Juvenile Probation Overview

Michael Hartman 11/16/2020

justice

Various purposes, intents and goals are stated in statute when juvenile probation programs are created. Common purposes are to encourage rehabilitation and promote community safety. For example:

  • Idaho identifies the primary purpose of its law as providing “a continuum of programs which emphasize the juvenile offender's accountability for his actions while assisting him in the development of skills necessary to function effectively and positively in the community in a manner consistent with public safety.”
  • In Montana, one of the statute’s express legislative purposes is “to preserve the unity and welfare of the family whenever possible and to provide for the care, protection, and wholesome mental and physical development of a youth…” coming into the system.  And if removal of the home is necessary, “the youth is entitled to maintain ethnic, cultural, or religious heritage whenever appropriate.”
  • Some states, like Illinois, do not have a purpose clause for juvenile probation in statute, but instead the responsible agency or court branch (in the case of Illinois, the probation services division of the Illinois courts) have published purpose clauses on their website. 

Click through the map below to see relevant purpose statements in each of the states. Unless noted otherwise, purpose statements are drawn from statute or court rule.

Juvenile Probation Home Page

 

Text/HTML

Longer descriptiont than title                Purpose AL AK AZ AR CA CO CT DE FL GA HI ID IL IN IA KS KY LA ME MD MA MI MN MO MS MT NE NV NH NY NJ NM NC ND OH OK OR PA RI SC SD TN TX UT VT VA WA WV WI WY DC AS GU MP PR VI
 

Text/HTML

States

State flagSelect a state to see their most relevant purpose statement. Unless noted otherwise, purpose statements are drawn from statutory code or judicial rules.

ALABAMA

State flag

Juvenile probation officers are an integral part of the juvenile justice system. Juvenile probation officers perform a variety of services which are essential to the proper operation of the juvenile courts including working primarily with youths who are alleged to be delinquent or in need of supervision. It is the intent of the Legislature that a comprehensive system of juvenile probation services be developed, implemented, and administered statewide by the Administrative Office of Courts. (Alabama's Administrative Office of Courts, Family Court Information).

ALASKA

State flag

The goal of this chapter is to promote a balanced juvenile justice system in the state to protect the community, impose accountability for violations of law, and equip juvenile offenders with the skills needed to live responsibly and productively.

ARIZONA

State flag

Standard Probation: The purpose of juvenile standard probation in Arizona is to provide the highest quality service to the court, community, juveniles being supervised and their families. This is accomplished by promoting public safety through effective community-based supervision and enforcement of court orders, offering accurate and reliable information, and affording juveniles opportunities to be accountable and initiate positive changes.

Intensive Probation: JIPS is, as A.R.S. § 8-351 provides “a program which is established pursuant this article of a highly structured, closely supervised juvenile probation and which emphasizes surveillance, treatment, work, education and home detention.” The purpose of JIPS programs is to reduce commitments to the state department of juvenile corrections and other institutional or out of home placements.

ARKANSAS

State flag

This subchapter shall be liberally construed to the end that its purposes may be carried out: (1) To assure that all juveniles brought to the attention of the courts receive the guidance, care, and control, preferably in each juvenile’s own home when the juvenile’s health and safety are not at risk, that will best serve the emotional, mental, and physical welfare of the juvenile and the best interest of the state; (2) To preserve and strengthen the juvenile’s family ties when it is in the best interest of the juvenile; (3) To protect society more effectively by substituting for retributive punishment, whenever possible, methods of offender rehabilitation and rehabilitative restitution, recognizing that the application of sanctions that are consistent with the seriousness of the offense is appropriate in all cases; and (4) To provide means through which the provisions of this subchapter are executed and enforced and in which the parties are assured a fair hearing and their constitutional and other legal rights recognized and enforced.

CALIFORNIA

State flag

The purpose of this chapter is to protect society from the consequences of criminal activity and to that purpose community restoration, victim restoration, and offender training and treatment shall be substituted for retributive punishment and shall be directed toward the rehabilitation of young persons who have committed public offenses.

COLORADO

State flag

The general assembly hereby finds that the intent of this article is to protect, restore, and improve the public safety by creating a system of juvenile justice that will appropriately sanction juveniles who violate the law and, in certain cases, will also provide the opportunity to bring together affected victims, the community, and juvenile offenders for restorative purposes. The general assembly further finds that, while holding paramount the public safety, the juvenile justice system shall take into consideration the best interests of the juvenile, the victim, and the community in providing appropriate treatment to reduce the rate of recidivism in the juvenile justice system and to assist the juvenile in becoming a productive member of society.

The general assembly hereby finds that the public has the right to safe and secure homes and communities and that when a delinquent act occurs such safety and security is compromised; and the result is harm to the victim, the community, and the juvenile offender. The general assembly finds that the juvenile justice system should seek to repair such harm and that victims and communities should be provided with the opportunity to elect to participate actively in a restorative process that would hold the juvenile offender accountable for his or her offense.

CONNECTICUT

State flag

It is the intent of the General Assembly that the juvenile justice system provides individualized supervision, care, accountability and treatment in a manner consistent with public safety to those juveniles who violate the law. The juvenile system shall also promote prevention efforts through the support of programs and services designed to prevent re-offending. The goals of the juvenile justice system shall be to:

  1. Hold juveniles accountable for their unlawful behavior;
  2. Provide secure and therapeutic confinement to those juveniles who present a danger to the community;
  3. Adequately protect the community and juveniles;
  4. Provide programs and services that are community-based and in close proximity to the juvenile’s community;
  5. Maintain and support juveniles within their homes whenever possible and appropriate;
  6. Base probation case planning upon individual risks and needs;
  7. Include the juvenile’s family in case planning;
  8. Provide supervision and service coordination where appropriate and implement and monitor the case plan in order to discourage reoffending;
  9. Provide follow-up and community-based services to juveniles who are returned to their families or communities;
  10. Promote the development and implementation of community-based programs designed to prevent reoffending and to effectively minimize the depth and duration of the juvenile’s involvement in the juvenile justice system; and
  11. Create and maintain programs for juveniles that (A) are developmentally appropriate, trauma informed and gender responsive, and (B) incorporate restorative principles and practices.

The continuum of community-based programs shall be designed to address the individual risks and needs of juveniles, shall have the capacity to take into account each juvenile’s history, age, maturity and social development, gender, mental health, alcohol or drug use, need for structured supervision and other characteristics, and shall be culturally appropriate, trauma-informed and provided in the least restrictive environment possible in a manner consistent with public safety.

DELAWARE

State flag

The goal of supervision is to promote positive outcomes for youth and families through appropriate interventions and treatment which reduces youth risk to re-offend and increased community safety.

In the firm belief that compliance with the law by the individual and preservation of the family as a unit are fundamental to the maintenance of a stable, democratic society, the General Assembly intends by enactment of this chapter that 1 court shall have original statewide civil and criminal jurisdiction over family and child matters and offenses as set forth herein. The court shall endeavor to provide for each person coming under its jurisdiction such control, care, and treatment as will best serve the interests of the public, the family, and the offender, to the end that the home will, if possible, remain unbroken and the family members will recognize and discharge their legal and moral responsibilities to the public and to one another.

