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Juvenile

NOTICE: Juvenile cases involving juvenile dependency and juvenile delinquency are strictly confidential. No information will be provided over the phone. Parties wishing to obtain information must come to the Hall of Justice. 

Only persons with legal right to do so may receive information regarding juvenile cases, such as the juvenile's mother, father, or legal guardian. Identification will be required.

Juvenile Dependency

These cases concern family situations where allegations of abuse or neglect have been made, and the Juvenile Court intervenes to protect the family's children. Whenever possible the Court strives to preserve and strengthen families so children can be raised safely in their own homes. When this is not possible, the Court's focus then shifts to ensuring that children receive a permanent home in a timely fashion, either through reunification with their rehabilitated parents or through adoption, legal guardianship or a long term foster care commitment. Further placement and responsibility for that child is given to Child Protective Services.

The California Welfare and Institutions code, starting at section 300, sets forth the legal requirements, process and objectives for Dependency Court.   

The objectives of Dependency Court are to:

  1. Protect the health and safety of minor children;
  2. Preserve families, whenever possible;
  3. Provide placement of children with a relative, foster family, group home or an adoptive parent if it is determined to be in their best interest. 

Juvenile Delinquency

The Welfare and Institutions Code, starting at section 602, describes the court's jurisdiction over misdemeanors and felonies committed by minors (persons under 18 years of age.)  For certain serious crimes, the law currently provides the possibility of trying juveniles as adults in the Adult Criminal Court. 

Parents or guardians have the right to receive a copy of the delinquency petition, stating the delinquent acts the child is accused of committing. The petition does not prove that the minor committed these acts and there will be opportunities at court hearings to present evidence regarding the minor's involvement in the alleged criminal acts. 

For those who cannot afford legal representation for their children, the Court will appoint an attorney.  Please note that this attorney represents the child only and will not represent the parents or guardians. 

The objectives of the Delinquency court are to: 

  1. Protect the minor;
  2. Give guidance to the minor;
  3. Punish minors who commit delinquent acts, and;
  4. Ensure the safety of the community.

If a minor becomes a ward of the Delinquency Court, the court will make orders for the parents and guardians and the minor. The minor may be allowed to live in the parents' or guardians' home under Court supervision or may be placed outside of the home in an unlocked or locked facility.  The factors that the Court will consider in making this determination include the child's age, the seriousness of the offense, and the history of delinquency. 

Additional information can be found on the California Courts' Self-Help page Guide to juvenile justice court.

Juvenile Justice

Juvenile FAQs

Frequently Asked Questions

It is preferable that a parent or guardian be present with the minor in court. If you cannot be present with the minor, you should contact the court prior to the hearing and explain why you cannot be present.

Contact the Probation Department at (530) 251-8212. For a small fee, they will prepare all the paperwork for you and file it with the court.

Additional information on the process can be found on the California Courts' Self-Help page Guide to sealing juvenile court records.

Sealing Juvenile Court Records

Your child has a right to an attorney. If you cannot afford to hire an attorney for your child, the Court will appoint an attorney to represent him or her.

In dependency cases, parents have a right to an attorney. If you cannot afford to hire an attorney, the Court will appoint an attorney to represent you. Please note, if your child has an attorney, the attorney represents your child and not you.

You may be held responsible for various fees, including you or your child's attorney fees; probation department services fees and placement costs for keeping your child in a state placement such as the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, Division of Juvenile Justice, Juvenile Hall, or an out-of-home placement.

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