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What are some terms associated with juvenile justice?

Parents and guardians who have a child going through the juvenile justice system often hear a variety of new terms when they are drawn into the process. It is important to understand what different terms mean because these terms sometimes have a considerable impact on the outcome of the case.

What is a child in need of supervision?

A child in need of supervision, which is sometimes shortened to CHINS, is a child who is need of rehabilitation or care. Generally, these children wouldn’t be considered a criminal if they were an adult. Acts such as running away or being truant are some that might result in a CHINS classification.

What is a delinquent child and a serious juvenile offender?

A child who does something that would be considered a crime if an adult did the same thing is classified as a delinquent child. If the delinquent child did something that might result in a Class A felony if the child was an adult, the child might be considered a serious juvenile offender. Use of a deadly weapon, causing serious injury, a felony that involves physical force and similar crimes often result in a classification of a serious juvenile offender. A minimum of one year in the Department of Youth Services is required for a child who is classified as a serious juvenile offender.

What is a multiple needs child?

A multiple needs child is one who should be placed in a more restrictive environment because of certain risk factors. This might include drug dependency, mental problems, delinquency and other similar issues. In some cases, these children might need to receive services from more than two state agencies.

The Alabama juvenile justice system can be difficult to navigate for some people. If you have a child who is going through the juvenile system, it is vital that you understand each step of the process.

Source: Alabama Juvenile Probation, “Juvenile Cases,” accessed Sep. 08, 2015

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