FLORIDA

State flag

The purposes of this chapter are:

  1. To increase public safety by reducing juvenile delinquency through effective prevention, intervention, and treatment services that strengthen and reform the lives of children.
  2. To provide judicial and other procedures to assure due process through which children, victims, and other interested parties are assured fair hearings by a respectful and respected court or other tribunal and the recognition, protection, and enforcement of their constitutional and other legal rights, while ensuring that public safety interests and the authority and dignity of the courts are adequately protected.
  3. To provide an environment that fosters healthy social, emotional, intellectual, educational, and physical development; to ensure secure and safe custody; and to promote the health and well-being of all children under the state's care.
  4. To ensure the protection of society, by providing for a comprehensive standardized assessment of the child's needs so that the most appropriate control, discipline, punishment, and treatment can be administered consistent with the seriousness of the act committed, the community's long-term need for public safety, the prior record of the child, and the specific rehabilitation needs of the child, while also providing, whenever possible, restitution to the victim of the offense.
  5. To preserve and strengthen the child's family ties whenever possible, by providing for removal of the child from the physical custody of a parent only when his or her welfare or the safety and protection of the public cannot be adequately safeguarded without such removal; and, when the child is removed from his or her own family, to secure custody, care, and discipline for the child as nearly as possible equivalent to that which should have been given by the parents.
    1. To assure that the adjudication and disposition of a child alleged or found to have committed a violation of Florida law be exercised with appropriate discretion and in keeping with the seriousness of the offense and the need for treatment services, and that all findings made under this chapter be based upon facts presented at a hearing that meets the constitutional standards of fundamental fairness and due process.
    2. To assure that the sentencing and placement of a child tried as an adult be appropriate and in keeping with the seriousness of the offense and the child's need for rehabilitative services, and that the proceedings and procedures applicable to such sentencing and placement be applied within the full framework of constitutional standards of fundamental fairness and due process.
  6. To provide children committed to the department with training in life skills, including career and technical education, when appropriate.
  7. To care for children in the least restrictive and most appropriate service environments to ensure that children assessed as low and moderate risk to reoffend are not committed to residential programs, unless the court deems such placement appropriate.
  8. To allocate resources for the most effective programs, services, and treatments to ensure that children, their families, and their community support systems are connected with these programs at the points along the juvenile justice continuum where they will have the most impact.

GEORGIA

State flag

The policy and intent of the General Assembly in delinquency and other child related problems and community-based services can be summarized as follows:

  1. Such programs should be planned and organized at the community level within the state, and such planning efforts should include appropriate representation from local government, local agencies serving families and children, both public and private, local business leaders, citizens with an interest in youth problems, youth representatives, and others as may be appropriate in a particular community. The role of the state should be to provide technical assistance, access to funding, program information, and assistance to local leadership in appropriate planning;
  2. When a child is adjudicated to be within the jurisdiction of the juvenile court or other state agencies, such child should be carefully evaluated through the available community-level resources including a comprehensive team of mental health providers, social services providers, public health and other available medical providers, public schools, and others, as appropriate, prior to the juvenile hearing dealing with disposition so that the disposition of the court may be made with an understanding of the needs of the child and after consideration of the resources available to meet those needs;
  3. It is contrary to the policy of the state for a court to separate a child from his or her own family or commit a child to an institution without a careful evaluation of the needs of the child;
  4. The General Assembly finds that state and local government should be responsive to the need for community-based services which would provide an alternative to commitment to an institution. The General Assembly intends that state government should be responsive to this need through the council by helping public and private local groups to plan, develop, and fund community-based programs, both residential and nonresidential;
  5. It is the intent of the General Assembly that the council develop a funding mechanism that will provide state support for programs that meet the standards developed under the provisions of this part.

HAWAII

State flag

This chapter shall be liberally construed to the end that children and families whose rights and well-being are jeopardized shall be assisted and protected, and secured in those rights through action by the court; that the court may formulate a plan adapted to the requirements of the child and the child's family and the necessary protection of the community, and may utilize all state and community resources to the extent possible in its implementation.

This chapter creates within this State a system of family courts and it shall be a policy and purpose of said courts to promote the reconciliation of distressed juveniles with their families, foster the rehabilitation of juveniles in difficulty, render appropriate punishment to offenders, and reduce juvenile delinquency. The court shall conduct all proceedings to the end that no adjudication by the court of the status of any child under this chapter shall be deemed a conviction; no such adjudication shall impose any civil disability ordinarily resulting from conviction; no child shall be found guilty or be deemed a criminal by reason of such adjudication; no child shall be charged with crime or be convicted in any court except as otherwise provided in this chapter; and all children found responsible for offenses shall receive dispositions that provide incentive for reform or deterrence from further misconduct, or both. The disposition made of a child or any evidence given in the court, shall not operate to disqualify the child in any civil service or military application or appointment. Any evidence given in any case under section 571-11 shall not in any civil, criminal, or other cause in any court be lawful or proper evidence against the child for any purpose whatever except in subsequent cases involving the same child under section 571-11.

IDAHO

State flag

It is the policy of the state of Idaho that the juvenile corrections system will be based on the following principles: accountability; community protection; and competency development. Where a juvenile has been found to be within the purview of the juvenile corrections act, the court shall impose a sentence that will protect the community, hold the juvenile offender accountable for his actions, and assist the juvenile offender in developing skills to become a contributing member of a diverse community. It is the further policy of the state of Idaho that the parents or other legal guardians of the juvenile offender participate in the accomplishment of these goals through participation in counseling and treatment designed to develop positive parenting skills and an understanding of the family's role in the juvenile offender's behavior. It is the further intent of the legislature that the parents of the juvenile offender be held accountable, where appropriate, through monetary reimbursement for supervision and confinement of the juvenile offender, and restitution to victims of the juvenile offender's delinquent acts. In enacting this legislation, the legislature finds that the juvenile corrections system should encompass the following aspects: day treatment, community programs, observation and assessment programs, probation services, secure facilities, after-care and assistance to counties for juvenile offenders not committed to the custody of the department of juvenile corrections.

The following is a brief description of what the legislature intends to become the components of Idaho's juvenile corrections system:

Probation. Probation officers would have twenty-four (24) hour on call responsibility for juvenile offenders and would monitor their activities on a continual basis. Probation officers would be responsible for assisting juvenile offenders and their families in accessing counseling or treatment resources, close supervision of juvenile offenders' activities, supervision of restitution and coordination of other services provided to juvenile offenders. Juvenile offenders ordered into the custody of the department of juvenile corrections would be monitored by a county probation officer.

Day treatment. Day treatment programs would be time limited nonresidential treatment and educational programs. Included in these programs would be trackers who would provide intensive supervision of juvenile offenders through daily contact and by counseling juvenile offenders regarding employment, education, courts, family and life skills. Nonresidential alcohol and drug programs would provide outpatient assessment and counseling for juvenile offenders with substance abuse problems.

Community programs. It is intended that community programs would exist throughout the state to provide twenty-four (24) hour residential supervision and treatment options to juvenile offenders in close proximity to their families and their community. It is intended that these programs would strengthen the juvenile offender's relationship with family, engender a commitment to school and employment, promote the development of competency and life skills and help juvenile offenders generalize appropriate behavior into their environment.

Observation and assessment. Regional observation and assessment centers would be provided, either directly or on a contract basis, to conduct observation and assessment of the juvenile offender in a short-term residential experience. It is intended that these programs would maintain standardized home and daily routines with intensive daily programming.

Secure facilities. Secure facilities would provide secure confinement, discipline, education and treatment of the most seriously delinquent juvenile offenders. Programs at the secure facilities would be designed to help juvenile offenders recognize accountability for delinquent behavior by confronting and eliminating delinquent norms, criminal thinking and antisocial behavior and making restitution to victims through community service or other restitution programs.

