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Juvenile Justice
Child Abduction
Child in Need of Assistance
Criminal Conspiracy
Child Adoption
Juvenile Delinquency
Juvenile Dependency (Abuse and Neglect)
Juvenile Status Offenses
Department of Juvenile Services
Juvenile Justice System Structure & Process
Termination of Parental Rights (Voluntary or Involuntary)
Training Standards for Juvenile Justice Professionals

Child Abduction
What should you do if your child is abducted?
If possible, call the police and file a report.

What is an abduction?
A child abduction occurs when someone takes, entices away, keeps, withholds or conceals a child in violation of a custody or visitation order.

How can the District Attorney's office assist you?
The Child Abduction unit of the District Attorney's Office has the responsibility for locating and recovering children who have been taken or are being detained in violation of a custody order.

Juvenile Delinquency
What are juvenile delinquency cases?
They are criminal cases where the person responsible for the crime is a minor.

How are juvenile delinquency cases different from adult criminal cases?
In a delinquency case, minors are not convicted of crimes and then sentenced to punishment.

Minors are instead "adjudicated delinquent." This means a judge heard all the evidence and found the minor did commit the crime of which he or she was accused.

After being found delinquent, a minor is not "sentenced." Instead, there is a "disposition" hearing. The court can order probation or placement in foster care, residential treatment, or a state institution. The goal is providing services to prevent future delinquencies.

Are some violations of the law not handled by juvenile court?
Yes. The juvenile court does not decide traffic or tobacco offenses, or violations of hunting, fishing, snow mobile or curfew laws, as long as they are simple misdemeanors. The magistrate court decides these types of cases.

Can a minor ever be sent to adult court?
Yes. There may be a "waiver" hearing in the juvenile court to decide if the minor should be tried as an adult. This may take place if a case involves violent criminal behavior and the minor is at least 14 years old.

A minor 16 or over who commits a "forcible felony" will automatically be tried in adult court. Under Iowa law, forcible felonies are generally violent crimes. Examples include murder, voluntary manslaughter, sexual assault, and assault causing serious injury.

If a child goes directly to adult court, the judge may move a minor back to juvenile court after a hearing.

Does a minor have a right to a lawyer?
Yes. A minor has a right to a lawyer in all steps of the juvenile case.
If the child or the child's parents cannot afford to pay for the child's lawyer, the court will appoint one.

What are the steps in a juvenile delinquency case?
The first step is "intake." A juvenile court officer collects details and records from parties involved in the case.

In some cases, the child may be taken into custody by the police due to the nature of the delinquent act or if the child is a runaway.

Either the case may go to "informal adjustment" or the juvenile officer may file a delinquency petition.

Once a delinquency petition is filed, there is an "adjudication" hearing.
At this hearing, the judge decides if the minor did commit the crime of which he or she is accused. If not, the case is dismissed.

If the judge finds that the minor did commit the crime, there will be a "disposition" hearing.

The court will order either probation or treatment for the minor.

What is Intake?
This is a screening of the case by a juvenile court officer. This may be based on a complaint to the court, a police report, or because a minor was arrested.

The intake officer may:
•Interview the person who made the complaint (if any), the victim, and the witnesses of the alleged delinquent act;
•Check court records, police records, and other public records;
•Hold conferences with the child and the child's parent or parents, guardian or custodian. These conferences can be to interview everyone and talk about how to resolve the complaint;
•Look at any physical evidence relevant to the case; and
•Interview any other people in order to decide if filing a delinquency petition is in the best interests of the child and the community.
Next, the intake officer will decide if there is enough information to file a petition and take the case to the next step.

What is Informal Adjustment?
This is a way to resolve a complaint without going to court.

The child and the child's parents must sign an agreement.

The child must admit involvement in the alleged delinquent act.

The agreement may:

•Require a minor to be supervised by a juvenile probation officer;
•Require the minor to get treatment or other services;
•Prohibit a minor from driving for a while;
•Require the minor to do community service; or
•Require the minor to pay restitution to the victim or to the court.
If the case cannot be resolved with an informal adjustment, the county attorney will file a petition.

What is Adjudication?
This is a court hearing to decide if the evidence supports allegations in the complaint and the petition.

The county attorney represents the state and the child's attorney represents the child.

Both attorneys present evidence to show their side of the case.

The judge will decide if the minor committed the alleged juvenile act. If not, the case will be dismissed. If yes, the case will go on to disposition.

What is Disposition?
This is the hearing where the court decides what kind of treatment or consequences are best for the child.

