The state of Tennessee has 98 Juvenile Courts. Of that total, 17 of those are called “Private Act,” and the remaining 81 are General Sessions Courts who have juvenile jurisdiction. One hundred and nine judges serve the Juvenile Courts. All of the Juvenile Courts are county-based except for Bristol and Johnson City. That means that all of the 95 counties within the state has at least one Juvenile Court locator.
The types of cases processed through Juvenile Courts are juvenile delinquency, child abuse and neglect, custody, paternity, and termination of parental rights. These courts also handle mental health cases, child support, and other minors-related legal issues.
The Tennessee Juvenile Courts are not standardized throughout the state; therefore, case management procedures, court size, court administrative practices, and overall rules and procedures may vary widely by area. The goals are to fit the needs of each community individually and the people who live there.
The Tennessee State Courts website contains many resources for patrons of Juvenile Court, including a “Child Dependency and Neglect Handbook for Parents and Guardians,” divorce and child support forms to file cases, worksheets and guides to help parents devise visitation schedules, mediation information as an alternative to divorce, parenting plan guidelines, and information for youths in Juvenile Court. Due to the sensitive nature of Juvenile Courts, there are other justice entities that support and assist the Juvenile Courts such as the Council of Juvenile Court Judges, Juvenile Clerks and Judicial Offices that serve the Juvenile Courts. All of these members of the judicial system work together to aid families in crisis and troubled children.
Roughly 255,000 issues are resolved by Juvenile Courts each year. They cover a wide range of legal issues regarding the care, safety, and delinquency of minors.