BOSTON, Mass. (WWLP) - A new law that changes how Massachusetts deals with troubled children will be implemented next month.
Next month, Massachusetts will no longer send truant or runaway children to court; instead the state will provide them with services, counseling and evaluate their problems.
Governor Deval Patrick celebrated the occasion with a ceremonial bill signing of a law that will be enacted on November 5th.
The new Faces and Children Engaged in Services program, or FACES, will replace the 40-year old Children in Need of Services program, also know as CHINS.
The CHINS program was criticized for using the court system to deal with kids who skip school, the FACES program will provide them with coordinated services, including behavioral health, medical and family support.
"As of November 5th it will be illegal to bring our children, put shackles on our children. This bill creates an alternative voluntary front door, it creates family resource centers around the state where children and families can go to for help," said Ashland State Senator Karen Spilka.
The new law will affect about 8,000 children involved in the former CHINS program.
It will take about three years for the FACES program to be fully implemented.