The court can order probation. A minor on probation is under the supervision of a juvenile court officer. The child will have terms and conditions for probation which are specific to his or her case. If the minor successfully completes probation, the case is closed. If not, the court can make a new disposition order.

The court can also order placement. The minor may be placed in:

•Foster care;
•A residential treatment program;
•A state institution that treats mental illness; or
•A state training school;
The child may also be released into the care of a parent or guardian. This may not be the same parent who had custody of the child before the juvenile case began.

The court can also order the child's parents to take part in education or treatment programs.
Juvenile Justice
What Kinds of Cases Does the Juvenile Court Handle?
Most cases in Juvenile Court are Child In Need of Assistance (CINA) cases and juvenile delinquency cases.

Juvenile court is part of the superior court. It deals with 3 kinds of cases:

Juvenile Dependency (Abuse and Neglect): Cases where there may be abuse or neglect in the home. The juvenile court’s job is to protect the children in the family. Juvenile Delinquency: Cases involving children that do things that would be crimes if they were done by adults.
Juvenile Status Offenses: Cases involving children that do things that are only against the law because they are done by children. For example, cutting school or running away from home. The juvenile court can make orders in dependency cases. For example, these orders can:

Take children from their homes;
Send children to live with relatives or in foster care or group homes;
Cancel a parent’s rights;
Create new parental rights; or
Work with other agencies to get the services the child needs.

If the court takes a child from his or her home, a government agency is responsible for the child. The agency is in charge of the child’s health, education, and care. The court can also order the agency to assist the parents in making their home safe for the child.

If your child is taken out of your home because of abuse or neglect, you have the right to have a lawyer represent you in court. If you need time to hire one, you can postpone the first court hearing for 1 day so you can get a lawyer. If you do not have enough money to hire a lawyer, you can ask the court to assign a lawyer to your case. (You may have to pay part or all of the costs for your lawyer if you earn enough money.)

A child in a juvenile dependency case is given a lawyer unless the court says it would not be beneficial. The court can also appoint a Court Appointed Special Advocate (called “CASA”) to help the child. Click for help finding a lawyer.

NOTE: If you are a ward or dependent of the juvenile court and are turning 18 on or after January 1, 2012 (or if you are between 18 and 20 and have previously been placed in a foster home), you may be entitled to extended foster care benefits beyond your 18th birthday. These benefits may include money for clothing and housing assistance, medical coverage, job placement services, school tuition and others. To find out if you are eligible, contact your current or former probation officer, social worker or lawyer. You can get more information at: www.fosteringconnections.org/california.

What happens in juvenile dependency court
If you and your child are involved in a juvenile dependency case, you must follow certain steps until your case is resolved.

The court will explain what you must do and the deadlines you must meet. The court will try to resolve your case as quickly as possible.

If your child becomes a “dependent of the court,” the court will make orders for you, your child, and the social worker. The court makes these orders to protect your child.

The court can order that:

Your child live in your home under court supervision; or
Your child live in a different home also under court supervision.

If your child becomes a “dependent of the court” and the court does not order reunification services to help you get back together with your child, or reunification efforts fail, you can lose your child.

Throughout the court process, remember that the social worker can explain how the process works. But the social worker cannot give you legal advice. If you have questions, ask your lawyer or the judge. Also, you must tell the court and the social worker where to mail you documents about your child. If you change your mailing address, you must tell your social worker immediately.

The court process
The court has removed your child from the home for the reasons specified in the petition and other court papers you may have received. Read the petition carefully.

At the first hearing after your child was taken away from you, the judge will decide if your child will be returned to you until the next court hearing.
If the judge decides not to return the child to you until the next hearing:

Tell the social worker or your lawyer about any relatives the child can stay with until the next hearing (or longer). If the judge does not allow your child to be returned to you, it is usually better for the child to stay with relatives.
In most cases, you can visit your child if the child is not returned to you.
There are a few key stages in the court process you need to understand:

1.The right to a trial

You have the right to a trial. At your trial, the judge will decide if the statements in the petition are true.

If you are going to have a trial, the judge will tell you the trial date at your first hearing. If you admit to the court that all or some of the statements in the petition are true, or if you let the judge make a decision based on the report given to the court, you will not have a trial.

2.The social worker’s report on your case

The social worker will make a report and give it to the court. The report will be based on the social worker’s review of your case and conversations with you and other people.
The report will recommend where your child should live for the next 6 months (until the next court hearing) and what you and others can do to help solve the problems that brought you and your child to court.
If the judge decides that the statements in the petition are true, the judge will probably make your child a “dependent child of the court.” That means you will have only limited control over your child and your child may be taken from you.

