The goals for juvenile court are not only to rehabilitate an at risk youth, but to strengthen and preserve a family unit.
At risk youth are handled in the court appropriately given their legal status, and level of behavior and environmental issues.
The court staff works diligently, with the highest level of professionalism, in order to accopmlish these goals to serve the youth
and their families of Benton County.
Crimes adjudicated by the courts on juveniles are treated differently and differentially
regarding the same crimes committed by adults to give young, impressionable
youth a second chance.
Cases generally fall into three major categories:
cases are filed by the Prosecuting Attorney when juveniles aged 10-17 commit an
act that would be a crime (not including traffic or game and fish
The prosecuting attorney files a petition with the court and the juvenile
and his/her parents are made defendants and must answer to the court.
cases may be filed when a juvenile is
abandoned, abused, sexually abused, neglected or where the child is at great
risk of harm due to unfit parenting. These types of cases typically require
the involvement of the Department of Human Services (DHS). The goal of the juvenile
court and the DHS is to reunite families, if it is in a child's best interest and the
child can safely return home, by developing a permanent plan for the child,
which could include adoption.
Family In Need of Services (FINS)
cases may be filed when a child’s behavior includes such acts as running way,
being truant or being disobedient to his/her parents and it is brought to the
attention of the juvenile authorities, often by parents or school officials. The
goal of a FINS case is to work out a course of action to stop these problems. FINS
cases also include kids who commit crimes who are under 8 and kids who have
mental health and alcohol and drug abuse problems.