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IN CASES WHERE THE JUVENILE IS LIKELY TO FACE A LENGTHY TERM OF COMMITMENT OR BOOT CAMP, THE JUDGE ALWAYS REQUIRES THE JUVENILE TO CONSULT WITH AN ATTORNEY EVEN IF THE JUVENILE HAS ADMITTED TO THE CHARGE.
Juvenile Court Glossary
Adjudication: Like a trial; the hearing in which a judge listens to testimony and declares if the alleged charges are true.
Affidavit: Written statement of facts; the person who signs the affidavit swears an oath that the information given is true.
Allegation: A charge or claim made against someone.
Appeal: A complaint to a higher court asking to overturn the decision made by a lower court.
CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocate): A specially trained community member who is selected by the judge to advocate for the best interests of the child.
Chief Judge: The judge who has primary responsibility for the administration of a court, but also decides cases. Chief judges at DeKalb Juvenile Court are appointed every two years by Superior Court judges.
Child: A person who is under 17 years of age; or a person under 21 years of age who committed an act of delinquency before reaching 17 years and who has been placed under supervision by the court or on probation to the court; or a person under 18 years who is alleged to be a deprived child. (See Georgia Code Section 15-11-2)
Child Abuse: When a parent or caretaker intentionally injures a child; when a parent or caretaker intentionally neglects or exploits a child; any sexual abuse or exploitation of a child.
Child Advocate: Attorney assigned by the judge to represent the best interests of a child; the child advocate does not work for DFACS or for either parent of the child.
Citizen Review Panel: A group of trained community members who review the progress a family is making on their case plan and report those findings to the judge.
Complaint: A formal charge or allegation made against another person.
Court Administrator: The manager of the administrative, non-judicial affairs of a court, such as budgets, personnel, and court schedules.
CPS (Child Protective Services): The section of DFCS that responds to initial complaints of possible abuse of deprivation.
Custodian: Person who has been given physical custody of a child and is required to provide for that child’s needs and safety.
Delinquency: Juvenile actions or conduct in violation fo criminal law and, in some contexts, status offenders.
Delinquent: Juvenile who has been adjudicated by a judicial officer of a juvenile court as having committed a delinquent act.
Delinquent Act: An act that is designated a crime; an act of disobeying the terms of supervision contained in a court order directed to a child who has been adjudged to have committed a delinquent act. (See Georgia Code Section 15-11-2)
Delinquent Child: A child who has committed a delinquent act and is in need of treatment or rehabilitation or supervision. (See Georgia Code Section 15-11-2)
Deprived Child: One who is without proper parental care or control, subsistence, education as required by law, or other care or control necessary for one’s physical, mental or emotional health or morals; or one who has been placed for care or adoption in violation of law; or one who has been abandoned by parents or other legal custodian; or one who is without a parent, guardian, or custodian. (See Georgia Code Section 15-11-2)
Designated Felony: A list of particularly egregious offenses that may result in incarceration of a child for up to five years. (See Georgia Code Section 15-11-37)
Detention: A place of confinement for juvenile offenders. In Georgia the places of detention are operated by the Georgia Department of Juvenile Justice.
DFCS (Division of Family & Children Services): A state agency under the Department of Human Resources that provides child protection services and case management services families.
Disposition: Hearing after the adjudication to determine where a child will live while the parents complete the case plan.
Foster Care: State licensed temporary home, group home or shelter where a child may stay during court proceedings and while the parents work on the terms of the case plan.
Guardian: Person, other than the parent, who has legal responsibility for a child.
Hearing: A trial or proceeding before a judge.
- – The legal authority of a court to hear and decide a case;
- – The geographic area over which the court has authority to decide cases;
- – The territory, subject matter, or persons over which lawful authority may be exercised by a court.
Legal Father: A man who has a legal right to be included in the upbringing and care of a child; a legal father is one of the following:
- – A man who is married to the mother at the time a child was conceived or born;
- – A man who is not married to the mother, but acknowledges paternity and legitimates the child through a court action; or administratively at the hospital.