3.The case plan

You and the social worker will make a case plan and present it to the court. The court will probably order that all or part of the case plan be carried out.

If your child is taken away from you and a case plan is ordered, the social worker MUST include in the case plan:

Services to help you get back together with your child, or If you cannot get back together with your child, services that let your child be adopted or have a guardian.
The services to help you get back together with your child may include:

Parenting classes
Individual counseling
Family counseling
Alcohol or drug abuse treatment
Special programs and classes
Visits with your child

If your child is taken from you and you decide you do not want to get back together (“reunify”) with the child, talk to your social worker.

Also talk to your lawyer about your right to:

Say you do not want services that will help you to get back together;
Give up your parental rights; and
Help develop a permanent plan for your child.

4.After the case plan

Start on your case plan as soon as possible. You must follow the case plan and meet your deadlines if you want to get back together with your child.
The social worker and others must help you get the services listed in your case plan. The court will review your case at least once every 6 months. At your first review hearing, the judge may decide if your child can return to your home.
If your child was under 3 years old when he or she was taken from you and you have not participated regularly in the treatment ordered in your case plan, or if you have not talked with, written to, or visited your child during the 6 months, the court can end services that help you get back together with that child.
If your child was over 3 years old and is not returned to you after 6 months, the court can order services for 6 more months.
Services to “reunify” you with your child will end in 12 months unless the court decides your child can probably get back together with you within 18 months from the time the police officer or social worker took your child away.
If the court ends services to “reunify” you with your child, there will be a hearing to make a “permanent plan” for the child to live with someone else. ALERT! If you want the court to let your child return to your care, you must follow court orders and meet deadlines. If the court orders a hearing for a “permanent plan,” you will not get your child back. The court will consider adoption or a guardian for your child.

5.Making a permanent plan for your child

If the court decides that your child will not be returned to you, there will be a hearing within 4 months about what should happen to your child — a “permanent plan.”

At that hearing, the court has only 3 choices, listed in the order that the court considers them: End your parental rights and order the child placed for adoption (this means that legally you are no longer the child’s parent);
Appoint a legal guardian for your child; or
Place your child in long-term foster care.

If the plan is for adoption, you, the adoptive parents, and the child can agree that you may have contact with your child after the adoption. If that possibility interests you, ask your lawyer to explain the “post-adoption contract.”

A child under the age of seven was presumed incapable of committing a crime.
A child under the age of seven was presumed incapable of committing a crime. The presumption was conclusive, prohibiting the prosecution from offering evidence that the child had the capacity to appreciate the nature and wrongfulness of what he had done. Children aged seven to fourteen (13 years, 364 days 23'59'59" aged) were presumed incapable of committing a crime but the presumption was rebuttable. The prosecution could overcome the presumption by proving that the child understood what he was doing and that it was wrong.[1] Children fourteen and older were presumed capable of committing a crime. However, the child could rebut this presumption by establishing that because of his immaturity he was incapable of understanding what he had done or the wrongfulness of his conduct.

How do cases get started in Juvenile Court?
A case usually begins with a complaint brought against a juvenile through a report filed by law enforcement. The police send most complaints to the Juvenile Intake office after they have contact with a victim of a crime, or a threatened party. The complaint is reviewed by Juvenile Intake staff from Human Services and the District Attorney's Office. Juvenile Intake reviews the accusation (complaint/ referral) and works with the District Attorney's office to decide whether it is suitable for informal action (Deferred Prosecution Agreement) or if it should be filed as a petition in Juvenile Court. If the petition is filed with the Court, the hearing process will ensue. If it is sent to Human Services for further work with the youth/family, a social worker from Human Services will contact the parent(s) for an intake conference.

What's an Intake Interview?
When your child has been charged with a delinquent act or is alleged to be a Juvenile in need of Protection or Services (JIPS), a Social Worker from the __________ Department of Human Services will be assigned to your family. This usually takes one or two weeks. The social worker will then contact you by letter or phone to set up an initial meeting, called an Intake Interview. This meeting will take place at either the Social Worker's office or your home depending on the worker's schedule and preference. Family history will be one of the topics that will be discussed so that the Social Worker can get to know you better. This is important because the Social Worker, as the case planner, will be making recommendations to the court about what the conditions of supervision will be, which community services to use, or even which type of out of home placement may be best suited to your child's needs, where necessary.

