Non-Offender & At-Risk Youth Services

The Juvenile and Family Court provides assistance to youth and their families who are experiencing stressors around issues that relate to family functioning, runaway behaviors, truancy, mental health and substance use.

At-Risk Youth Petition


An At-Risk Youth Petition might be appropriate if a youth is absent from the home for 72 consecutive hours without the consent of the parent; who is beyond the control of his or her parent such that the child's behavior endangers the health, safety or welfare of the child or any other person; or who has a substance use problem for which there are no pending criminal charges related to the substance use. Further information regarding At-Risk Youth Petitions is available by contacting us.

Child in Need of Services Petition


A Child in Need of Services Petition is available to a child, a parent, or the Department of Social and Health Services; Children's Administration to access necessary services, including food, shelter, health care, clothing, educational; where the parent(s) have been unsuccessful in efforts to maintain the family structure or unwilling or unable to do so; OR if a child is beyond the control of his/her parent such that the child's behavior endangers the health, safety or welfare of the child or other person; has exhibited certain behaviors which create a serious risk of harm to the health, safety, or welfare of the child or any other person.

Truancy


In Washington State, children between the ages 8 to 18 must attend an approved school program. If a parent enrolls a 6 to 7 age child in school, the child is required to attend school, and the parent is responsible for ensuring the child attends. When a child who is 8 years of age and under 18 years of age has unexcused absences, there are certain steps that schools and school districts must take to eliminate or reduce the child's absences. These steps include informing parents, scheduling conferences, entering into attendance agreements, referring the student to a Community Truancy Board (CTB) and/or filing a truancy petition with the juvenile court. CTBs are designed to address the underlying reasons for the unexcused absences and refer youth and families to interventions and/or other prevention efforts to substantially reduce the child's unexcused absences.

If there is noncompliance with the CTBs recommendations, or an agreement cannot be made, the CTB must return the case to the court and a hearing must be scheduled. Jefferson County Juvenile Court and all the Jefferson County School Districts have worked together collaboratively to create CTBs and responsive methods to addressing truant behaviors with the recognition that attendance at school means better opportunities for overall success in life.


Emancipation


When a petition for emancipation is considered or filed by a child over the age of 16, the Juvenile Court Administrator is appointed as the Guardian ad Litem for he petitioning juvenile. The matter will be investigated and information addressing the critical issues related to the emancipation of the minor will be provided to the court. Some of the issues relevant to emancipation are: the ability of the minor to manage his/her own financial affairs, ability to manage his or her personal, social, education and non-financial affairs, criminal history, and parental wishes. A recommendation will be made to the court, but the decision with regard to emancipation rests with the Superior Court Judge.