A determination by the court that a child is delinquent, unruly, dependent, neglected or abused

Adjudicatory Hearing

Hearing at which evidence is presented and the court determines if the statements stated in the complaint are true

Admit or Admission

The child acknowledges the commission of a violation that would be a criminal offense if committed by an adult. An admission is similar to a guilty plea in an adult court

Amenability Hearing

A hearing at which the child’s likelihood of rehabilitation is discussed for the purpose of deciding whether they should be tried as an adult


A document (or pleading) filed with the court before the trial by the defendant in a civil case to respond to the plaintiff’s claim


The term used to describe the transfer of jurisdiction from the Juvenile Court to an adult court for prosecution.

Children Services (CPS)

A public county agency responsible for providing protective services, care and placement for children who are dependent, neglected or abused

Community Control

A disposition the court can impose in delinquency, truancy and unruly cases for a period of time that includes orders and conditions


The first document (or pleading) in a case stating facts and demanding relief or alleging the commission of a crime


A person who has been granted legal custody of a child, or CPS when the court has granted temporary custody to CPS


The party against whom a criminal or civil action is brought

Delinquent Child

A child who violates any law that would be a criminal offense if committed by an adult, a child who is found to be truant or a child who violates an order issued by Juvenile Court

Deny or Denial

The child denies the commission of a violation. A denial is similar to a not guilty plea in an adult court.

Dependency, Neglect or Abuse

Cases where a complaint is filed stating that a child is not being properly cared for by his/her parents, custodian or guardian and it is necessary for CPS to provide care for the child


A restricted facility in which a child is detained prior to a Juvenile Court hearing or held after a child enters an admission or is adjudicated as delinquent after a trial


A hearing in which the Court decides what penalties and/or sanctions a child will receive for the offense committed

Dispositional Hearing

A hearing held at which the court determines who shall have custody of the child after a child has been found to be a dependent, neglected or abused child at the adjudicatory hearing

ECO Hearing

Initial hearing before or after a child is removed from his/her home at which time the court makes a determination whether the child should be removed from the home pending further court hearings

Guardian ad Litem

A person who is appointed by the court to represent a child’s interests in the Juvenile Court proceedings


A child deemed unmanageable by parents, custodians or guardians

Indigent Person

A person who is unable by reason of lack of property or income to hire and pay for the services of an attorney and all other necessary expenses of representation


A person under the age of 18. In some cases, a person found delinquent before reaching the age of 18 may be considered a juvenile in the eyes of the court until age 21.

Legal Custody

A legal status that gives the custodian the right and responsibility to have physical care and control of the child, subject to the rights of the parents. Legal custody does not terminate parental rights.

No Contest

A no contest plea indicates a child does not contest the violation, but does not want the plea to be used in any civil cases that might be filed.


The plaintiff and defendant in the case – also called the litigants

Permanent Custody

A legal status where CPS is granted all parental rights, duties and obligations to the child, including the right to consent to adoption, and all the parental rights, privileges and obligations of the parents are terminated permanently.


The party who institutes a legal action

PPLA (Planned Permanent Living Arrangement)

The court gives legal custody of a child over the age of 15 to CPS without terminating parental rights and CPS is permitted to place the child with an appropriate foster care provider.

Preliminary Hearing

The initial hearing at which the Court reviews the complaint with the child and makes a determination whether the child should be held in detention.

Pre-Trial Hearing

An opportunity for the child’s attorney and the prosecutor to review the evidence in the case and attempt to resolve the matter


A disposition in which a delinquent child is placed under the supervision of a probation officer and subject to the rules of probation

Pro Se

A parent or other party to the case who represents his/her interests in the case to the court without the representation or assistance of an attorney.

Protective Supervision

The court permits a child who is found to be abused, neglected or dependent to remain in the custody of his/her parent(s) subject to supervision and conditions set forth by the court and CPS.


A process to cause a witness to appear and give testimony before a court

Temporary Custody

Occurs when a child is removed from his/her home and custody of the child is granted to CPS or another person other than the parent. Temporary custody may be terminated at any time at the discretion of the court.