What is the hearing process?
In most Juvenile Court cases, the Juvenile Justice Code requires several steps in the hearing process, including:
A plea or jurisdictional hearing, at which the Juvenile and/or the parent, in some cases, will enter an admission or denial regarding the allegations in the petition. This hearing is where you may hear the juvenile's attorney make a request for a different Judge or for a waiver of the time limits for the next hearing. This may sound foreign and confusing to you, but the attorney is simply preserving the juvenile's rights under the statutes. Some of these rights may be lost if not requested at the PLEA hearing. The Commissioner or Judge may also order psychological and/or Alcohol or Drug abuse (AODA) evaluations at this hearing. It is important to note here that this hearing is an initial hearing and long-term planning decisions will probably not be made at this time.

A pre-trial conference at which the attorneys, Social Worker, parents, and the Judge may be able to work out an agreement that will settle the case without going to a trial.

A fact-finding hearing or trial in which the Judge determines whether a juvenile is delinquent or in need of protection or services by hearing testimony from all parties. If the Judge determines that the juvenile is delinquent or in need of protection or services, the final hearing will be set.

A dispositional hearing at which the Judge will hear the reports and recommendations of the Social Worker and others involved with this case. The Judge may have received written reports from other parties, such as psychologists and school personnel, before the hearing. Parents also will be asked their views on the recommendations. After the Judge hears all of the testimony, he or she will begin to list the "findings of fact," and then will decide the disposition of the case. The Judge will make a court order listing the conditions of the juvenile's period of supervision and a determination where the juvenile will reside if placement outside of the parental home is necessary through an out of home placement.

If you are unclear on any point in any of the hearings, be sure to ask the Judge/Commissioner, the assigned Social Worker, or an attorney to explain the order in more detail. In some minor cases, an agreement called a "Consent Decree" may be worked out at the pre-trial hearing thereby avoiding a final dispositional hearing. A consent decree is a form of probation that allows a juvenile to keep their record clean if they follow through with all of the conditions of the consent decree. If they follow through the case will be dismissed. If not, the juvenile can be brought back to court and can be found delinquent based on the plea they entered.

Juvenile Justice System Structure & Process
Here are further guidelines.

Training Standards for Juvenile Justice Professionals
Juvenile Division | District Attorney's Office
Juvenile Probation Officer
Juvenile Probation Officer
How do you define a juvenile?
Your definition of a juvenile does not address the responsibilities of a 5-, 9-, 13-, 18-, or 21-year-old in the family and community.

Until what age is a youth considered a juvenile?

A person between the ages of seven and seventeen charged with a criminal offense is considered a juvenile. Criminal matters for adults are handled in District Court or Superior Court.

How should you define a juvenile?
Who among 6-month, 1-, 5-, 9-, 13-, 18-, or 21–year-olds is a juvenile?
Do 6-month, 1-, 5-, 9-, 13-, 18-, or 21-year-olds have the same responsibilities in the family and community?
Q. What is youth detention?
Q. What is a Secure Detention facility?
Q. What is a Non-Secure Detention (NSD) facility?
Q. What is a the difference between a Juvenile Delinquent (JD) and a Juvenile Offender (JO)?
Q. What techniques are used for behavior management?
Q. How does case management serve youth in detention?
Q. What types of medical services do the youth receive in detention?
Q. What type of educational services do youth receive at DJJ?
What is the Juvenile Justice System?
What is juvenile delinquency?
What types of crimes do juveniles commit?
What is the Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act?
What behaviors have been shown to increase the likelihood of a youth committing violent crime later in life?
How is being tried as a juvenile different than being tried as an adult?
Q. Are juveniles allowed to receive visitors?
A. Yes. Visiting is encouraged and occurs four times a week. Visitors must be pre-approved in order to be admitted into the facility. In general, parents, legal guardians, siblings over 18 and grandparents are permitted to visit. Aunts and uncles may visit once a month. No visitors under the age of 18 will be admitted unless special authorization is arranged with the resident's case manager prior to arrival at the facility. Case managers are available to meet with parents during visiting hours.

Where can I find descriptive information and analysis regarding each state’s juvenile justice system?
Where can I find information about state statutes relating to juvenile justice?
Who can I call if I can’t find what I’m looking for?

Child Maltreatment

* What are the different types of child maltreatment?
* What is known about substantiated or indicated child maltreatment?
* How has the reporting of child maltreatment to protective service agencies changed since 1980?
* Is there a relationship between the sex of the perpetrator and the age of the victim in cases of child maltreatment?
* What is the trend in the child maltreatment victimization rate?
* What is the age profile of child maltreatment victims?
* Do child maltreatment victimization rates vary by the race/ethnicity of the victim?
* What is the most common form of child maltreatment?
* What are the characteristics of fatality victims of child maltreatment?
* Do child maltreatment victimization rates vary by State?
* Who are the perpetrators of child maltreatment?