It is the further intent of the legislature that the primary purpose of this act is to provide a continuum of programs which emphasize the juvenile offender's accountability for his actions while assisting him in the development of skills necessary to function effectively and positively in the community in a manner consistent with public safety. These services and programs will individualize treatment and control of the juvenile offender for the benefit of the juvenile offender and the protection of society. It is legislative intent that the department of juvenile corrections be operated within the framework of the following principles to accomplish this mission:

  1. Provide humane, disciplined confinement to a juvenile offender who presents a danger to the community.
  2. Strengthen opportunities for the juvenile offender's development of competency and life skills by expanding the juvenile offender's access to applicable programs and community resources.
  3. Hold juvenile offenders accountable for their delinquent behavior through such means as victim restitution, community service programs and the sharing of correctional costs.
  4. Invoke the participation of the juvenile offender's parent or legal guardian in assisting the juvenile offender to recognize and accept responsibility for his delinquent or other antisocial behavior and hold the parent accountable, where appropriate, through the payment of detention costs and restitution to victims and through attendance at programs for the development of positive parenting skills designed to promote a functional relationship between the juvenile offender and his family.
  5. Develop efficient and effective juvenile correctional programs within the framework of professional correctional standards, legislative intent and available resources.
  6. Provide for a diversity of innovative and effective programs through research on delinquent behavior and the continuous evaluation of correctional programs.
  7. Assist counties in developing meaningful programs for juvenile offenders who have come into the juvenile corrections system but who have not been committed to the custody of the department of juvenile corrections.
  8. Provide programs to increase public awareness of the mission of the juvenile corrections system and encourage public participation in developing an effective juvenile corrections system designed to aid in reducing juvenile crime in this state.
  9. Develop and maintain a statewide juvenile offender information system.

ILLINOIS

State flag

No statutory purpose. The mission of the Probation Services Division is to enhance the capacity of the community corrections system in order to reduce offender recidivism and create safer communities. In carrying out this mission, the Division's training, monitoring, standards setting, and technical assistance activities extend to all aspects of the administration and operation of the 69 local probation departments or districts that serve Illinois' 102 counties. All sixteen juvenile detention centers are administered by the circuit courts.

INDIANA

State flag

No statement available.

IOWA

State flag

This chapter shall be liberally construed to the end that each child under the jurisdiction of the court shall receive, preferably in the child's own home, the care, guidance and control that will best serve the child's welfare and the best interest of the state. When a child is removed from the control of the child's parents, the court shall secure for the childcare as nearly as possible equivalent to that which should have been given by the parents.

KANSAS

State flag

The primary goals of the juvenile justice code are to promote public safety, hold juvenile offenders accountable for their behavior and improve their ability to live more productively and responsibly in the community. To accomplish these goals, juvenile justice policies developed pursuant to the revised Kansas juvenile justice code shall be designed to: (a) Protect public safety; (b) recognize that the ultimate solutions to juvenile crime lie in the strengthening of families and educational institutions, the involvement of the community and the implementation of effective prevention and early intervention programs; (c) be community based to the greatest extent possible; (d) be family centered when appropriate; (e) facilitate efficient and effective cooperation, coordination and collaboration among agencies of the local, state and federal government; (f) be outcome based, allowing for the effective and accurate assessment of program performance; (g) be cost-effectively implemented and administered to utilize resources wisely; (h) encourage the recruitment and retention of well-qualified, highly trained professionals to staff all components of the system; (i) appropriately reflect community norms and public priorities; and (j) encourage public and private partnerships to address community risk factors.

KENTUCKY

State flag

The Unified Juvenile Code shall be interpreted to effectuate the following express legislative purposes:

  1. The Commonwealth shall direct its efforts to promoting protection of children; to the strengthening and encouragement of family life for the protection and care of children; to strengthening and maintaining the biological family unit; to ensuring that policies and practices utilized are supported by data and research and are monitored or measured for their effectiveness in achieving the intended results; and to offering all available resources to any family in need of them;
  2. It also shall be declared to be the policy of this Commonwealth that:
    1. All efforts shall be directed toward providing each child a safe and nurturing home;
    2. Emphasis shall be placed on involving families in interventions developed for youth, providing families with access to services necessary to address issues within the family, and increasing accountability of the youth and families within the juvenile justice system;
    3. To the extent possible, out-of-home placement should only be utilized for youth who are high-risk or high-level offenders, and that low-risk, low-level offenders should be served through evidence-based programming in their community; and
    4. As the population in Department of Juvenile Justice facilities is reduced through increased use of community-based treatment, and if staffing ratios can be maintained at the levels required by accreditation bodies, reductions of the number of facilities should be considered;
  3. The court shall show that other less restrictive alternatives have been attempted or are not feasible in order to insure that children are not removed from families except when absolutely necessary;
  4. Any child brought before the court under The Unified Juvenile Code shall have a right to treatment reasonably calculated, through the use of evidence-based programs when available, to bring about an improvement of his or her condition and, to the extent possible, have that treatment administered in the county of residence of the custodial parent or parents or in the nearest available county;
  5. The Unified Juvenile Code shall be interpreted to promote the best interests of the child through providing treatment and sanctions to reduce recidivism and assist in making the child a productive citizen by involving the family, as appropriate, and by advancing the principles of personal responsibility, accountability, and reformation, while maintaining public safety, and seeking restitution and reparation;
  6. The Unified Juvenile Code shall be interpreted to promote public safety and the concept that every child be held accountable for his or her conduct through the use of restitution, reparation, and sanctions, in an effort to rehabilitate delinquent youth; and
  7. It shall further be the policy of this Commonwealth to provide judicial procedures in which rights and interests of all parties, including the parents and victims, are recognized and all parties are assured prompt and fair hearings. Unless otherwise provided, such protections belong to the child individually and may not be waived by any other party.

LOUISIANA

State flag

The purpose of this Title is to accord due process to each child who is accused of having committed a delinquent act and ensure that he shall receive, preferably in his own home, the care, guidance, and control that will be conducive to his welfare and the best interests of the state and that in those instances when he is removed from the control of his parents, the court shall secure for him care as nearly as possible equivalent to that which the parents should have given him.

MAINE

State flag

The purposes of this Part are:

  1. To secure for each juvenile subject to these provisions such care and guidance, preferably in the juvenile's own home, as will best serve the juvenile's welfare and the interests of society;
  2. To preserve and strengthen family ties whenever possible, including improvement of home environment;
  3. To remove a juvenile from the custody of the juvenile's parents only when the juvenile's welfare and safety or the protection of the public would otherwise be endangered or, when necessary, to punish a child adjudicated, pursuant to chapter 507,1 as having committed a juvenile crime;
  4. To secure for any juvenile removed from the custody of the juvenile's parents the necessary treatment, care, guidance and discipline to assist that juvenile in becoming a responsible and productive member of society;
  5. To provide procedures through which the provisions of the law are executed and enforced and that ensure that the parties receive fair hearings at which their rights as citizens are recognized and protected; and
  6. To provide consequences, which may include those of a punitive nature, for repeated serious criminal behavior or repeated violations of probation conditions.

MARYLAND

State flag

The purposes of this subtitle are:

  1. To ensure that the Juvenile Justice System balances the following objectives for children who have committed delinquent acts:
    1. Public safety and the protection of the community;
    2. Accountability of the child to the victim and the community for offenses committed; and
    3. Competency and character development to assist children in becoming responsible and productive members of society;
  2. To hold parents of children found to be delinquent responsible for the child's behavior and accountable to the victim and the community;
  3. To hold parents of children found to be delinquent or in need of supervision responsible, where possible, for remedying the circumstances that required the court's intervention;
  4. To provide for the care, protection, and wholesome mental and physical development of children coming within the provisions of this subtitle; and to provide for a program of treatment, training, and rehabilitation consistent with the child's best interests and the protection of the public interest;
  5. To conserve and strengthen the child's family ties and to separate a child from his parents only when necessary for his welfare or in the interest of public safety;
  6. If necessary to remove a child from his home, to secure for him custody, care, and discipline as nearly as possible equivalent to that which should have been given by his parents;
  7. To provide to children in State care and custody:
    1. A safe, humane, and caring environment; and
    2. Access to required services; and
  8. To provide judicial procedures for carrying out the provisions of this subtitle.

