The Juvenile Justice unit’s authority comes from the Juvenile Justice Code, Chapter 938, Wisconsin Statute. According to the legislative intent, our purpose is to work with juvenile delinquency, protect the community, impose accountability for violations of law, and equip juvenile offenders with competencies to live responsibly and productively by imposing equal importance to the following:
- Protect citizens from juvenile crime
- Hold each juvenile offender directly accountable for acts committed
- Provide individualized assessments to prevent further delinquent behavior
- Provide due process to all parties
- Divert juveniles from delinquency through early intervention
- Utilize the court’s most effective disposition
- Ensure that victims and witnesses proceedings are consistent with the constitution
The Juvenile Justice unit is staffed with social workers who supervise juveniles entering services informally or through court orders.
- We offer brief voluntary services to juveniles or families who experience difficulty controlling their juvenile
- Informal supervision is a legal agreement called a Deferred Prosecution Agreement (DPA) that defers court appearance for a criminal offense
- Many services start with a law enforcement report or parent request. The juvenile intake process and the District Attorney petition for court hearings. Once the court finds a juvenile responsible for their charges (adjudicated), the juvenile enters ongoing Juvenile Justice services, are assigned an ongoing social worker, and are supervised for usually one year.
Delinquent means a juvenile ten years of age or older who has violated any state or federal criminal law or committed a contempt of court (law enforcement referral).
JIPS (Juvenile in need of Protective Services) is a parent petition for court-ordered services when the parent is unable or needs assistance to control the juvenile, the juvenile is habitually truant from school, the juvenile is habitually truant from home, the child under ten has committed a delinquent act, or the child is responsible for delinquent act by reason of mental illness and not competent to proceed.
Under certain circumstances, and usually with court approval, the Juvenile Justice staff have the ability to:
- Take children into Temporary Physical Custody (TPC)
- Impose sanctions such as non-secure or secure holds
- Place children out of their homes into foster homes, group homes, treatment centers, and corrections
- Refer to assessments, treatment, and other individual or group activities to develop better living skills
Juvenile Justice is located in the Human Services Department in the Government Center at Balsam Lake.