School Crime Victimization

* Are students safer at school or away from school?
* What is the most common school crime?
* How does juvenile violent crime victimization vary between school days and nonschool days?

Violent Crime Victimization


* How many juveniles are victims of murder in the United States?
* Where in the United States do juvenile homicides occur?
* Does juvenile homicide victimization vary by age?
* How can homicide victimization age trends be summarized?
* Does juvenile homicide victimization vary by sex?
* Does juvenile homicide victimization vary by sex and age?
* Does juvenile homicide victimization vary by race?
* Has the number of juveniles killed with a firearm changed since 1980?
* Does firearm use in juvenile homicide victimization vary by age?
* What proportion of juveniles are killed with a firearm?
* Does firearm use in juvenile homicide victimization vary by race?
* How does the type of weapon used vary with victim age in homicide cases?
* Does the age at which individuals experience the greatest risk of homicide victimization vary by sex?
* How does the victim-offender relationship vary with victim age in homicide cases?


* How do the number of juvenile suicide victims compare to the number of juvenile homicide victims?
* Do the number of suicide and homicide victims vary by sex?
* Do the number of suicide and homicide victims vary by race?
* In which States do juvenile suicide victims outnumber juvenile homicide victims?

Sexual Assault

* How does offender age vary with victim age in sexual assault?
* How does sexual assault victimization vary by time of day?
* Does the age profile of sexual assualt victims vary with offender age?
* Does the victim-offender relationship vary with the age of the victim or the age of the offender in sexual assault victimization of juveniles?

Trends in Violent Crime Victimization

* What are the trends in serious violent crime victimization of youth?
* What are the characteristics of violent crimes against juveniles?
* How do the trends in serious violent crime victimization of youth vary by offense?

Comparing Adult & Juvenile Victims

* Are juveniles more or less likely than adults to be victims of serious violent crime?
* When is violent crime victimization of adults and juveniles most likely to occur?
* Are there age differences between the victims of juvenile non-fatal violence and the victims of adult non-fatal violence?
* Does the age profile of robbery victims vary with offender age?
* Does the age profile of aggravated assault victims vary with offender age?
* Does the age profile of simple assault victims vary with offender age?
* Are juveniles the majority of offenders for victims of any particular age?
* Among victims of violent juvenile offenders, is any age group especially likely to face multiple offenders?
* Among victims of juvenile violent crime, is any age group more likely than others to be victimized by armed offenders?
* Are juvenile violent offenders more likely to victimize strangers or people they know?


This glossary incorporates selected terms used in FBI arrest statistics, the Juvenile Court Statistics report series, and the Census of Juveniles in Residential Placement.

Adjudication - Adjudication is the court process that determines (judges) if the juvenile committed the act for which he or she is charged. The term "adjudicated" is analogous to "convicted" and indicates that the court concluded the juvenile committed the act.

Aggravated assault - Unlawful intentional inflicting of serious bodily injury with or without a deadly weapon, or unlawful intentional attempting or threatening of serious bodily injury or death with a deadly or dangerous weapon. The term is used in the same sense as in the Uniform Crime Report (UCR) Crime Index. It encompasses conduct included under the statutory names aggravated assault and battery, aggravated battery, assault with intent to kill, assault with intent to commit murder or manslaughter, atrocious assault, attempted murder, felonious assault, and assault with a deadly weapon.

Arson - Intentional damaging or destruction by means of fire or explosion of the property of another without the owner's consent, or of any property with intent to defraud, or attempting the above acts.

Burglary - Unlawful entry or attempted entry of any fixed structure, vehicle, or vessel used for regular residence, industry, or business, with or without force, with intent to commit a felony or larceny. The term is used in the same sense as in the UCR Crime Index.

Coverage indicator - A statistic indicating the relative size of the sample on which the FBI's arrest and reported crime estimates are based. The coverage indicator incorporates the population served by reporting law enforcement agencies and the number of months the agencies reported arrest or reported crime counts during the calendar year. Where the indicator equals 100%, all law enforcement agencies in the jurisdiction reported for all 12 months. A more complete explanation of the coverage indicator can be found in the Methods Section of Easy Access to FBI Arrest Statistics.

