The Family Court usually receives a referral (notified) when a juvenile is accused of breaking the law from a Law Enforcement agency. The referral and the juvenile are physically taken to the Family Justice Center; or the referral is sent by mail or hand delivered.
The referral is reviewed by the Juvenile Officer who determines what happens next.
The possibilities include:
- You might be given a warning
- You and your family might be interviewed by a Deputy Juvenile Officer.
- You might not have to see the judge. Instead you might have to meet with a court worker who would help you to stay out of trouble in the future.(Prevention & Diversion)
You might be returned home in the custody of your parent(s), with court ordered supervision by a juvenile probation officer (Probation)
You might be placed in a foster home, a group home or other residential facility.(Placement).
You might be ordered to perform community service or pay restitution to the victim. If you cause damage to property or injure a person, your parents may also have to pay up to $4,000 for damages and injuries. (Restitution Services)
What helps the court to decide what to do?
- 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