Juvenile- Quick Links
P.O. Box 1220
||Monday - Friday
8:30 to 4:30
The Jefferson County Juvenile and Family Court is a Division of the Superior Court and serves youth and their families in a variety of ways. Most often, contact with this Department is a significant experience in the lives of those involved. In this context, it is our goal to do that which is within our power to see this experience as constructive in nature. The Juvenile and Family Court strives to reflect a climate that encourages positive change, creativity in problem solving, open sharing of ideas, and a general appreciation for children.
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email :Barbara Carr
Diversion: Diversion Photo #1
Diversion is a program for youth who commit a misdemeanor offense for the first time, or for whom the prosecuting attorney believes would benefit from a discretionary diversion referral rather than require a formal charge in the Juvenile Court. If a child is referred to diversion, the Juvenile and Family Court Services staff meet with the youth and family, provide them with information about their rights and the diversion process. Youth are advised that they may contact an attorney to review the matter. If the youth accepts diversion as a response for their behavior, a Diversion Agreement will be entered between the child and the volunteers who serve on the Community Accountability Board, which can include attendance at the Connect Program, community service work fines, restitution, educational classes and/or programs, counseling or other available interventions. If youth fail to successfully complete their "Agreement" conditions, the matter is referred back to the prosecuting attorney. If the expectations of the "Agreement" are met, the matter is closed and the youth is provide information about the laws relating to the destruction or sealing of their juvenile record.
ion is a program for youth who commit a misdemeanor offense for the first time, or for whom the prosecuting attorney believes would benefit from a discretionary diversion referral rather than require a formal charge in the Juvenile Court. If a child is referred to diversion, the Juvenile and Family Court Services staff meet with the youth and family, provide them with information about their rights and the diversion process. Youth are advised that they may contact an attorney to review the matter. If the youth accepts diversion as a response for their behavior, a Diversion Agreement will be entered between the child and the Juvenile Department which can include attendance at the Connect Program, community service work fines, restitution, educational classes and/or programs, counseling or other available interventions. If youth fail to successfully complete their "Agreement" conditions, the matter is referred back to the prosecuting attorney. If the expectations of the "Agreement" are met, the matter is closed and the youth is provide information about the laws relating to the destruction or sealing of their juvenile record.
Offender Case Management and Probation Supervision
Youth who are adjudicated for violations of the law generally receive case management and probation supervision from the Juvenile and Family Court Services Department. This process includes holding youth accountable for their behavior in a manner that is designed to provide interventions and services to promote positive change in the attitudes and behaviors of youth on community supervision, protecting the community from criminal behavior, and restoring the victims of crime.
*Risk and Needs Assessment. The risk and needs assessment is a crucial part of the case management process. This assessment assists the juvenile probation counselor (JPC) in determining the level of risk for the youth to commit further crimes, identifying target behaviors for intervention, and ultimately creating a case plan for the youth's probation period.
*Case Management. After completing the risk and needs assessment, the JPC, with input from the youth and family, designs a case plan that addresses the specific behaviors of risk identified through the risk assessment process. The case plan will include using resources and evidence based theories or programs that will target specific service needs while also supporting areas identified as strengths.
*Supervision. The JPC is also responsible for making sure youth are in compliance with the probation conditions set forth by the Judge. While integrated into the case management plan, there are certain court ordered conditions such as community service, fines, no contact orders, school attendance and so forth that the JPC is expected to monitor. Potential violations of community supervision are reported to the court and a hearing is scheduled to address concerns about compliance.
Youth and Family Programs
The Juvenile and Family Court provides a variety of programs and interventions that are evidence based and designed to address certain criminogenic needs of the youth we serve. These programs include:
*Coordination of Services
Coordination of Services/The Connect Program is an immersive weekend class for a youth and their "connected adult", typically a parent. The youth and parent attend this 12 hour weekend class together, where they are offered community resources, attend workshops from local professionals in their fields, and get fed lunch and snacks. This is a fast paced class, with each presentation lasting about an hour long each. Topics in past programs have included Drugs and Alcohol, Brain development, Cooking, Challenge course activites, Social media, Theatre, etc. The two major goals of the program are to
1) strengthen a youth's connection to their family
2) Strengthen a youth's connection to their community.