- – A biological father who acknowledges paternity and marries the mother.
Note: Naming a man as the biological father on a birth certificate, merely determining paternity through a blood test or ordering him to pay child support does not necessarily make him a legal father.
Legitimation: The process in which a man acknowledges paternity and establishes a legal father-child relationship.
Mandated Reporter: A person required by law to report suspicion of a child abuse; this includes doctors, nurses, teachers, police officers, childcare providers, and others.
Mediation: Alternative to court proceeding where families try to reach solution on their own; an impartial mediator leads the session and helps the parties come to an agreement among themselves rather than having a judge decide.
Non-Reunification: A plan in which custody will not go back to the parents; in some cases, non-reunification plans may precede a termination of parental rights action.
Party: Either the petitioner or the respondent in a lawsuit. The parties to a deprivation case are DFACS, parents and the child advocate.
Permanency Hearing: A hearing after the disposition to determine what the permanent plan for the child is going to be; Federal law says this hearing must take place no later than 1 YEAR after the day a child is taken into custody.
Petition: A legal document that states the reasons the court should get involved in a matter and asks the court to take a certain action.
Petitioner: Party that is making the claim of abuse or deprivation against the parents.
Punitive: An act inflicting or intended as punishment.
Records: All deprived children, unruly children, and first offender delinquent children (except designated felons) have a right to limited confidentiality of their records. The public has access to the complaint, petition, and dispositional order of any child who has been previously adjudicated delinquent and commits a second delinquent offense, or of any child who is charged with a designated felony.
Runaway child: Can be placed in foster care home, child welfare facility, OR securely detained for as long as it takes to return child home, or to ensure the runaway child’ s presence at a scheduled court appearance (only when the child has previously failed to appear for a scheduled court appearance).
Respondent: Person against whom allegations or charges are brought.
SAAG (Special Assistant Attorney General): the lawyer who represents DFACS.
Status Offense: Status offenses are offenses that are only crimes if committed by children, such as skipping school, running away, breaking curfew, and possession or use of alcohol.
Subpoena: A legal document requiring a person to come to court; if you get a subpoena, you must come to court.
Summons: A legal document notifying you of a court case and telling you when to come to court.
Taken Into Custody: To deprive a person of liberty by legal authority. Children are not arrested, but they may be taken into custody, which is also known as being detained.
Ten Deadly Sins: Youth charged with one of the following crimes will be transferred to the Superior Court for adjudication and can be convicted as an adult. Sentence can be 10 years to life.
- – Murder
- – 2nd Degree Murder
- – Voluntary Manslaughter
- – Rape
- – Aggravated Sodomy
- – Aggravated Child Molestation
- – Aggravated Sexual Battery
- – Armed Robbery with a Firearm
- – Aggravated Assault with a Firearm on Public Safety Officer
- – Aggravated Battery on Public Safety Officer
TPR (Termination of Parental Rights): Legal and permanent severance of the parent-child relationship; if parental rights are terminated, the child may become eligible for adoption.
Unruly Child: A child who is in need of supervision, treatment or rehabilitation and meetings one of the following criteria:
- – Is habitually truant from school.
- – Is habitually disobedient of the reasonable commands of their parent/guardian/legal custodian.
- – Has committed an offense applicable only to a child.
- – Without just cause and consent of parent/legal custodian deserts their place of abode.
- – Wanders or loiters about the streets, highway, or any public place, between the hours of 12:00 Midnight and 5:00 A.M.
- – Disobeys the terms of supervision contained in a court order which has been directed to such child, who has been adjudicated unruly.
- – Patronizes any bar where alcoholic beverages are being sold, unaccompanied by such child’s parent/guardian/custodian, or possesses alcoholic beverages.
- – Has committed a delinquent act and is in need of supervision, but not of treatment or rehabilitation.