Role of the Court


  1. Hears evidence presented by the Attorney for the Juvenile Officer and the Attorney for the Juvenile
  2. Decides whether the charges are true of not.
  3. If true, the Judge/Commissioner makes orders relating to the the placement and the services made available for the juvenile and family 


The Attorney for the Juvenile Officer

  • Decides whether a petition and charges will be filed
  • Prepares the necessary paperwork including the charges and notice to the juveniles and parents.
  • Interviews witnesses and victims and prepares for the court hearing
  • Presents the state's case to the Judge. 

Case Assessment

  • Interviews both the juvenile and his parents.
  • Create a Social Assessment and Risk Assessment to determine a recommendation if charges are sustained against the juvenile
  • If a court hearing is not scheduled, a Deputy Juvenile Officer determines how best to provide assistance to the juvenile and the family.


  • Deputy Juvenile Officers who determine the placement of the juvenile at the time the juvenile is brought to the Family Justice Center by a law enforcement agency. The decision is based upon input from the Attorney for the Juvenile Officer and the score on the Detention Risk Assessment


  • Provide placement and services ordered by the Family Court Division.


  1. The filing of a "petition" begins the court procedure dealing with a juvenile. The petition will contain the "charges" or violations of the criminal laws. Only the juvenile officer may file the petition.
  2. A hearing date is set. A summons may be issued directing the juvenile to attend the hearing and requiring the child's custodian to be present.
  3. When a juvenile is taken into judicial custody he is released at once to a suitable person unless the court has ordered the juvenile to be in secure detention, or an alternative to secure detention;
  4. Unless otherwise ordered by the court, a juvenile is not held in detention for a period of more than twenty-four hours.
  5. If the court orders that the juvenile be held in custody, the judge will include the name of the facility in the order.
  6. A juvenile is not entitled to a bail or bond.
  7. If a juvenile is held in a detention facility, the detention hearing will be held within three days.
  8. The purpose of the hearing is to determine whether the juvenile should be held in secure detention, a non-secure alternative, or sent home.
  9. The United States Supreme Court has ruled that the press may publish juveniles' names in certain limited circumstances. For guidelines see Oklahoma Publishing Co. v. District Court, 430 U.S. 308 (1977), and Smith v. Daily Mail Publishing Co., 443 U.S. 97 (1979).

Under Adult Criminal Law.

  1. Juveniles between the ages of 12 and 17 years old who have committed a felony under the adult criminal law (sometimes referred to as the general law). At any age, youths who are alleged to have committed a serious offense, such as murder, sale of drugs, robbery, rape or assault, or who are repeat offenders may be certified as an adult and transferred to the adult criminal system. (Section 211.071, RSMo 2004.)
  • A hearing is held with all safeguards of notice, counsel and other rights. The only issue is whether the juvenile is a proper subject to be dealt with under the Juvenile Code. Factors considered by the court include:
    • Whether the alleged offense involved viciousness, force or violence.
    • Whether the alleged offense is part of a pattern of offenses indicating that the juvenile is beyond rehabilitation under the Juvenile Code.
    • The juvenile's prior record.
    • The programs and facilities available to the court to treat or rehabilitate the juvenile.
  • The court does not determine the guilt or innocence of the juvenile in determining whether to waive jurisdiction.
  1. If the court finds the juvenile not a proper subject to be dealt with under the Juvenile Code, it orders the petition dismissed. A copy of the petition and order of dismissal are sent to the prosecuting attorney, who may then charge the juvenile under the general law. The juvenile is then prosecuted as an adult, using procedures outlined in Handbook Chapter III.
  2. If the court does not permit the juvenile to be prosecuted under the general law, it goes ahead with its hearing procedures under the Juvenile Code.

Disposition of Cases.

  1. The family court has numerous alternatives in dealing with children. It may:
    • Return the child to the home. (Probation)
    • Order the child committed to a public or private agency authorized to care for children, such as the Missouri Division of Youth Services.
    • Commit the child to the custody of the juvenile officer for placement in a halfway house or other facility under the court's jurisdiction.(Residential Services)
    • Order the child to perform some community service, undergo psychiatric treatment, make restitution or order other appropriate measures.(Restitution Services)
  2. All commitments are for an indeterminate period of time, but may not continue past the juvenile's 21st birthday.