This is a research-based program, with an evidence base of research showing that attending it will statistically help a youth stay out of legal trouble in the future.
*Washington State Aggression Replacement Training ...Washington State Aggression Replacement Training
HISTORY OF WSART:
The Washington State Legislature has been funding Evidence-Based Programs in the entire state since 1999. Along with establishing programs that are researched for juvenile justice involved youth, a risk and needs assessment was implemented. Assessing the risks factors and protective factors for a youth AND matching those to a researched program, has helped in reducing the rate at which youth come into the Juvenile Justice system statewide. The Washington State Institute for Public Policy researched the effectiveness in reducing juvenile crime in 2004. This research showed a 33% reduction in felony crime. This means for every $1 a taxpayer puts into Juvenile Justice, they save $11 since the implementation of providing researched based programs to Juvenile Justice involved youth.
WHAT IS WSART?
Jefferson County has provided more than 50 groups of Washington State Aggression Replacement Training (WSART). We have three certified trainers, one of those is a Master Trainer, and one a WSART Consultant for the state. We pride ourselves on not having a waiting list and providing the group as often as our youth need it. We take great care in making sure we reduce all the barriers a youth/family may have when participating in WSART group. We respond to the unique needs of each family, providing transportation through our South County Shuttle, providing gas cards and bus passes. We have a team of staff who provide healthy substantial snacks and daily raffle prizes to motivate youth. Our Trainers have been leading groups for 15 plus years.
WSART has a strict model that research has shown when strictly adhered to, the more effective it is in preventing new offenses. Jefferson County participates in the state Quality Assurance guidelines. The group is a 10-week, 30-hour intervention for a group of 8-10 youth three times per week. This means we run a closed group of 8-10 youth (the kids enter together & complete together) three days a week. We usually run the group Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday's of each week for 10-weeks. The group is 1 hour and 15 minutes. We know this is a big commitment for the youth and family, so we strive to be engaging, reward based, and include the family in the learning process.
The three components taught are Social Skills Training, Anger Control Training, and Moral Reasoning. These components are taught in a specific clear way with steps and practicing by each youth. The group involves repetitive learning and lots of practice in the group and at home. Below each component is broken down with examples.
SOCIAL SKILLS TRAINING: Skill streaming is a procedures designed to enhance prosocial skills. It is effective for youth struggling to find alternatives to aggression. It also is effective for youth that have difficulty communicating their wants and needs in a productive way. Shy or isolated youth also benefit from social skills training. Ten social skills are taught once a week. Examples of typical social skills taught are: Making a Complaint, Avoiding Trouble with Others, Understanding the Feelings of Others, Deciding What Caused a Problem, Dealing with a Difficult Conversation and Keeping out of Fights. The skill is taught, demonstrated, and practiced by all youth in the group. They are then asked to practice it at home, school, or community and fill out a practice sheet evaluating how they did.
ANGER CONTROL TRAINING: This is the second component of WSART. Anger Control is designed to help youth have self control and emotional regulation. It also helps enhance or develop consequential thinking. It has 7 concepts that build on each other each week. The youth learn a new concept, review the previous concepts, are shown how they all work together, ending with each youth practicing. Anger Control consist of the following concepts linked together to make the Anger Control Chain.
Triggers (External & Internal) + Body Signs + Reducers + Reminders + Thinking Ahead + Social Skill + Self Evaluation.
MORAL REASONING: The third component in WSART is Moral Reasoning. This intervention targets how the youth think and allow for decisions that have negative outcomes. This component them to take perspectives and challenge their thinking. It counters impulsivity and provides the youth to slow down and critically think about the presenting situation. Problem stories are used to uncover Thinking Traps. These are four cognitive distortions commonly used when antisocial decisions are being made. The four Thinking Errors are Minimizing/Mislabeling, Blaming Others, Self-Centered Thinking, and Assuming the Worst.
*Functional Family Therapy
FFT is a short-term intervention program with an average of 8 to 12 sessions over three to five months.
FFT works primarily with youth who have been referred for behavioral or emotional problems by the juvenile justice system and their families. Services are often conducted in the home setting but can also be provided in other locations.
FFT is a strength-based model built on a foundation of acceptance and respect. At its core is a focus on assessment and intervention to address risk and protective factors within and outside of the family that impact the adolescent and his or her adaptive development.
