Pursuant to O.C.G.A. 15-11-1, the purpose of the juvenile code is as follows: to secure for each who comes within the jurisdiction of the juvenile court such care and guidance, preferably in his or her own home, as will secure his or her moral, emotional, mental, and physical welfare as well as the safety of both the child and community. It is the intent of the General Assembly to promote a juvenile justice system that will protect the community, impose accountability for violations of law, provide treatment and rehabilitation, and equip juvenile offenders with the ability to live responsibly and productively. It is the intent of the General Assembly to preserve and strengthen family relationships, countenancing the removal of a child from his or her home only when state intervention is essential to protect such child and enable him or her to live in security and stability. In every proceeding, this chapter seeks to guarantee due process of law, as required by the Constitutions of the United States and the State of Georgia, through which every child and his or her parent and all other interested parties are assured fair hearings at which legal rights are recognized and enforced. Above all, this chapter shall be literally construed to reflect that the paramount child welfare policy of this state is to determine and ensure the best interests of its children.
Types of Court Cases:
The Hall County Juvenile Court is an independent court organized under Chapter 11 of Title 15 of the Official Code of Georgia. The Juvenile Court is dedicated to serving the residents of Hall County by hearing all cases involving:
- Allegations of dependency (abuse and neglect)
- CHINS (Children in Need of Services) which includes truancy (children not attending school regularly), underage drinking consumption, curfew violation, unruly (habitually disobedient of the reasonable commands of parents), and runaway (leaving home without permission) for children under the age of 18
- Delinquency (children under the age of 17 charged with criminal acts)
- Traffic violations concerning children under the age of 17 found within its jurisdiction
Juvenile Court also conducts trials in cases where there is an action to terminate parental rights, due to chronic abuse and/or neglect, or abandonment of a dependent child, so that children can achieve permanency through adoption, permanent guardianship, or another approved permanent living arrangement. A permanent home can be either with suitable family members or with an adoptive family.
Custody, Child Support & Guardianship
Juvenile Court can also consider cases such as:
- A father attempting to legitimate a child born out of wedlock
- Custody and child support determination cases transferred from the Superior Court
- Petitions to establish or terminate temporary guardianships transferred from Probate Court.
- Petitions for permanent guardianships in cases in which the child has already been determined to be a dependent child.
Treatment, Rehabilitation or Supervision:
If, after adjudication of a delinquent or CHINS offense, a dependent child is found to be in need of treatment, rehabilitation, or supervision to safely remain in the community, the court will provide access to high quality, appropriate treatment programs whenever feasible. Supervision is provided by Hall County Juvenile Probation Officers or the Department of Juvenile Justice, when appropriate.