MASSACHUSETTS

State flag

The Juvenile Court's mission is to protect children from abuse and neglect, to strengthen families, to rehabilitate juveniles, and to protect the public from delinquent and criminal behavior. (Massachusetts Juvenile Court).

MICHIGAN

State flag

Juvenile Justice Programs provides support for juvenile offenders and promotes safe communities by focusing on the following goals.

  • Safe Communities through Early Intervention, Diversion and Prevention at the Community Level.
  • Effective Community Programming.
  • Continuous Quality Improvement (CQI), Data Collection and Analysis.
  • Complete and Consistent Continuum of Available Services and Treatment.
  • Evidence-Based Principles/Outcome Driven Funding Through the Child Care Fund.

MINNESOTA

State flag

The purpose of the laws relating to children alleged or adjudicated to be delinquent is to promote the public safety and reduce juvenile delinquency by maintaining the integrity of the substantive law prohibiting certain behavior and by developing individual responsibility for lawful behavior. This purpose should be pursued through means that are fair and just, that recognize the unique characteristics and needs of children, and that give children access to opportunities for personal and social growth.

MISSISSIPPI

State flag

This chapter shall be liberally construed to the end that each child coming within the jurisdiction of the youth court shall become a responsible, accountable and productive citizen, and that each such child shall receive such care, guidance and control, preferably in such child's own home as is conducive toward that end and is in the state's and the child's best interest. It is the public policy of this state that the parents of each child shall be primarily responsible for the care, support, education and welfare of such children; however, when it is necessary that a child be removed from the control of such child's parents, the youth court shall secure proper care for such child.

MISSOURI

State flag

The purpose of this chapter is to facilitate the care, protection and discipline of children who come within the jurisdiction of the juvenile court. This chapter shall be liberally construed, therefore, to the end that each child coming within the jurisdiction of the juvenile court shall receive such care, guidance and control as will conduce to the child's welfare and the best interests of the state, and that when such child is removed from the control of his parents the court shall secure for him care as nearly as possible equivalent to that which should have been given him by them. The child welfare policy of this state is what is in the best interests of the child.

MONTANA

State flag

The Montana Youth Court Act must be interpreted and construed to effectuate the following express legislative purposes:

  1. to preserve the unity and welfare of the family whenever possible and to provide for the care, protection, and wholesome mental and physical development of a youth coming within the provisions of the Montana Youth Court Act;
  2. to prevent and reduce youth delinquency through a system that does not seek retribution but that provides:
    1. immediate, consistent, enforceable, and avoidable consequences of youths' actions;
    2. a program of supervision, care, rehabilitation, detention, competency development, and community protection for youth before they become adult offenders;
    3. in appropriate cases, restitution as ordered by the youth court; and
    4. that, whenever removal from the home is necessary, the youth is entitled to maintain ethnic, cultural, or religious heritage whenever appropriate;
  3. to achieve the purposes of subsections (1) and (2) in a family environment whenever possible, separating the youth from the parents only when necessary for the welfare of the youth or for the safety and protection of the community;
  4. to provide judicial procedures in which the parties are ensured a fair, accurate hearing and recognition and enforcement of their constitutional and statutory rights.

NEBRASKA

State flag

Acknowledging the responsibility of the juvenile court to act to preserve the public peace and security, the Nebraska Juvenile Code shall be construed to effectuate the following:

  1. To assure the rights of all juveniles to care and protection and a safe and stable living environment and to development of their capacities for a healthy personality, physical well-being, and useful citizenship and to protect the public interest;
  2. To provide for the intervention of the juvenile court in the interest of any juvenile who is within the provisions of the Nebraska Juvenile Code, with due regard to parental rights and capacities and the availability of nonjudicial resources;
  3. To remove juveniles who are within the Nebraska Juvenile Code from the criminal justice system whenever possible and to reduce the possibility of their committing future law violations through the provision of social and rehabilitative services to such juveniles and their families;
  4. To offer selected juveniles the opportunity to take direct personal responsibility for their individual actions by reconciling with the victims, or victim surrogates when appropriate, through restorative justice practices and fulfilling the terms of the resulting reparation plan which may require apologies, restitution, community service, or other agreed-upon means of making amends;
  5. To achieve the purposes of subdivisions (1) through (3) of this section in the juvenile's own home whenever possible, separating the juvenile from his or her parent when necessary for his or her welfare, the juvenile's health and safety being of paramount concern, or in the interest of public safety and, when temporary separation is necessary, to consider the developmental needs of the individual juvenile in all placements, to consider relatives as a preferred potential placement resource, and to make reasonable efforts to preserve and reunify the family if required under section 43-283.01;
  6. To promote adoption, guardianship, or other permanent arrangements for children in the custody of the Department of Health and Human Services who are unable to return home;
  7. To provide a judicial procedure through which these purposes and goals are accomplished and enforced in which the parties are assured a fair hearing and their constitutional and other legal rights are recognized and enforced;
  8. To assure compliance, in cases involving Indian children, with the Nebraska Indian Child Welfare Act; and
  9. To make any temporary placement of a juvenile in the least restrictive environment consistent with the best interests of the juvenile and the safety of the community.

NEVADA

State flag

The Legislature hereby declares that:

  1. This title must be liberally construed to the end that:
    1. Each child who is subject to the jurisdiction of the juvenile court must receive such care, guidance and control, preferably in the child's own home, as will be conducive to the child's welfare and the best interests of this State; and
    2. When a child is removed from the control of the parent or guardian of the child, the juvenile court shall secure for the child a level of care which is equivalent as nearly as possible to the care that should have been given to the child by the parent or guardian.
  2. One of the purposes of this title is to promote the establishment, supervision and implementation of preventive programs that are designed to prevent a child from becoming subject to the jurisdiction of the juvenile court.

NEW HAMPSHIRE

State flag

Purpose

This chapter shall be liberally interpreted, construed and administered to effectuate the following purposes and policies:

  1. To encourage the wholesome moral, mental, emotional, and physical development of each minor coming within the provisions of this chapter, by providing the protection, care, treatment, counselling, supervision, and rehabilitative resources which such minor needs.
  2. Consistent with the protection of the public interest, to promote the minor's acceptance of personal responsibility for delinquent acts committed by the minor, encourage the minor to understand and appreciate the personal consequences of such acts, and provide a minor who has committed delinquent acts with counseling, supervision, treatment, and rehabilitation and make parents aware of the extent if any to which they may have contributed to the delinquency and make them accountable for their role in its resolution.
  3. To achieve the foregoing purposes and policies, whenever possible, by keeping a minor in contact with the home community and in a family environment by preserving the unity of the family and separating the minor and parents only when it is clearly necessary for the minor's welfare or the interests of public safety and when it can be clearly shown that a change in custody and control will plainly better the minor.
  4. To provide effective judicial procedures through which the provisions of this chapter are executed and enforced and which recognize and enforce the constitutional and other rights of the parties and assures them a fair hearing.