FFT consists of five major components: engagement, motivation, relational assessment, behavior change and generalization.
The goals of this phase involve enhancing family members' experience of therapist responsiveness and credibility. Therapists work hard to demonstrate a sincere desire to listen, help, respect and "match" to family members in a way that is sensitive and respectful of individual, family and cultural beliefs, perspectives and values. The therapist's focus is on immediate responsiveness to family needs and maintaining a strength-based relational focus.
The goals of this phase include creating a positive motivational context that serves to decrease family hostility, conflict and blame, increase hope, and build balanced alliances with family members. Therapists work to change the meaning of family relationships by emphasizing possible hopeful alternatives, maintaining a nonjudgmental approach and conveying acceptance and sensitivity to diversity. The therapist's focus is on the relationship process, separating blame from responsibility while remaining strength-based.
The goal of this phase is to identify the patterns of interaction within the family to understand the relational "functions" or interpersonal payoffs for individual family members' behaviors. The therapist focuses on eliciting and analyzing information pertaining to relational processes, and assess each dyad in the family using perception and understanding of relational processes. The focus is directed to intrafamily and extrafamily context and capacities (e.g., values, attributions, functions, interaction patterns, sources of resistance, resources and limitations). This information is used to inform a Behavior Change and Generalization Plan that matches to each unique family.
The goal of this phase is to reduce or eliminate referral problems by improving family functioning and individual skill development. Behavior Change often includes formal behavior change strategies that specifically address relevant family processes, individual skills or clinical domains (such as depression, truancy, substance use). Techniques and strategies often include evidence-based cognitive-behavioral strategies for addressing family functioning and referral problems. Phase activities are focused on modeling and prompting positive behavior, providing directives and information, developing creative programs to change behavior, all while remaining sensitive to family member abilities and interpersonal needs.
The primary goals in this phase are to extend the improvements made during Behavior Change into multiple areas and to plan for future challenges. This often involves extending positive family functioning into new situations or systems, planning for relapse prevention, and incorporating community systems into the treatment process (such as teachers, Probation Officers).
"Topside" is the surface of a ship's hull above the water line. When a heavy storm hits, going "Topside" means a better chance of survival and an opportunity to directly face the storm and do what needs to be done to keep from going under.
Jefferson County's Juvenile Justice Topside Program is an alternative to court intervention for youth involved in the juvenile justice system. A youth ready for a referral to this program is one who has been identified as a moderate/high risk youth with significant risk factors in Substance Abuse and/or Mental Health along with school, family, or aggression.
This program is designed to recognize that most of the behaviors that result in a youth's referral to the juvenile justice system are not simply a law enforcement justice problem, but often a reflection of complicated health or social issues that eh youth (and often the family) is having a difficult managing on their own.
The design of the court involves collaboration on the part of the Judge, prosecutor, defense attorney, juvenile services, treatment providers (mental health, family therapy, and substance abuse), community organizations and schools.
Juvenile court research shows that the mediators for success in a juvenile treatment court setting include a direct relationship between the Court, the parents and the youth on a regular basis with treatment support.
This program is trying to capture that that relationship in an effort to better support youth and their families during these difficult times.
*Secure Detention - Youth who are booked for criminal offenses by law enforcement, or who are ordered to be held by a judge for pre-trial or post-trial reasons, may serve time in secure detention. Because Jefferson County's population is too small to require a secure detention facility, we contract with Kitsap County Juvenile Court to provide secure detention when necessary. During the course of a youth's stay in detention, they will lead a very structured and regimented lifestyle. Detainees are responsible for daily attendance at school, and for cleaning and laundry duties as necessary.
*Proctor House - The Proctor House is a community based alternative juvenile detention facility. Runaway and at-risk youth, truants, and moderate/low-risk offender youth that are court ordered to serve time in detention may be eligible to serve their time in the Jefferson County Proctor House. Seated in Port Townsend, the Proctor House is a less restrictive detention facility that is staffed 24 hours a day. The Proctor House offers youth a chance to serve their time in an environment that promotes behavior modification, accountability, community safety and rehabilitation.
