Juvenile Justice System
The aggregate of the government agencies that function to investigate, supervise, adjudicate, care for, or confine youthful offenders and other children subject to the jurisdiction of the juvenile court.
In the broadest usage, juvenile actions or conduct in violation of criminal law, juvenile status offenses, and other juvenile misbehavior.
A common law principle that allows the state to assume a parental role and to take custody of a child when he or she becomes delinquent, is abandoned, or is in need of care that the natural parents are unable or unwilling to provide.
A child who commits an act that is contrary to the law by virtue of the offender's status as a child.
An act or conduct that is declared by statute to be an offense, but only when committed by or engaged in by a juvenile, and that can be adjudicated only by a juvenile court.
A child who has engaged in activity that would be considered a crime if the child were an adult.
A child who is beyond parental control, as evidenced by his or her refusal to obey legitimate authorities, such as school officials and teachers.
A child who is not receiving the proper level of physical or psychological care from his or her parents or guardians or who has been placed up for adoption in violation of the law.
A child who has been physically, sexually, or mentally abused. Most states also consider a child who is forced into delinquent activity by a parent or guardian.
A document filed in juvenile court alleging that a juvenile delinquent, a status offender, or a dependent and asking that the court assume jurisdiction over the juvenile or that an alleged delinquent be transferred to a criminal court for prosecution as an adult.
The first step in decision making regarding a juvenile whose behavior or alleged behavior is in violation of the law or could otherwise cause a juvenile court to assume jurisdiction.
The fact-finding process by which the juvenile court determines whether there is sufficient evidence to sustain the allegations in a petition.
An alternative approach to juvenile justice in which alleged offenders are judged and sentenced by a jury or their peers.
The final stage in the processing of adjudicated juveniles in which a decision is made on the form of treatment or penalty that should be imposed on the child.
The decision of a juvenile court, concluding the hearing, that an adjudicated juvenile be committed to a juvenile correctional facility; be placed in a juvenile residence, shelter, or care or treatment program; be required to meet certain standards of conduct; or be released.
A juvenile court disposition that imposes both a juvenile sanction and an adult criminal sentence upon an adjudicated delinquent. The adult sentence is suspended if the juvenile offender successfully completes the term of the juvenile disposition and refrains from committing any new offense.