Criminal homicide - Causing the death of another person without legal justification or excuse. Criminal homicide is a summary category, not a single codified offense. The term, in law, embraces all homicides where the perpetrator intentionally killed someone without legal justification, or accidentally killed someone as a consequence of reckless or grossly negligent conduct. It includes all conduct encompassed by the terms murder, nonnegligent (voluntary) manslaughter, negligent (involuntary) manslaughter, and vehicular manslaughter. The term is broader than the Crime Index category used in the FBI's UCR, in which murder/nonnegligent manslaughter does not include negligent manslaughter or vehicular manslaughter.

Curfew and loitering laws (persons under age 18 only) - Offenses relating to violations of local curfew and loitering ordinances where such laws exist.

Delinquent act - An act committed by a juvenile for which an adult could be prosecuted in a criminal court, but when committed by a juvenile is within the jurisdiction of the juvenile court. Delinquent acts include crimes against persons, crimes against property, drug offenses, and crimes against public order, when juveniles commit such acts.

Disorderly conduct - Unlawful interruption of the peace, quiet, or order of a community, including offenses called disturbing the peace, vagrancy, loitering, unlawful assembly, and riot.

Driving under the influence - Driving or operating any vehicle or common carrier while drunk or under the influence of liquor or narcotics.

Drug abuse violations - State and/or local offenses relating to the unlawful possession, sale, use, growing, and manufacturing of narcotic drugs. The following drug categories are specified: opium or cocaine and their derivatives (morphine, heroin, codeine); marijuana; synthetic narcotics - manufactured narcotics that can cause true addiction (demerol, methadone); and dangerous nonnarcotic drugs (barbiturates, benzedrine).

Drunkenness - Offenses relating to drunkenness or intoxication. Excluded is driving under the influence.

Embezzlement - Misappropriation or misapplication of money or property entrusted to one's care, custody, or control.

Forcible rape - Sexual intercourse or attempted sexual intercourse with a female against her will by force or threat of force. (Statutory offenses are excluded.) The term is used in the same sense as in the UCR Crime Index. Some states have enacted gender‑neutral rape or sexual assault statutes that prohibit forced sexual penetration of either sex. Data reported by these states do not distinguish between forcible rape of females as defined above and other sexual assaults.)

Forgery and counterfeiting - Making, altering, uttering, or possessing, with intent to defraud, anything false in the semblance of that which is true. Attempts are included.

Fraud - Fraudulent conversion and obtaining money or property by false pretenses. Included are confidence games and bad checks, except forgeries and counterfeiting.

Gambling - Promoting, permitting, or engaging in illegal gambling.

Intake decision - The decision made by juvenile court intake that results in a case either being handled informally at the intake level or being petitioned and scheduled for an adjudicatory or waiver hearing.

Judicial decision - The decision made in response to a petition that asks the court to adjudicate or waive the youth. This decision is generally made by a juvenile court judge or referee.

Judicial disposition - Definite action taken or treatment plan decided on or initiated regarding a particular case after the judicial decision is made. For the Juvenile Court Statistics report series, case dispositions are coded into the following categories:

* Waived to criminal court - Cases that were transferred to criminal court as the result of a waiver hearing in juvenile court.

* Placement - Cases in which youth were placed in a residential facility for delinquents or were otherwise removed from their homes and placed elsewhere.

* Probation - Cases in which youth were placed on informal/voluntary or formal/court‑ordered probation or supervision.

* Dismissed - Cases dismissed (including those warned, counseled, and released) with no further action anticipated. Among cases handled informally, some cases may be dismissed by the juvenile court because the matter is being handled in another court.

* Miscellaneous - A variety of actions not included above. This category includes fines, restitution and community services, referrals outside the court for services with minimal or no further court involvement anticipated, and dispositions coded as "Other" by the reporting courts.

Juvenile - A youth at or below the upper age of juvenile court jurisdiction in a particular state.

Juvenile court - Any court that has jurisdiction over matters involving juveniles.

Larceny-theft (except motor vehicle theft) - The unlawful taking, carrying, leading, or riding away of property from the possession or constructive possession of another. Examples are thefts of bicycles or automobile accessories, shoplifting, pocket-picking, or the stealing of any property or article that is not taken by force and violence, or by fraud. Attempted larcenies are included. Embezzlement, "con" games, forgery, worthless checks, etc., are excluded.

Liquor law violations (not status) - Being in a public place while intoxicated through consumption of alcohol or intake of a controlled substance or drug. This category includes public intoxication, drunkenness, and other liquor law violations. It does not include driving under the influence. Some states treat public drunkenness of juveniles as a status offense, rather than delinquency; hence, some of these offenses may appear under the status offense code "status liquor law violations." When a person who is publicly intoxicated performs acts that cause a disturbance, he or she may be charged with disorderly conduct.