PH PHOTO #1
Proctor House residents are able to continue with their present school program, counselors, doctors and therapists. They are housed in their own community, with access to all available resources and have their families nearby. Working with these youth combines intervention programs for rehabilitation, ongoing probation for case management and monitoring, and the reality of detention to address accountability.
Juvenile Court Records
Records Photo #1
In most cases, juvenile records are sealed when a juvenile reaches the age of 18. Under some circumstances, diversion records may be destroyed. If you have questions regarding your juvenile records, please contact us or refer to "Criminal History and Criminal Records Guide on When and How to Challenge, Seal, Vacate or Expunge."
Jefferson County's Guardian ad Litem (GAL) Program
"We all understand that making a difference in a child's life
may not be taken in giant steps,
but every small step does encourage a promising future for a child."
You can make a difference in the life of an abused and neglected child. You can learn to advocate in court and in the community to increase the chances that children can have a safe and permanent family.
The GAL Program provides court-appointed special advocates for children who are victims, or alleged victims, of physical abuse, sexual abuse and neglect. Specially trained volunteers are appointed by a Superior Court Judge to represent the children's best interest during a dependency action brought against the parents.
Jefferson County's GAL Program, a division of Jefferson County Juvenile and Family Court, is part of National CASA, the only volunteer organization that empowers everyday citizens as appointed members of the court. GAL volunteers come from all backgrounds and have a common goal of caring and advocating for some of the most vulnerable children in our community. The GAL Program will train and support you.
Definition of a Dependent Child
Dependent children are defined as those children who are under 18 years of age, who have no parent willing or able to care for them, or who are abandoned, abused, or neglected and are under the protective care of the Department of Social and Health Services (DSHS) Children's Administration. A GAL may be appointed for these children to represent what is in their best interests to the court during the dependency process.
Role of the Guardian ad Litem (GAL) Volunteer
As a GAL, you will pursue an independent investigation of a child's situation, report your findings and recommendations to the court, monitor the progress of the case, and advocate for the best interest of the child. You'll learn how to interview the child, family members, service providers and other professionals to make sure all the facts are uncovered. You'll learn about courtroom procedures - what the court expects from you, how to clearly and effectively give testimony in court, and how to write reports to the court.
As long as the child is involved in Dependency system, you'll be asked to monitor the entire process so that the child's best interests are served and to act as an independent voice to tell the court what you think should be done to ensure a safe home for the child.
A GAL volunteer assumes no financial, legal or custodial responsibilities for the child. Their role is limited to cases in Dependency Court.
Volunteer GAL Application (hyperlink)
Jefferson County's GAL/CASA Program is accredited by the National CASA Association (please hyperlink to www.casaforchildren.org) and affiliated with Washington State CASA (please hyperlink to www.wacasa.org).
** "Become a Volunteer GAL"**
Ready to speak up for an abused/neglected child?
Volunteer GAL Application (hyperlink)
Do I need to have any special skills or experience to be a GAL?
No special background or education is required to become a GAL volunteer. Once accepted into the initial 35 hour training you will learn the basics of the GAL job including the needs of abused and neglected children, understanding families, and courtroom procedures. When you begin your first case you'll get on-the-job training with consistent support from the Program Coordinator.
A GAL volunteer assumes no financial, legal or custodial responsibilities for the child. Their role is limited to cases in Dependency Court.
*At least 21 years old
*Minimum education: high school diploma or GED
*Fluent in spoken and written English
*Criminal background check
*Successful completion of the 35 hour free training program
*Commit at least one year to the program
*Basic word processing/email skills and regular accessibility to a computer
How Much Time Does it Take to Do the GAL Job?
The time commitment to a case varies depending upon the stage of the case. Volunteers sometimes say that there is a greater amount of work in the beginning of the case, when they are conducting their initial research. Volunteers vary in how much time they spend on a case, but you should expect to spend an average of at least 10-15 hours a month on a case; volunteers find that some months require far more than 15 hours, while others require far less.
Exactly What Does a GAL Volunteer Do?
A GAL volunteer typically handles no more than three cases at a time - and commits to stay on each case until the child is placed in a safe, permanent home.
The GAL's role is to represent the best interests of the child. This may not always be the same as what the child wants. Volunteer GALs must be able to talk to everyone involved in a case and remain objective in their recommendations. While there will be ongoing contact with a child, the GAL's role is not to become a mentor, but to be an advocate for what they believe is in the child's best interest for finding a permanent home.
