The Juvenile Division of the District Attorney’s Office is located at the Juvenile Center.
There are eight Assistant District Attorneys assigned to this division. The Juvenile unit is responsible for initiating and prosecuting all juvenile cases involving delinquent children, deprived children, children in need of mental health treatment and children in need of supervision. We attend all court hearings involving these cases and represent the interests of the State.
A delinquency case involves children under the age of eighteen who commit an offense, which would be a crime if committed by an adult. When a juvenile is arrested he may be released to his parents, taken to CIC (Community Intervention Center). The Juvenile Bureau and the Office of Juvenile Affairs (OJA) have probation officers that supervise delinquents.
A deprived case involves the removal of a child from the custody of his parents in order to protect the child’s health, safety, and welfare. The District Attorney’s Office reviews every case in which a child is removed from his home to determine if continued state’s custody is warranted or if the child can be safely returned to his parents with services or other appropriate intervention. A child who cannot be safely returned to his parents is placed into a foster home until such time as the parents have corrected the conditions which led to the child’s removal. These cases are monitored by our attorneys, the court, and state child welfare officers until the child has been returned to a safe home for a minimum of six months.
If you are interested in becoming a foster parent for these deprived children, please call DHS.
“In Need of Treatment” (INT) cases involve children who are deemed a threat; have a mental illness or drug or alcohol dependency; and who require in-patient mental health treatment for the protection of the child and the public. These cases are reviewed every thirty days by the juvenile court until the child is released from the mental health facility. Children who qualify as INT are introduced to the court system due to their custody by DHS or OJA, or because they refuse to remain in-patient after achieving the age of sixteen.
“In Need of Supervision” cases involve children, who have repeatedly disobeyed their parents, have refused to attend school, or who are the subject of a Victim’s Protective Order. These children may not be put into detention, but are assigned a probation officer to ensure their compliance with household and school attendance rules.
The Juvenile Division also handles Youthful Offender cases which involve juveniles who are charged with certain major crimes, such as robbery, homicide, or rape, where the defendant is initially treated as a juvenile but can be held in custody or even imprisoned as an adult after he reaches the age of 18.
There are four support staff workers in our unit. They are responsible for processing charges on the delinquents, filing deprived child petitions, issuing subpoenas, answering the phone, victim/witness coordination, and many other duties that arise.
Juvenile court proceedings are held before a part-time referee, an Associate District Judge and three Special Judges of the District Court: