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Juvenile Court Overview

The Juvenile Court is a division of the Orange County Superior Court. It is made up of several types of proceedings such as: dependency, delinquency, status offenses, and traffic/minor offenses.

  1. Juvenile Dependency proceedings involve the protection of children who have been or are at risk of being abused, neglected, or abandoned.
  2. Juvenile Delinquency proceedings involve children under the age of 18 alleged to have committed a delinquent act which would be a crime if committed by an adult.
  3. Status Offender proceedings involve minors who habitually refuse to obey the reasonable and proper orders or directions of their parents, guardian, or custodian, or who are beyond the control of that person. Typical status offenses are curfew and truancy (failure to attend school).
  4. Juvenile Traffic hears traffic and 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.

© 2014 Superior Court of Orange County