NEW JERSEY

State flag

This act shall be construed so as to effectuate the following purposes:

  1. To preserve the unity of the family whenever possible and to provide for the care, protection, and wholesome mental and physical development of juveniles coming within the provisions of this act;
  2. Consistent with the protection of the public interest, to remove from children committing delinquent acts certain statutory consequences of criminal behavior, and to substitute therefor an adequate program of supervision, care and rehabilitation, and a range of sanctions designed to promote accountability and protect the public;
  3. To separate juveniles from the family environment only when necessary for their health, safety, or welfare or in the interests of public safety;
  4. To secure for each child coming under the jurisdiction of the court the care, guidance, and control, preferably in his own home, as will conduce to the child's welfare and the best interests of the State; and when the child is removed from his own family, to secure for him custody, care, and discipline as nearly as possible equivalent to that which should have been given by his parents;
  5. To insure that children under the jurisdiction of the court are wards of the State, subject to the discipline and entitled to the protection of the State, which may intervene to safeguard them from neglect or injury and to enforce the legal obligations due to them and from them;
  6. Consistent with the protection of the public interest, to insure that any services and sanctions for juveniles provide balanced attention to the protection of the community, the imposition of accountability for offenses committed, fostering interaction and dialogue between the offender, victim, and community, and the development of competencies to enable children to become responsible and productive members of the community;
  7. To insure protection and a safe environment for those sexually exploited juveniles who are charged with prostitution or who are alleged to be victims of human trafficking; and to provide these juveniles with the appropriate shelter, care, counseling, and crisis intervention services from the time they are taken into custody and for the duration of any legal proceedings; and
  8. To insure that in any action undertaken within the provisions of this act, the best interests of the child shall be a primary consideration.

NEW MEXICO

State flag

The purpose of the Delinquency Act is:

  1. consistent with the protection of the public interest, to remove from children committing delinquent acts the adult consequences of criminal behavior, but to still hold children committing delinquent acts accountable for their actions to the extent of the child's age, education, mental and physical condition, background and all other relevant factors, and to provide a program of supervision, care and rehabilitation, including rehabilitative restitution by the child to the victims of the child's delinquent act to the extent that the child is reasonably able to do so;
  2. to provide effective deterrents to acts of juvenile delinquency, including an emphasis on community-based alternatives;
  3. to strengthen families and to successfully reintegrate children into homes and communities;
  4. to foster and encourage collaboration between government agencies and communities with regard to juvenile justice policies and procedures;
  5. to develop juvenile justice policies and procedures that are supported by data;
  6. to develop objective risk assessment instruments to be used for admission to juvenile detention centers;
  7. to encourage efficient processing of cases;
  8. to develop community-based alternatives to detention;
  9. to eliminate or reduce disparities based upon race or gender;
  10. to improve conditions of confinement in juvenile detention centers; and
  11. to achieve reductions in the number of warrants issued, the number of probation violations and the number of youth awaiting placements.

NEW YORK

State flag

The purpose of this article is to establish procedures in accordance with due process of law (a) to determine whether a person is a juvenile delinquent and (b) to issue an appropriate order of disposition for any person who is adjudged a juvenile delinquent. In any proceeding under this article, the court shall consider the needs and best interests of the respondent as well as the need for protection of the community.

NORTH CAROLINA

State flag

This Subchapter shall be interpreted and construed so as to implement the following purposes and policies:

  1. To protect the public from acts of delinquency.
  2. To deter delinquency and crime, including patterns of repeat offending:
    1. By providing swift, effective dispositions that emphasize the juvenile offender's accountability for the juvenile's actions; and
    2. By providing appropriate rehabilitative services to juveniles and their families.
  3. To provide an effective system of intake services for the screening and evaluation of complaints and, in appropriate cases, where court intervention is not necessary to ensure public safety, to refer juveniles to community-based resources.
  4. To provide uniform procedures that assure fairness and equity; that protect the constitutional rights of juveniles, parents, and victims; and that encourage the court and others involved with juvenile offenders to proceed with all possible speed in making and implementing determinations required by this Subchapter.

The purpose of dispositions in juvenile actions is to design an appropriate plan to meet the needs of the juvenile and to achieve the objectives of the State in exercising jurisdiction, including the protection of the public. The court should develop a disposition in each case that:

  1. Promotes public safety;
  2. Emphasizes accountability and responsibility of both the parent, guardian, or custodian and the juvenile for the juvenile's conduct; and
  3. Provides the appropriate consequences, treatment, training, and rehabilitation to assist the juvenile toward becoming a nonoffending, responsible, and productive member of the community.

NORTH DAKOTA

State flag

If the child is found to be a delinquent child, the court shall make findings and include in the order of disposition any actions or steps necessary to ensure:

  1. The child receives the treatment or rehabilitation the court deems most appropriate;
  2. Accountability to the victim; and
  3. Safety of the community.

OHIO

State flag

These rules shall be liberally interpreted and construed so as to effectuate the following purposes:

  1. to effect the just determination of every juvenile court proceeding by ensuring the parties a fair hearing and the recognition and enforcement of their constitutional and other legal rights;
  2. to secure simplicity and uniformity in procedure, fairness in administration, and the elimination of unjustifiable expense and delay;
  3. to provide for the care, protection, and mental and physical development of children subject to the jurisdiction of the juvenile court, and to protect the welfare of the community; and
  4. to protect the public interest by treating children as persons in need of supervision, care and rehabilitation. (court rules)

The sections in Chapter 2151. of the Revised Code, with the exception of those sections providing for the criminal prosecution of adults, shall be liberally interpreted and construed so as to effectuate the following purposes:

  1. To provide for the care, protection, and mental and physical development of children subject to Chapter 215 of the Revised Code, whenever possible, in a family environment, separating the child from the child's parents only when necessary for the child's welfare or in the interests of public safety;
  2. To provide judicial procedures through which Chapters 2151. and 215 of the Revised Code are executed and enforced, and in which the parties are assured of a fair hearing, and their constitutional and other legal rights are recognized and enforced. (Juvenile Court – General Provisions)

The overriding purposes for dispositions under this chapter are to provide for the care, protection, and mental and physical development of children subject to this chapter, protect the public interest and safety, hold the offender accountable for the offender's actions, restore the victim, and rehabilitate the offender. These purposes shall be achieved by a system of graduated sanctions and services.

Dispositions under this chapter shall be reasonably calculated to achieve the overriding purposes set forth in this section, commensurate with and not demeaning to the seriousness of the delinquent child's or the juvenile traffic offender's conduct and its impact on the victim, and consistent with dispositions for similar acts committed by similar delinquent children and juvenile traffic offenders. The court shall not base the disposition on the race, ethnic background, gender, or religion of the delinquent child or juvenile traffic offender.

To the extent they do not conflict with this chapter, the provisions of Chapter 2151. of the Revised Code apply to the proceedings under this chapter. (Juvenile Court – Criminal)

OKLAHOMA

State flag

The purpose of the laws relating to juveniles alleged or adjudicated to be delinquent is to promote the public safety and reduce juvenile delinquency. This purpose should be pursued through means that are fair and just, that:

  1. Recognize the unique characteristics and needs of juveniles;
  2. Give juveniles access to opportunities for personal and social growth;
  3. Maintain the integrity of substantive law prohibiting certain behavior and developing individual responsibility for lawful behavior;
  4. Provide a system relying upon individualized treatment and best practice for the rehabilitation and reintegration of juvenile delinquents into society;
  5. Preserve and strengthen family ties whenever possible, including improvement of home environment;
  6. Remove a juvenile from the custody of parents if the welfare and safety of the juvenile or the protection of the public would otherwise be endangered;
  7. Secure for any juvenile removed from the custody of parents the necessary treatment, care, guidance and discipline to assist the juvenile in becoming a responsible and productive member of society; and

Provide procedures through which the provisions of the law are executed and enforced and which will assure the parties fair hearings at which their rights as citizens are recognized and protected.

