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Juvenile Court Overview

The Juvenile Court is a division of the Orange County Superior Court and handles cases involving persons under 18 who are accused of breaking the law or who are in danger of or have been abused or neglected. It is made up of several types of proceedings such as: dependency, juvenile justice (delinquency), non-minor, status offenses, and traffic/minor offenses. Click on the links below for more information.

  • Juvenile Dependency proceedings involve the protection of children who have been or are at risk of     being abused, neglected, or abandoned.
  • Juvenile Justice, often referred to as delinquency, proceedings involve youth under the age of 18         alleged to have committed a crime
  • Status Offense proceedings involve youth whose conduct or actions are considered a crime because     of their age.  This is conduct that would not be a crime if it were committed by an adult, such as                 underage drinking, skipping school and violation of curfew. 
  • Juvenile Traffic proceedings involve youth who are alleged to have committed traffic or other minor       offenses such as loitering, vandalism, unlicensed driver, trespassing, etc.

The Court’s Authority

The Juvenile Court has broad authority in juvenile delinquency and dependency cases. The Court can remove children from their homes, order their placement with relatives or in foster care or group homes, terminate parental rights and join various agencies to provide needed services. In delinquency cases, the Court can also order children to be confined in locked facilities, such as detention halls, camps, and the Division of Juvenile Justice (formerly known as California Youth Authority).

Center for Families, Children & the Courts

The Judicial Council/Administrative Office of the Courts' Center for Families, Children & the Courts was established to maximize the effectiveness of court services for children and families, implement innovative court-related programs for them, and promote those services in the legal community and to the public. Visit the Center's website at: http://www.courts.ca.gov/programs-cfcc.htm.

For more general information about the juvenile court process, please consult the Judicial Council's informational brochures on juvenile delinquency and juvenile dependency. They are available free from http://www.courts.ca.gov/forms.htm or by calling the Publications Hotline at 800-900-5980.

Juvenile Court Confidentiality

Juvenile records are confidential. The minor, his or her parents or legal guardian(s), and attorneys of record may obtain copies of court minute orders and selected court documents by appearing at the juvenile records counter with photo identification. The records will not be mailed.

Other individuals must utilize the "Request for Disclosure of Juvenile Case File" (JV-570). This completed form may be presented either in person or by mail but must contain an original signature. If the petition is granted, viewing and/or receipt of copies may only occur by appearing in person with proper photo identification. The records will not be mailed.

Annual Report on the Conditions of Children in Orange County

This report provides a comprehensive picture of the present condition of children in Orange County. It includes four interrelated and interdependent focus areas: Good Health, Economic Well-Being, Educational Achievement and Safe Homes and Communities. Together, these focus areas feature 27 indicators including the definition, findings and trends of each indicator, along with a discussion of why the indicator is important. Opening this link will redirect you to Orange County's Public Healthcare Agency's website.

© 2019 Superior Court of Orange County