The primary responsibilities of a GAL are:
*Gather information: Review documents and interview people relevant to the child's safety and welfare.
*Monitor case plans and court orders: Check to see that plans are being followed. This requires consistent communication with the individuals and agencies central to the child's wellbeing.
*Speak up for the child: Attend meetings regarding the child's health, education, mental health, etc.
*Appear in court: Prepare written reports to update the judge on the child's progress and needs.
*Recommend services: Speak out so the child and family receive the help they need.
*Be an active team member: Stay connected with the child, family members, service providers and GAL coordinator.
*Keep learning: Stay up to date with training opportunities that are provided.
What Kind of Support Will I Receive?
You will be supported every step of the way. No matter how many years they've been volunteers, the GALs know they can always access the Program Coordinator for consultation, support and information. You will also be provided with clear and practical training, including the National CASA initial core training and our monthly local opportunities for free continuing education. You will have access to online resources provided by National and Washington State CASA, including a resource library, national Facebook community and national and state conferences.
I'd like to apply but I'm not sure this will be a good fit. How will I know?
This could be a good fit if:
*You want to focus on a volunteer job that is challenging and significant
*You are ready to take action and make a difference in the life of a child
*You are ready to be part of an organization that values hard work and integrity
*You are willing to learn new skills and information
*You are a self-starter who is also a good team player
*You are generous with your heart, your time and your energy
*You are willing to be patient with the slow process of the court... because a child's life is important to you!
Volunteer GAL Application (hyperlink)
Jefferson County's GAL Program is accredited by the National CASA Association (please hyperlink to www.casaforchildren.org) and affiliated with Washington State CASA (please hyperlink to www.wacasa.org).
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. Further information regarding Child In Need of Services Petition is available by contacting us.
*Truancy: In Washington State, children between the ages 8-18 must attend an approved school program. If a parent enrolls a 6-7 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. CTB's 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 CTB's 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 CTB's 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.
The Jefferson County Juvenile and Family Court relies upon community volunteers to support and enhance our mission in many ways. Depending upon the level of involvement a potential volunteer is willing to give, there are programs that might be suited to match your energy to help out the youth in our community. All these programs require that potential volunteers participate in training, pass a criminal background check, and commit to involvement for a minimum of one year. If you are interested in becoming a Juvenile Court volunteer, please contact us! A volunteer application is also attached to this website.
Community Service Work Partner: A Community Service Work Partner is a person who is involved in a non-profit organization that sees the benefit of a restorative justice approach and would like to work with youth in a "work" setting. Because our community service projects are based on the theory that kids working with community has healing properties, if there are individuals within your organization that can work with you alongside our community service teens on a project in the community, you are a great candidate for this work. There are guidelines for what types of work youth can perform on community service, and there are expectations around tracking hours performed and behavior "on the job." The number and type of youth that are available to do community work varies depending upon our number of referrals and community service hours ordered.
Community Accountability Board Volunteer: A "CAB" volunteer is one who has limited time to commit, but wants to be involved in talking with youth and their families about issues that are causing trouble for the child. Their role is to meet with diversion youth (referred by the prosecuting attorney because of a first time criminal event) and their families in a semi-formal way to discuss the events that brought them into diversion. This Board is responsible for creating a Diversion Agreement with the youth that links kids to targeted interventions and also holds the youth accountable for their behavior.
Community Truancy Board Volunteer: A "CTB" member is one who believes in the value of education and the importance of youth engagement in school. Youth who are exhibiting "truant" behaviors are referred by the court to Community Truancy Boards. These Boards are made up of school personnel, juvenile justice staff, treatment providers and community volunteers. Youth are referred to the CTB by the Juvenile Court, and it is the job of this Board to create a pathway for the child that can lead to a more successful experience in school.
Guardian ad Litem/CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocate): A potential GAL is a person who has a high level of commitment to children, an empathy and understanding of the impacts of child abuse and neglect, and a willingness to perform many hours of volunteer work on behalf of children involved in the child welfare system. The training for becoming a GAL is extensive and applicants are carefully screened. Please refer to the CASA-GAL program description for more information regarding this volunteer opportunity.
JUVENILE COURT CALENDAR