OREGON

State flag

The Legislative Assembly declares that in delinquency cases, the purposes of the Oregon juvenile justice system from apprehension forward are to protect the public and reduce juvenile delinquency and to provide fair and impartial procedures for the initiation, adjudication and disposition of allegations of delinquent conduct. The system is founded on the principles of personal responsibility, accountability and reformation within the context of public safety and restitution to the victims and to the community. The system shall provide a continuum of services that emphasize prevention of further criminal activity by the use of early and certain sanctions, reformation and rehabilitation programs and swift and decisive intervention in delinquent behavior. The system shall be open and accountable to the people of Oregon and their elected representatives.

PENNSYLVANIA

State flag

This chapter shall be interpreted and construed as to effectuate the following purposes:

  1. To preserve the unity of the family whenever possible or to provide another alternative permanent family when the unity of the family cannot be maintained.
  2. To provide for the care, protection, safety and wholesome mental and physical development of children coming within the provisions of this chapter.
  3. Consistent with the protection of the public interest, to provide for children committing delinquent acts programs of supervision, care and rehabilitation which provide balanced attention to the protection of the community, the imposition of accountability for offenses committed and the development of competencies to enable children to become responsible and productive members of the community.
  4. To achieve the foregoing purposes in a family environment whenever possible, separating the child from parents only when necessary for his welfare, safety or health or in the interests of public safety, by doing all of the following:
    1. employing evidence-based practices whenever possible and, in the case of a delinquent child, by using the least restrictive intervention that is consistent with the protection of the community, the imposition of accountability for offenses committed and the rehabilitation, supervision and treatment needs of the child; and
    2. imposing confinement only if necessary and for the minimum amount of time that is consistent with the purposes under paragraphs (1), (1.1) and (2).
  5. To provide means through which the provisions of this chapter are executed and enforced and in which the parties are assured a fair hearing and their constitutional and other legal rights recognized and enforced.

RHODE ISLAND

State flag

The purpose of this chapter is:

  1. To secure for each child under its jurisdiction the care, guidance, and control, preferably in his or her own home, that will serve the child's welfare and the best interests of the state;
  2. To conserve and strengthen the child's family ties wherever possible, removing him or her from the custody of his or her parents only when his or her welfare or the safety and protection of the public cannot be adequately safeguarded without that removal; and
  3. When a child is removed from his or her own family, to secure for him or her custody, care, and discipline as nearly as possible equivalent to that which should have been given by his or her parents.

SOUTH CAROLINA

State flag

A children's policy is hereby established for this State.

This policy shall be interpreted in conjunction with all relevant laws and regulations and shall apply to all children who have need of services including, but not limited to, those mentally, socially, emotionally, physically, developmentally, culturally, educationally or economically disadvantaged or handicapped, those dependent, neglected, abused or exploited and those who by their circumstance or action violate the laws of this State and are found to be in need of treatment or rehabilitation.

It shall be the policy of this State to concentrate on the prevention of children's problems as the most important strategy which can be planned and implemented on behalf of children and their families. The State shall encourage community involvement in the provision of children's services including, as an integral part, local government, public and private voluntary groups, public and private nonprofit groups and private-for-profit groups in order to encourage and provide innovative strategies for children's services. To maximize resources in providing services to children in need, all agencies providing services to children shall develop methods to coordinate their services and resources. For children with multiple needs, the furtherance of this policy requires all children's services agencies to recognize that their jurisdiction in meeting these children's needs is not mutually exclusive.

When children or their families request help, state and local government resources shall be utilized to compliment community efforts to help meet the needs of children by aiding in the prevention and resolution of their problems. The State shall direct its efforts first to strengthen and encourage family life as the most appropriate environment for the care and nurturing of children. To this end, the State shall assist and encourage families to utilize all available resources. For children in need of services, care and guidance the State shall secure those services as are needed to serve the emotional, mental and physical welfare of children and the best interests of the community, preferably in their homes or the least restrictive environment possible. When children must be placed in care away from their homes, the State shall insure that they are protected against any harmful effects resulting from the temporary or permanent inability of parents to provide care and protection for their children. It is the policy of this State to reunite the child with his family in a timely manner, whether or not the child has been placed in the care of the State voluntarily. When children must be permanently removed from their homes, they shall be placed in adoptive homes so that they may become members of a family by legal adoption or, absent that possibility, other permanent settings.

The children's policy provided for in this chapter shall be implemented through the cooperative efforts of state, county and municipal legislative, judicial and executive branches, as well as other public and private resources. Where resources are limited, services shall be targeted to those children in greatest need.

In order to carry out this policy each agency, department, institution, committee, and commission which is concerned or responsible for children shall submit as a part of its annual budget request a listing of programs and services for children, the priority order of these programs and services in relation to other services, if any, that are provided by the agency, department, institution, committee, or commission, and a summary of the expenses incurred for the administration of its children's services and programs. In addition, each agency, department, institution, committee, and commission which must submit pursuant to law an annual report to the General Assembly shall include as part of the report a comprehensive statement of how its children's services and programs contributed to the implementation of this policy. Copies of all these budget requests and annual reports must be provided to the Office of the Governor by the agency, department, institution, committee, or commission.

SOUTH DAKOTA

State flag

Pursuant to § 26-7A-125, the Supreme Court hereby adopts the following juvenile graduated response grid and rules to guide court services officers in determining the appropriate response to a violation or compliance with the conditions of juvenile probation. It is the policy of the Unified Judicial System that violations of probation be addressed in a timely, consistent and reasonable manner by use of a graduated response grid. The use of graduated sanctions and incentives is intended to achieve public safety by holding juvenile offenders accountable for their behavior and reinforcing positive behavior.

TENNESSEE

State flag

Through the department of children's services, the state of Tennessee, in cooperation with juvenile courts, local communities, schools and families will strive to provide timely, appropriate and cost-effective services for children in state custody and at risk of entering state custody so that these children can reach their full potential as productive, competent and healthy adults. The department is created to provide services to those children who are unruly, delinquent, dependent and neglected, and their respective families, as well as for children who are at imminent risk and in need of services to prevent entry into state custody, who are in state custody pending family reunification or other permanent placement, or as otherwise may be required for such children and their families pursuant to state law. In all cases, the services shall be to further the best interest of the child, and when appropriate, to preserve the relationship between the child and the family. Whenever possible, the services shall be provided in the community where the child lives and in a setting that is the least restrictive and, yet, the most beneficial to the child. For the children it serves, the department shall strive to:

  1. Protect children from abuse, mistreatment or neglect;
  2. Provide prevention, early intervention, rehabilitative and educational services;
  3. Pursue appropriate and effective behavioral and mental health treatment;
  4. Ensure that health care needs, both preventive and practical, are met; and
  5. Keep children safe.

The department will work to preserve the safety and protect the standards in Tennessee communities through efforts to combat delinquency and other social ills concerning young people. The department shall work to continuously improve the management and coordination of services for the children and families of Tennessee identified in this section by ensuring thorough evaluations and assessments, appropriate and effective service delivery, timely permanency planning and supportive supervision and monitoring of the progress of children discharged from state custody.

