Platte County Juvenile Office

Terms and Definitions

Referral - report made to the juvenile officer of any alleged offense.  Source of referrals include:  Parents - School - Law Enforcement – Children’s Division.

Juvenile - youth under the age of 17 years for law violations; youth under the age of 18 for child abuse/neglect allegations.

Status Offense - an act not considered criminal and only applies to juveniles.  Truancy, Beyond Parental Control, and Runaway are considered status offenses.   

Delinquency - any violation of the law committed by a juvenile.

Abuse - any physical injury, sexual abuse, or emotional abuse inflicted on a juvenile other than by accidental means by those responsible for the child’s care, custody and control; except that discipline including spanking administered in a reasonable manner shall not be construed to be abuse.

Neglect – failure to provide the proper or necessary support, education as required by law, or nutrition, medical, surgical or any other care necessary for the child’s well being.

Jurisdiction - areas in which the Juvenile Court has legal control.

Informal Adjustment - cases handled by the juvenile officer without formal court action.

Attorney - a professional legal agent who represents the juvenile's interests in court.

Guardian Ad Litem - a professional legal agent appointed by the Judge to represent the best interests of a juvenile in court.

Subpoena - a legal writ that requires a person to appear in court to give testimony.

Summons - a written notification directing juvenile and custodian to appear in court.

Allegation -  term used for charges filed in a petition.

Petition - a document containing alleged charges to initiate court action.

Detention -       
            a.) The taking and retention of a juvenile into judicial custody in
                 connection with proceedings under the juvenile code.
            b.) A locked facility to hold law violating juveniles.

Detention Hearing - a court hearing to determine whether a juvenile remains in detention. 

Protective Custody – placement of a child that is alleged to be abused/neglected within a hospital or medical facility or emergency foster care facility or such other suitable custody placement as the court may direct. 

Protective Custody Hearing – a court hearing to determine whether a child should remain in protective custody pending the Adjudication hearing. 

Adjudication -  a court hearing presenting evidence on the alleged charges filed in the petition.  The allegations (charges) will be proven or dismissed.  If any allegation is proven to be true the juvenile is then considered to be under the jurisdiction of the court.

Disposition - this court hearing is similar to a sentencing hearing in an adult criminal case.  This hearing is held only after the charges in the adjudication hearing are proven true.  This hearing then determines what will be done with the juvenile.  Possible dispositional options may include:  placement in a facility, group home, or placement in the home under rules of supervision/probation.

Court Order - a document containing terms and conditions established by the court.

Probation - rules and conditions that the juvenile may be ordered by the court to follow.

Restitution -  payment to the victim for the actual monetary loss caused by the juvenile.

Electronic Monitoring - a program designed to restrict the juvenile to the home by wearing a device, usually attached to the ankle that records any absences from the home.

Certification - the process of transferring a juvenile from the jurisdiction of the juvenile court to the court of general jurisdiction (adult court) for prosecution under the general law.