Juvenile Delinquency

Definition: Delinquent children, are those whose conduct would be considered criminal if they were adults.

Role of the juvenile court (in Jackson County - the family court): A court of special jurisdiction dealing with children under the age of seventeen in criminal cases, and under the age of eighteen in all other matters. It is a division of the circuit court. It is designed to provide protection, treatment and rehabilitation. Children are not treated as criminals, but as persons needing care, education, protection and guidance (see Chapter 211, RSMo).

The family court also has jurisdiction over cases involving children who are runaways, out of parental control or habitually truant from school. This is referred to as a status offense.

The family court has several options if your child is taken into custody for allegation(s) of law violations. Two of the options are:

  1. You and your child might be required to meet with a court worker who would help you to stay out of trouble in the future; or,

  2. The juvenile officer might file a petition, and the judge would decide if the law violations did occur. If the charges were sustained the judge could decide if probation or placement in a residential facility was required

What helps the court to decide what to do?

Issues relating to your youth:

    • The number of times you have been in trouble
    • The seriousness of your offense
    • Your school record - including behavior and grades
    • What help your family will give
    • The kind of friends you have
    • How well you cooperate with your assigned juvenile probation officer
    • Your attitude