TEXAS

State flag

This title shall be construed to effectuate the following public purposes:

  1. to provide for the protection of the public and public safety;
  2. consistent with the protection of the public and public safety:
    1. to promote the concept of punishment for criminal acts;
    2. to remove, where appropriate, the taint of criminality from children committing certain unlawful acts; and
    3. to provide treatment, training, and rehabilitation that emphasizes the accountability and responsibility of both the parent and the child for the child's conduct;
  3. to provide for the care, the protection, and the wholesome moral, mental, and physical development of children coming within its provisions;
  4. to protect the welfare of the community and to control the commission of unlawful acts by children;
  5. to achieve the foregoing purposes in a family environment whenever possible, separating the child from the child's parents only when necessary for the child's welfare or in the interest of public safety and when a child is removed from the child's family, to give the child the care that should be provided by parents; and
  6. to provide a simple judicial procedure through which the provisions of this title are executed and enforced and in which the parties are assured a fair hearing and their constitutional and other legal rights recognized and enforced.

UTAH

State flag

The purpose of the court under this chapter is to:

  1. promote public safety and individual accountability by the imposition of appropriate sanctions on persons who have committed acts in violation of law;
  2. order appropriate measures to promote guidance and control, preferably in the minor's own home, as an aid in the prevention of future unlawful conduct and the development of responsible citizenship;
  3. where appropriate, order rehabilitation, reeducation, and treatment for persons who have committed acts bringing them within the court's jurisdiction;
  4. adjudicate matters that relate to minors who are beyond parental or adult control and to establish appropriate authority over these minors by means of placement and control orders;
  5. adjudicate matters that relate to abused, neglected, and dependent children and to provide care and protection for minors by placement, protection, and custody orders;
  6. remove a minor from parental custody only where the minor's safety or welfare, or the public safety, may not otherwise be adequately safeguarded; and

consistent with the ends of justice, act in the best interests of the minor in all cases and preserve and strengthen family ties.

VERMONT

State flag

The juvenile judicial proceedings chapters shall be construed in accordance with the following purposes:

  1. to provide for the care, protection, education, and healthy mental, physical, and social development of children coming within the provisions of the juvenile judicial proceedings chapters;
  2. to remove from children committing delinquent acts the taint of criminality and the consequences of criminal behavior and to provide supervision, care, and rehabilitation which ensure:
    1. balanced attention to the protection of the community;
    2. accountability to victims and the community for offenses; and
    3. the development of competencies to enable children to become responsible and productive members of the community;
  3. to preserve the family and to separate a child from his or her parents only when necessary to protect the child from serious harm or in the interests of public safety;
  4. to ensure that safety and timely permanency for children are the paramount concerns in the administration and conduct of proceedings under the juvenile judicial proceedings chapters;
  5. to achieve the foregoing purposes, whenever possible, in a family environment, recognizing the importance of positive parent-child relationships to the well-being and development of children;
  6. to provide judicial proceedings through which the provisions of the juvenile judicial proceedings chapters are executed and enforced and in which the parties are ensured a fair hearing, and that their constitutional and other legal rights are recognized and enforced.

The provisions of the juvenile judicial proceedings chapters shall be construed as superseding the provisions of the criminal law of this State to the extent the same are inconsistent with this chapter.

VIRGINIA

State flag

This law shall be construed liberally and as remedial in character, and the powers hereby conferred are intended to be general to effect the beneficial purposes herein set forth. It is the intention of this law that in all proceedings the welfare of the child and the family, the safety of the community and the protection of the rights of victims are the paramount concerns of the Commonwealth and to the end that these purposes may be attained, the judge shall possess all necessary and incidental powers and authority, whether legal or equitable in their nature.

This law shall be interpreted and construed so as to effectuate the following purposes:

  1. To divert from or within the juvenile justice system, to the extent possible, consistent with the protection of the public safety, those children who can be cared for or treated through alternative programs;
  2. To provide judicial procedures through which the provisions of this law are executed and enforced and in which the parties are assured a fair hearing and their constitutional and other rights are recognized and enforced;
  3. To separate a child from such child's parents, guardian, legal custodian or other person standing in loco parentis only when the child's welfare is endangered or it is in the interest of public safety and then only after consideration of alternatives to out-of-home placement which afford effective protection to the child, his family, and the community; and

To protect the community against those acts of its citizens, both juveniles and adults, which are harmful to others and to reduce the incidence of delinquent behavior and to hold offenders accountable for their behavior.

WASHINGTON

State flag

It is the intent of the legislature that a system capable of having primary responsibility for, being accountable for, and responding to the needs of youthful offenders and their victims, as defined by this chapter, be established. It is the further intent of the legislature that youth, in turn, be held accountable for their offenses and that communities, families, and the juvenile courts carry out their functions consistent with this intent. To effectuate these policies, the legislature declares the following to be equally important purposes of this chapter:

  1. Protect the citizenry from criminal behavior;
  2. Provide for determining whether accused juveniles have committed offenses as defined by this chapter;
  3. Make the juvenile offender accountable for his or her criminal behavior;
  4. Provide for punishment commensurate with the age, crime, and criminal history of the juvenile offender;
  5. Provide due process for juveniles alleged to have committed an offense;
  6. Provide for the rehabilitation and reintegration of juvenile offenders;
  7. Provide necessary treatment, supervision, and custody for juvenile offenders;
  8. Provide for the handling of juvenile offenders by communities whenever consistent with public safety;
  9. Provide for restitution to victims of crime;
  10. Develop effective standards and goals for the operation, funding, and evaluation of all components of the juvenile justice system and related services at the state and local levels;
  11. Provide for a clear policy to determine what types of offenders shall receive punishment, treatment, or both, and to determine the jurisdictional limitations of the courts, institutions, and community services;
  12. Provide opportunities for victim participation in juvenile justice process, including court hearings on juvenile offender matters, and ensure that Article I, section 35 of the Washington state Constitution, the victim bill of rights, is fully observed; and
  13. Encourage the parents, guardian, or custodian of the juvenile to actively participate in the juvenile justice process. (Juvenile Justice Act of 1977)

It is the intention of the legislature in enacting this chapter to increase the protection afforded the citizens of this state, to require community planning, to provide necessary services and supervision for juvenile offenders in the community when appropriate, to reduce reliance on state-operated correctional institutions for offenders whose standard range disposition does not include commitment of the offender to the department, and to encourage the community to efficiently and effectively provide community services to juvenile offenders through consolidation of service delivery systems. (Juvenile Offenders – Consolidated Juvenile Services Programs)

WEST VIRGINIA

State flag

It is the purpose of this chapter to provide a system of coordinated child welfare and juvenile justice services for the children of this state. The state has a duty to assure that proper and appropriate care is given and maintained.

The child welfare and juvenile justice system shall:

  1. Assure each child care, safety and guidance;
  2. Serve the mental and physical welfare of the child;
  3. Preserve and strengthen the child family ties;
  4. Recognize the fundamental rights of children and parents;
  5. Develop and establish procedures and programs which are family-focused rather than focused on specific family members, except where the best interests of the child or the safety of the community are at risk;
  6. Involve the child, the child's family or the child's caregiver in the planning and delivery of programs and services;
  7. Provide community-based services in the least restrictive settings that are consistent with the needs and potentials of the child and his or her family;
  8. Provide for early identification of the problems of children and their families, and respond appropriately to prevent abuse and neglect or delinquency;
  9. Provide for the rehabilitation of status offenders and juvenile delinquents;
  10. As necessary, provide for the secure detention of juveniles alleged or adjudicated delinquent;
  11. Provide for secure incarceration of children or juveniles adjudicated delinquent and committed to the custody of the director of the Division of Juvenile Services; and
  12. Protect the welfare of the general public.

