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Representing Juvenile Status Offenders

NCJ Number
Hannah Benton; Shay Bilchik; Jana Heyd; Erika Pinheiro; Claire Shubik; Tobie J. Smith; Martha Stone; Casey Trupin; Joseph B. Tulman
Sally Small Inada, Claire S. Chiamulera
Date Published
160 pages
This book guides attorneys in representing juvenile status offenders, who are youth arrested although they have committed no crime but who may be classified as "unruly teens," "chronic runaways," "truants," or "children in need of services."
With effective attorney advocacy and support, these youth and their families may receive the resources they need to address their underlying issues and avoid becoming further involved with the juvenile justice system. In preparing attorneys for such a role, this book's chapters, each of which is written by an expert in the field, provides attorneys with the tools they need to engage and represent youth in status offense proceedings. Chapter 1 provides an overview of the key provisions of the Federal Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act that relate to status offenders. Guidance is provided on how to use this Federal law to advocate for status offense clients. Chapter 2 examines status offender behaviors within the context of adolescent development and provides guidance to attorneys on how to use existing research in helping them establish fruitful relationships with juvenile clients. The third chapter suggests ways attorneys can access early intervention and diversion services for status offender clients. The next two chapters familiarize attorneys with the status offense court process from preadjudication through trial and disposition. Strategies are outlined for attorneys to use at trial, disposition, and in cases that involve alleged violations of a court order. Chapter 6 guides attorneys in representing status offenders who also have special education issues; and chapter 7 guides attorneys in navigating status offenders through other child-serving systems, such as child welfare and delinquency. This book is complemented with Web-based versions of each chapter, video interviews with legal and social-service experts, lists of relevant State and national resources, and Web links to useful national and local programs.