training, and others.  Together we can achieve a better system, and a better future for the children of Massachusetts!