It is also the policy of this state to ensure that those persons and entities offering quality child care are not over-encumbered by licensure and registration requirements and that the extent of regulation of child care facilities and child placing agencies be moderately proportionate to the size of the facility.

Through licensure, approval, and registration of child care, the state exercises its benevolent police power to protect the user of a service from risks against which he or she would have little or no competence for self protection. Licensure, approval, and registration processes shall, therefore, continually balance the child's rights and need for protection with the interests, rights and responsibility of the service providers. (General Provisions and Purpose)

WISCONSIN

State flag

It is the intent of the legislature to promote a juvenile justice system capable of dealing with the problem of juvenile delinquency, a system which will protect the community, impose accountability for violations of law and equip juvenile offenders with competencies to live responsibly and productively. To effectuate this intent, the legislature declares the following to be equally important purposes of this chapter:

  1. To protect citizens from juvenile crime.
  2. To hold each juvenile offender directly accountable for his or her acts.
  3. To provide an individualized assessment of each alleged and adjudicated delinquent juvenile, in order to prevent further delinquent behavior through the development of competency in the juvenile offender, so that he or she is more capable of living productively and responsibly in the community.
  4. To provide due process through which each juvenile offender and all other interested parties are assured fair hearings, during which constitutional and other legal rights are recognized and enforced.
  5. To divert juveniles from the juvenile justice system through early intervention as warranted, when consistent with the protection of the public.
  6. To respond to a juvenile offender's needs for care and treatment, consistent with the prevention of delinquency, each juvenile's best interest and protection of the public, by allowing the court to utilize the most effective dispositional option.

To ensure that victims and witnesses of acts committed by juveniles that result in proceedings under this chapter are, consistent with this chapter and the Wisconsin constitution, afforded the same rights as victims and witnesses of crimes committed by adults, and are treated with dignity, respect, courtesy, and sensitivity throughout those proceedings.

WYOMING

State flag

This act shall be construed to effectuate the following public purposes:

  1. To provide for the best interests of the child and the protection of the public and public safety;
  2. Consistent with the best interests of the child and the protection of the public and public safety:
    1. To promote the concept of punishment for criminal acts while recognizing and distinguishing the behavior of children who have been victimized or have disabilities, such as serious mental illness that requires treatment or children with a cognitive impairment that requires services;
    2. To remove, where appropriate, the taint of criminality from children committing certain unlawful acts; and
    3. To provide treatment, training and rehabilitation that emphasizes the accountability and responsibility of both the parent and the child for the child's conduct, reduces recidivism and helps children to become functioning and contributing adults.
  3. To provide for the care, the protection and the wholesome moral, mental and physical development of children within the community whenever possible using the least restrictive and most appropriate interventions;
  4. To be flexible and innovative and encourage coordination at the community level to reduce the commission of unlawful acts by children;
  5. To achieve the foregoing purposes in a family environment whenever possible, separating the child from the child's parents only when necessary for the child's welfare or in the interest of public safety and when a child is removed from the child's family, to ensure that individual needs will control placement and provide the child the care that should be provided by parents; and
  6. To provide a simple judicial procedure through which the provisions of this act are executed and enforced and in which the parties are assured a fair and timely hearing and their constitutional and other legal rights recognized and enforced. (Juvenile Justice Act)

The purpose of the progressive sanctions guidelines authorized by W.S. 14-6-245 through 14-6-252 are to:

  1. Ensure that juvenile offenders face uniform and consistent consequences and punishments that correspond to the seriousness of each offender's current offense, prior delinquent history, special treatment or training needs and effectiveness of prior interventions;
  2. Balance public protection and rehabilitation while holding juvenile offenders accountable;
  3. Permit flexibility in the decisions made in relation to the juvenile offender to the extent allowed by law;
  4. Consider the juvenile offender's circumstances; and
  5. Improve juvenile justice planning and resource allocation by ensuring uniform and consistent reporting of disposition decisions at all levels. (Progressive Sanction Guidelines)

Text/HTML

Organization & Responsible Branch

Organization

Probation services can be organized at the state or local level or can be a state and local hybrid system. For example:

  • States like Delaware, New Hampshire, New Jersey and others have statewide policies and standards for probation services.
  • In Arkansas, Massachusetts, Washington and other states, probation services are provided at the local level, most often through the judicial branch.
  • In states like Alaska and Maryland, probation services are organized not at the state or local level, but by regions. 
  • In Georgia, youth who have been in state custody will be supervised by state probation services, while young people who are still in the custody of their parents or guardians will be supervised by probation at the local level.

For statutory language, see our State Law page.

Responsible Branch

Juvenile probation services are often housed in different areas of government―namely, the judicial or executive branches. Some states use hybrid systems or have nuances that do not easily fit into one category or another. For example:

  • The judicial branch operates probation services in states like Alabama, Connecticut, Indiana and others.
  • Executive agencies are responsible for probation services in states like California, Florida, New York, Texas and others.
  • States like Georgia, Kansas, Nevada and others have hybrid systems where probation services are run through the judiciary but post-incarceration aftercare is run through the executive branch.
  • In Tennessee’s hybrid system, 95 counties provide probation services through state executive agencies. However, in four counties―Davidson, Shelby, Knox and Hamilton ―county courts employ their own probation officers.

For statutory language, see our State Law page.

Funding

Probation funding comes from a variety of sources, including court fees, state general funds, court general funds, local funding, etc. The variety of funding sources can make it difficult to compare the level of funding across states. The 23 states in the map below have specific juvenile probation funding established through statute. For example:

  • Arizona has a designated probation services fund that receives money from general appropriations. That fund provides money not only for probation, but treatment and community-based programs as well. 
  • Colorado’s juvenile diversion cash fund funds the statutorily created juvenile diversion program. Fifty percent of all fines from a “defacing property” ticket is redirected into this diversion fund.
  • In Nevada, if a county has opted into the Department of Health and Human Services’ “special supervision programs,” the county may apply to have the state share the cost of supervising young people who have already been adjudicated. 

For statutory language, see our State Law page.

Probation Officers

Probation officers are a significant part of a successful probation system. According to the report, “Probation Review Implementation: How Best Practices Meet Everyday Practices,”  the role clarification for probation officers, enhanced working conditions and adequate training are important and necessary elements for juvenile probation programs. Legislatures have created statutory requirements for an individual to serve as a probation officer, including continuing education requirements. Additionally, some states have also provided hiring/appointment processes for probation and designate the scope of a probation officer’s authority. 

Authority

Some states have established the powers probation officers possess through legislation. For example:

  • In states like California, Iowa, Maine and others, juvenile probation officers have authority equal to peace officers or law enforcement officers, which means they have arrest powers and carry weapons.
  • In Montana, probation officers’ arrest power is limited to only youth under their supervision.
  • New Mexico statute explicitly says probation officers do not have law enforcement authority, but they may take a young person under their supervision into custody under certain circumstances. 

The states highlighted in the map below have juvenile probation officer authority statements in statute.

For statutory language, see our State Law page.

Statutory Employment Eligibility & Training Requirements

States have created statutory requirements for an individual to serve as a probation officer, including continuing education requirements. Some states have also provided hiring/appointment processes for probation. For example:

  • Kansas designates eligibility requirements for probation officers in statute,  including that they must be 21 years or older, have no felony convictions and pass a physical exam.
  • In Montana, after a probation officer is hired, he or she must fulfill 16 hours of continuing education requirements each year.
  • New Jersey statute has a mandatory self-defense training course for all probation officers and requires completion of a firearms training course if they want to carry a firearm.

The states highlighted in the map below have juvenile probation officer eligibility and/or training requirements in statute.

For statutory language, see our State Law page.