A judge or referee of the Family Division may remove children from their parents’ care if the Department of Human Services Protective Services establishes that someone who lives in the home abuses or neglects the children. The court may make special arrangements for the protection of the child(ren) such as in-home services, or placement in a foster home or with a relative. If the court takes jurisdiction in such a case, the main focus of the court would be to rectify problems and reunite the family.
A Guardian Ad Litem is appointed to represent the child(ren).
Parents may request court appointed attorney or retain their own.
Youth under the age of 17 years who are petitioned for breaking criminal laws may be tried before the Family Division and ordered to be placed on probation in their home or in an out-of-home placement.
In almost every case either a preliminary hearing or preliminary inquiry is held by an Intake Referee. The juvenile and parent must attend the hearing/inquiry where they will be informed of the criminal charge against him/her and advised of his/her rights. The Intake Referee will decide if the case can remain informal or should be handled on the formal docket.
▪No attorney appointed by court
▪Successfully completed requirements
-Letter of Apology
▪Unsuccessful completion moved to formal docket
▪Case is placed on the formal docket
▪May request court appointed attorney or retain own attorney
▪Supervised by Juvenile Court Officer
Youth under 17 years may also come to the attention of Family Division through traffic or appearance tickets. These can include all misdemeanor traffic violations, status offenses, and some lesser misdemeanors, such as disorderly conduct. A juvenile may be ordered to pay court costs or cooperate with other requirements, such as substance abuse evaluation or smoking cessation clinic.
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