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Youth Justice

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The Youth Justice Team strives to reduce recidivism and increase community protection in Columbia County by holding youth accountable, providing services, and strengthening the family foundation.

Referrals for Juvenile Court and requests to receive services through the Youth Justice Team originate from law enforcement, schools, and parents. They result from allegations of law violations, truancy, or significant parent/child conflict. Depending upon the nature of the referral, cases may be handled by providing informal services and case management or through the Juvenile Court Process. There are times, generally in a parent/child conflict issue, where the matter is not assigned to a social worker but the family is instead encouraged to utilize community resources on their own. For all opened referrals, a Youth Justice Social Worker will initially schedule an intake meeting with the family to discuss potential case outcomes. Referrals that result in Juvenile Court cases are also reviewed with a prosecutor from the District Attorney’s Office.

In matters that are referred to Juvenile Court, the Social Worker assists in making recommendations to the District Attorney’s Office and to the Court. Recommendations can include formal supervision, community service, restitution, and counseling, among many other services or consequences that fit the nature of the allegation. The Social Worker then supervises youth placed under a juvenile court order and assists them in finding the resources to satisfy the conditions of their order.

Youth who are referred to court (ages 10-16) for what would be considered a Misdemeanor or Felony charge as an adult, fall under the Delinquency Jurisdiction. Youth referred to Court for parent/child conflict, truancy, committing a delinquent act under age 10, or who are found to be not competent or responsible because of mental disease/defect fall under the Juvenile in Need of Protection and Services (JIPS) jurisdiction.

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