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About Juvenile Justice

For immediate help for parents if your child is arrested, please see information about the Juvenile Justice process on the Juvenile Justice Hearings page.

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 .

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.

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.

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:

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.

  • How to keep the public safe and protected,
  • How to help the victim, and
  • What is best for the minor.