Manner of handling - A general classification of case processing within the juvenile court system.

* Petitioned (formally handled) - Cases that appear on the official court calendar in response to the filing of a petition or other legal instrument requesting the court to adjudicate the youth delinquent or to waive the youth to criminal court for processing as an adult.

* Nonpetitioned (informally handled) - Cases that duly authorized court personnel screen for adjustment without the filing of a formal petition. Such personnel include judges, referees, probation officers, other officers of the court, and/or an agency statutorily designated to conduct petition screening for the juvenile court.

Motor vehicle theft - Unlawful taking, or attempted taking, of a self‑propelled road vehicle owned by another, with the intent to deprive the owner of it permanently or temporarily.

Murder and nonnegligent manslaughter - Intentionally causing the death of another without legal justification or excuse, or causing the death of another while committing or attempting to commit another crime. Deaths caused by negligence, attempts to kill, suicides, accidental deaths, and justifiable homicides are excluded.

Obstruction of justice - All unlawful acts committed with intent to prevent or hinder the administration of justice, including law enforcement, judicial, and correctional functions. Examples include contempt, perjury, bribing witnesses, failure to report a crime, and nonviolent resisting of arrest.

Offenses against the family and children - Nonsupport, neglect, desertion, or abuse of children or other family members.

Petition - A document filed in juvenile court alleging that a juvenile is a delinquent and asking that the court assume jurisdiction over the juvenile or asking that an alleged delinquent be waived to criminal court for prosecution as an adult.

Placement facility type - Identifies whether a juvenile placement facility is publicly or privately owned/operated.

* Public facilities - Facilities operated by state or local government agencies in which the employees working daily in the facilities and directly with the residents are state or local government employees.

* Private facilities - Facilities operated by private nonprofit or for-profit corporations or organizations in which the employees working daily in the facilities and directly with the residents are employees of the private corporation or organization.

Placement status - Identifies categories of juveniles held in residential placement facilities.

* Committed - Includes juveniles in placement in the facility as part of a court‑ordered disposition. Committed juveniles include those whose cases have been adjudicated and disposed in juvenile court and those who have been convicted and sentenced in criminal court.

* Detained - Includes juveniles held prior to adjudication while awaiting an adjudication hearing in juvenile court, as well as juveniles held after adjudication while awaiting disposition or awaiting placement elsewhere. Also includes juveniles awaiting transfer to adult criminal court, or awaiting a hearing or trial in adult criminal court.

* Diversion - Includes juveniles sent to the facility in lieu of adjudication as part of a diversion agreement.

Property Crime Index - Includes burglary, larceny‑theft, motor vehicle theft, and arson.

Prostitution and commercialized vice - Sex offenses of a commercialized nature, such as prostitution, keeping a bawdy house, procuring, or transporting women for immoral purposes. Attempts are included.

Robbery - Unlawful taking or attempted taking of property that is in the immediate possession of another by force or the threat of force.

Sex offenses (except forcible rape, prostitution, and commercialized vice) - Statutory rape and offenses against chastity, common decency, morals, and the like. Attempts are included.

Simple assault - Unlawful threatening, attempted inflicting, or inflicting of less than serious bodily injury, in the absence of a deadly weapon. The term is used in the same sense as in UCR reporting. Simple assault is often not distinctly named in statutes since it consists of all assaults not explicitly named and defined as serious.

Status offense - A nondelinquent/noncriminal offense; an offense that is illegal for underage persons, but not for adults.

* Curfew violation - Violation of an ordinance forbidding persons below a certain age from being in public places during set hours.

* Incorrigible, ungovernable - Being beyond the control of parents, guardians, or custodians.

* Running away - Leaving the custody and home of parents or guardians without permission and failing to return within a reasonable length of time.

* Truancy - Violation of a compulsory school attendance law.

* Underage drinking - Possession, use, or consumption of alcohol by a minor.

Stolen property (buying, receiving, possessing) - Buying, receiving, or possessing stolen property, including attempts.

Trespassing - Unlawful entry or attempted entry of the property of another with the intent to commit a misdemeanor, other than larceny, or without intent to commit a crime.

Upper age of juvenile court jurisdiction - The oldest age at which a juvenile court has original jurisdiction over an individual for law-violating behavior. It must be noted that within most states there are exceptions to the age criteria that place or permit youth at or below the state's upper age of jurisdiction to be under the original jurisdiction of the adult criminal court. For example, in most states if a youth of a certain age is charged with one of a defined list of what are commonly labeled "excluded offenses," the case must originate in the adult criminal court. In addition, in a number of states, the district attorney is given the discretion of filing certain cases either in the juvenile court or in the criminal court. Therefore, while the upper age of jurisdiction is commonly recognized in all states, there are numerous exceptions to age criteria.

