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About Juvenile Justice

This page tells you about:

  1. What is Juvenile Justice Court?
  2. What is the mission of the Juvenile Justice Court?
  3. Who goes to Juvenile Justice Court?
  4. What does the Juvenile Justice Court do?

For immediate help for parents, please see the FAQ "What if my child is arrested?"

  1. What is Juvenile Justice Court?

    Juvenile Justice Court is part of the Superior Court of California. It hears cases about minors who commit a crime. Read the laws for this Court: Welfare and Institutions Code starting with Section 601 .

  2. What is the mission of the Juvenile Justice Court?

    The mission of the Juvenile Justice is to protect and rehabilitate our youth, build strong and healthy families, redress victims, and increase the safety of our community.

  3. Who goes to Juvenile Justice Court?

    Children under 18 who break the law go to Juvenile Justice Court. But, children over 14 who commit a very serious criminal offense, like murder or sex crimes can be sent to adult criminal court instead.

  4. What does the Juvenile Justice Court do?

    The law says the Court has to protect the public and minors who are in court.

    The judges have to think about things, like:

    • How to keep the public safe and protected,  
    • How to help the victim, and  
    • What is best for the minor.
    The judge decides if the Court will take control of the minor’s future. If it does, the judge has to think about what is best for the minor and how to make the minor take responsibility for his or her actions. Then, the Court decides how to take care of, treat and guide the minor. This can include punishment so the minor learns to obey the law.

    The Court wants the child to learn to be a positive member of his or her family and the community. Read more on Juvenile Justice Court: Section 202 of the Welfare and Institutions Code .
© 2014 Superior Court of California, County of Santa Clara