Georgia has specific Juvenile Courts aimed at protecting the well-being and safety of children and families. Part of their mission statement says: “The purpose of this chapter is to secure for each child who comes within the jurisdiction of the juvenile court such care and guidance, preferably in his or her own home, as will secure his or her moral, emotional, mental, and physical welfare as well as the safety of both the child and community. It is the intent of the General Assembly to preserve and strengthen family relationships, countenancing the removal of a child from his or her home only when state intervention is essential to protect such child and enable him or her to live in security and stability.” Juvenile Courts supply guidance and decisions for families in crisis.
The types of cases handled in Juvenile Courts are delinquency, dependency, termination of parental rights, emancipation, substance abuse (for both children and adults) child abuse or neglect and mental health issues as they relate to the safety and welfare of children.
The Juvenile Courts work closely with the Department of Family and Children Services and Department of Juvenile Justice, along with “local school districts, district attorneys’ offices, public defenders’ offices, mental health providers, and stakeholders in the community to provide the services, supervision, resources, and representation as required by statute.”
Part of their mission is to rehabilitate juvenile offenders and often Family Treatment Courts will handle these cases if addictions or substance abuse is involved.
The average number of cases that flow through Juvenile Courts in Georgia is 72,115 per year. Almost half (45.5%) are for delinquency, 19.7% are for dependency, 16.4 is for CHINS, 10.2% involve traffic violations of minors, and 3.8% are for termination of parental rights or emancipation.