Terms to Know

  1. Accountability: When a crime is committed, a child has a responsibility for the harm caused and takes action to repair the harm and restore the victim's and community's losses to their pre-crime state, if possible.
  2. Adjudicatory Hearing: A hearing in Juvenile Court where the District Attorney/Prosecutor, as a representative of the Commonwealth, presents their case to prove that a juvenile has committed the offense he/she has been charged with.
  3. Adjudication of Delinquency: When a child is found by the Court to have broken the law and is need of treatment, supervision, or rehabilitation.
  4. Adversary: An adversary proceeding means that the juvenile is denying all or some of the charges.
  5. Balanced and Restorative Justice (BARJ): The approach that believes justice is best served when the community, the victim, and the offender receive balanced attention.
  6. Community Service: Volunteer work that a child does to benefit the community and to repair harm he/she has caused.
  7. Consent Decree: A Consent Decree is a disposition without the finding of delinquency. It is an agreement between the juvenile and the Court, in which the juvenile is placed under the Court's supervision for a period of six months, unless sooner terminated or further extended by order of the Court. Consent Decrees include conditions that must be fulfilled by the juvenile during the term of his/her supervision.
  8. Detention Center: A secure facility where juveniles are temporarily housed.
  9. Disposition Hearing: If the judge finds a child guilty of committing a crime, a disposition hearing is held to decide what services the child will be Court-ordered to complete (such as probation supervision, community service hours, counseling, and/or commitment to a residential treatment facility).
  10. Expungement: When a juvenile Court record is legally erased as though it never existed.
  11. Non-Adversary: A non-adversary proceeding means that the juvenile is admitting to the charges filed against him/her.
  12. Restitution: Children are held accountable for the financial losses they have caused to the victims of their crimes and the Court may order your child to pay the victims for their losses.
  13. Review Hearing: A Court hearing that is held to review a child's progress.
  14. Victim Impact Statement: A written form that a victim has the right to complete and have presented to the Court explaining the emotional and financial impact a child's crime has had on them.
  15. Youth Level of Service Inventory (YLS): A research-based assessment tool designed to determine a child's risk to reoffend and needed services through juvenile probation. The YLS helps the probation officer objectively determine a child's risk of re-offending and the level of needed intervention, based upon the child's history, strengths, and social supports. Use of the YLS increases appropriate planning and placement decisions.