Vandalism - Destroying or damaging, or attempting to destroy or damage, the property of another without the owner's consent, or public property, except by burning.

Violent Crime Index - Includes murder and nonnegligent manslaughter, forcible rape, robbery, and aggravated assault.

Weapons offenses - Unlawful sale, distribution, manufacture, alteration, transportation, possession, or use of a deadly or dangerous weapon, or accessory, or attempt to commit any of these acts.

Youth population at risk - For delinquency and status offense matters, this is the number of children from age 10 through the upper age of juvenile court jurisdiction. In all states, the upper age of jurisdiction is defined by statute. In most states, individuals are considered adults when they reach their 18th birthday. Therefore, for these states, the delinquency and status offense youth population at risk would be the number of children 10 through 17 years of age living within the geographical area served by the court.

What is the definition of a runaway?

A youth that leaves home or another approved placement without parental consent.

What is an ungovernable youth?

A youth is ungovernable if they are under age 18 and fail to comply with reasonable requests of a parent or approved caregiver to the point the youth is beyond caregiver control.

Is runaway or ungovernable behavior against the law?

Legislation gives original jurisdiction over runaway and ungovernable youth to the Division of Juvenile Justice Services directly or through contract. This means that police can arrest youth for these offenses without the charge being referred to the Juvenile Court.

What is the age range for services?

Age 10-17

What if my child refuses counseling?

You may consult with Youth Services to get ideas on parenting your ungovernable youth.

How long can Youth Services provide services to parent(s) and youth?

Crisis counseling and time out has no limits attached until the child’s eighteenth birthday. On-going community counseling services are limited to 60 calendar days, which amounts to seven to nine 45-50 minute sessions with a therapist or counselor. Time limits can be extended depending on the situation, and will be determined on a case-by-case basis.

How long can I leave my child at Youth Services?

The average length of stay for youth in crisis is generally 3 hours or less. If the counselor with whom you meet believes it is appropriate, additional time may be authorized.

My child says he/she wants to become emancipated. What is that and how does it work?
What’s the difference between a juvenile and an adult?
What’s the difference between the adult and juvenile justice systems?
Does trying kids as juveniles let them off easy?
How do police treat juveniles?
Do youth have to be separated from adult prisoners?
Does juvenile status preclude “getting tough on crime?”
What is Raise the Age?
What is a youthful offender?
How does juvenile status affect the way I do my reporting?
Who is in the juvenile justice system?
What happens to youth in the system?
Does race affect the way children are treated?
What role do schools play in the juvenile justice system?
Are young people who commit crimes likely to be repeat offenders?
How do we prevent crime in our communities?
Is youth violence increasing?
How do I keep my child out of the system?The NYC Board of Education (BOE) operates Passages Academy, a full time educational program that tailors its curriculum to the needs of youth in detention. A fully-staffed school is located within each of DJJ's three Secure Detention facilities.

Students are grouped according to academic levels. Program instruction includes class work in an all major subjects, such as math, science and history. Passages also provides instruction in computers, art, music, physical and health education.

What is the Juvenile Justice System?

The Juvenile Justice System is the legal system through which cases involving minors are handled.

What is juvenile delinquency?

What types of crimes do juveniles commit?

What behaviors have been shown to increase the likelihood of a youth committing violent crime later in life?

Until what age is a youth considered a juvenile?

How is being tried as a juvenile different than being tried as an adult?

Juvenile Status Offenses
What is a juvenile status offense?
A status offender is a juvenile charged with or adjudicated for conduct that would not, under the law of the jurisdiction in which the offense was committed, be a crime if committed by an adult.i

What types of activities constitute juvenile status offenses?
The most common examples of status offenses are chronic or persistent truancy, running away, being ungovernable or incorrigible, violating curfew laws, or possessing alcohol or tobacco.
What are the causes of juvenile status offense behaviors?
How many youth are arrested because of juvenile status offenses?
How many youth are petitioned to court because of status offenses?
How many youth are placed in a juvenile justice facility because of a status offense?
Is there a link between status offense behavior and later delinquency or criminal behavior?
Do all states classify these activities as offenses?
What is the range of penalties that states apply to youth who are adjudicated as status offenders?
Are there particular strategies that states and communities can take to implement effective alternatives to detention for status offenders?
Here are further guidelines.
Juvenile crimes
Juvenile Probation Officer