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Youth Justice

If your child has been in trouble with the law, or has been truant from school, or has run away from home repeatedly. Any of these situations, along with many others, may initiate a referral to the Youth Justice Intake Worker through the Youth Division Unit.

Youth Justice Intake Process (Link-Parent’s Guide to the Intake Process for Youth Justice)

Youth Justice Referrals: Typically, referrals come from law enforcement. There may be times, when the child is being held in the custody of a law enforcement official. In this case, law enforcement will notify human services. The intake social worker will decide if the juvenile may go home, go to shelter care, or be detained in a juvenile secure facility. If the juvenile is placed in shelter care or secure, there will be a court hearing.

Intake Inquiry: The next step is for the intake social worker to review the file. The intake social worker will offer to meet with the juvenile and the parents to discuss the seriousness of the alleged delinquent act and the child’s history. Children and their parents are not obligated to attend the intake inquiry. However, if the child and the parents choose to not participate in the intake inquiry, the intake worker may refer the case to the court system for further action.

Inquiry results: An inquiry usually results in one of three options:

The referral is dismissed. This is sometimes referred to as counsel and close.
The matter is held open. With this option, the intake worker and the family come up with a plan of corrective action. The case can be held open for up to 60 days without services or for up to 12 months with voluntary services.
The matter is referred for petition. This means the worker asks the District Attorney to petition the court to become directly involved in deciding what should be done with the child.

The Youth Justice Difference:

Youth Justice is different from the adult system. The goal of the juvenile system is to help you and your child avoid future incidents, to protect public safety, and to help the juvenile restore any damage they may have done.
Juvenile Justices primary emphasis is on education and/or rehabilitation.

Some differences in terminology are:

Adult term: Juvenile Term:
Arrest Taken into custody
Warrant Capias
Probation Supervision
Plea of not guilty Deny the facts
Plea of guilty Admit to the facts
Misdemeanor, felony Delinquent act
Arraignment Plea hearing
Sentencing Disposition

Parent’s Role in the Intake Process

Parental involvement
is a critical part the entire Youth Justice Process. No court order can be very successful if the parents do not participate in their child’s supervision plan. This may involve monitoring and enforcing the rules set down the judge and social worker, attending family meetings, going to counseling, taking parenting classes, transporting your child to different service providers, working closely with the school, holding your child accountable, and keeping the juvenile’s social worker informed of your child’s status.

Youth Justice Supervision (Link to Parent’s Guide to Juvenile Supervision)

Your child has been through the intake process and you find yourself asking, now what? Or what did all of that “stuff” mean?

While there are some similarities, the juvenile justice system differs in various ways from the adult criminal system. For starters, we acknowledge that there are many differences between a developing child and an adult. The higher levels of the brain are still developing. The emotional regions of the brain are still developing and what works for adults does not necessarily work for juveniles. Furthermore, the Juvenile Justice System attempts to address not only the interests of the public but also the needs of the juvenile and family by considering what skills or competencies or resources the child and family may need to help avoid future problems. Our duty is to protect the safety of the child and the public, and to do what is necessary to restore any damage resulting from a child's behavior while working with the child on ways to make their future bright and aide them in becoming competent, productive adults.

Types of Supervision

Deferred Prosecution Agreement (DPA):
This agreement is entered when the intake worker decides that it is not in the best interest of the juvenile or the public to file a formal petition. The DPA is implemented by all parties agreeing, in writing, to certain terms and conditions. Should the juvenile and parent fail to comply with the agreement, the DPA may be terminated and delinquency charges filed with the District Attorney.

Consent Decree: This is a written agreement entered into by all parties and approved by the judge. The juvenile must admit the allegations in order to have the benefit of a Consent Decree. However, there is no finding by the Court that the child is delinquent. Instead, if the parties comply with the terms of the Consent Decree the matter will be dismissed. If there is not compliance with the terms of the Consent Decree, the matter is brought back to court for an adjudication and disposition. The right to a trial is waived upon entering a Consent Decree.

Juvenile in need of protection and services—JIPS: A petition may be filed by a parent stating that she/he is unable to control a juvenile, or by the DA stating that the juvenile is habitually truant from home or from school, is a school dropout or is under 10 years of age and committed a delinquent act. The parent has a right to contest the petition unless it alleges a child under 10 committed a delinquent act. A delinquent act must be proved by evidence beyond a reasonable doubt. Other JIPS grounds must be proved by clear and convincing evidence. There is no right to a jury trial in a JIPS case. In a JIPS case, the juvenile may not be sent to a correctional placement.

Formal Supervision: When a juvenile is adjudicated delinquent, a dispositional order is imposed by the court. This order will include where the juvenile will live, and rules for the juvenile. Common rules are to attend school regularly, not to use or possess alcohol or illegal drugs, and obey the rules of parents, school and social worker. Juveniles may be ordered to participate in individual, family or group therapy, pay restitution, engage in community service or make amends to the victim. Juveniles will be ordered to cooperate with supervision. The order will also tell the juvenile what sanctions may be applied if he or she fails to follow the rules.

Possible Sanctions

Juvenile Detention:

Juveniles are held in detention primarily because:

(1) There is reason to believe that if released they would cause harm to other persons,
(2) There is reason to believe that if released they would be unavailable for further court proceedings, and
(3) They have been found to be in violation of a valid court order and rules of supervision.

Shelter Care Placement:
The Shelter Home provides non-secure residential services for juveniles who may need a place to stay pending further court action but for whom placement in a secure setting is not necessary.

Home Detention:
Home Detention is an alternative to detention or non-secure placement of youth.

Cost of these sanctions may be billed to Parents.

Parent’s Role in Ongoing Youth Justice Supervision

Parental involvement is an essential part of any type of supervision plan. No plan can be successful if the parents do not participate. This may involve but is not limited to monitoring and enforcing the rules set by the judge and social worker, attending family meetings, going to counseling, taking parenting classes, transporting your child to different service providers, working closely with the school, holding your child accountable, and keeping the juvenile’s social worker informed of your child’s status.

Ongoing Worker’s Role:

If the case is not dismissed, and the intake process is over, the juvenile will be assigned to an on-going social worker. This worker will continue to meet with the family and monitor compliance with the court order. The social worker or other parties may file a petition to change the placement of the juvenile or to revise the rules in the court order. If the juvenile is not in compliance with the court order, the social worker or DA may file a motion to have sanctions imposed on the juvenile. Each of these measures will require a new court hearing.