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Juvenile Justice Services

Juvenile Justice Intake Process

Juvenile court intake is a process of assessing referrals from law enforcement or school personnel for further action through the juvenile court process or Human Services. The juvenile court or juvenile justice services are defined here in Wisconsin State Statutes 938, Juvenile Justice Code. These referrals are for:

  • Delinquency or actions that would be considered a crime if committed by an adult (ie: disorderly conduct, theft, criminal damage to property)
  • Truancy
  • Runaways
  • Uncontrollable behavior

These referrals are assigned to a social worker in the Juvenile Justice Unit.

Upon receipt of a referral, the assigned social worker will send a notice of intake inquiry to the parents, guardians or legal caretakers of the child; non-custodial parents will also receive this notice. The purpose of the intake inquiry is to gather information in order to make a decision whether the case can be closed, handled informally, or needs to be referred to court.

The social worker will meet with the child and parents, guardian or legal caretaker to gather information to make a recommendation to the District Attorney's office. During this meeting, the social worker will be looking for information about the family and its level of functioning, their relationship with the school and the community, as well as the strengths and needs of the family. The worker will also specifically talk to the child about the circumstances for the referral.

The social worker must make a recommendation within 40 days of receiving the referral. They can make a recommendation requesting that the juvenile be:

  • Counseled and released
  • Have a case opened for informal services
  • Sent to court

Once that recommendation has been made, the District Attorney's office has 20 days to overturn the decision, agree with the decision, or file a petition with the juvenile court judge. A juvenile can be placed on one year of supervision by the judge for a delinquent act or for an offense such as truancy, uncontrollable behavior, or running away. If a juvenile needs to be placed out of the home on an order, supervision will continue until their 18th birthday, or 19th birthday if they are still enrolled in high school. If it is deemed appropriate for the juvenile to return home, supervision will continue for a year from the date they return home.

Juvenile justice social workers use restorative justice practices to hold the offender accountable and allow the victim to be part of the solution. Intensive supervision, home detention, restitution, employment skills and community service programs assist offenders in making right any harm they may have done to individuals, neighborhoods, schools and the community.

Juvenile Court - Frequently Asked Questions

Click on a question to expand the answer.

Q: How do I get help if my child is out of control at home, school, and/or in the community?

Q: How do I get help if I am a victim of a crime committed by a juvenile?

Q: How do I find counseling services for my child and family?

Q: How do I get help if my child is refusing to go to school?

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