Juvenile Diversion Services
The juvenile diversion program was created to divert cases that could be handled in lieu of a formal court hearing. Cases handled through diversion are primarily petty offenses, first time misdemeanor level offenses and truancy. The advantage to handling cases through the diversion/intake process is an expedited resolution to the matter and the child does not have a court record. Court cases are reserved for the more serious, repeat or high risk offenders and interventions, assessment and referrals are targeted to only those youth who are in need. The focus of the diversion hearing is to hold the youth accountable, offer resources, assess the youth for interventions needed, and inform the youth and family of potential consequences for similar behaviors in the future.
Youth are required as part of the diversion process to admit guilt before proceeding with the hearing. Youth have the right to a court hearing and to refuse participation in a diversion hearing at any stage of the process.
Juvenile Court Services
When a juvenile has been charged with a new offense, the parent and child will receive a court notice in the mail. If the child has been charged with a misdemeanor or gross misdemeanor they will meet with an attorney assigned to represent the child just prior to their court appearance. If the youth enters a plea of not guilty, the case will be continued for trial. If the youth enters a plea of guilty, the Community Corrections Department will provide recommendations to the court. Recommendations will be based on seriousness of the offense, prior legal and placement history, and risk for future criminal behavior.
When a juvenile has been charged with a felony level offense and after consultation with their attorney decide to enter a plea of guilty, the Community Corrections Department will meet with and interview the youth and parent before offering recommendations to the court. The agent will evaluate the juvenile to determine needs of the client and risk for future delinquency. A short form social history will be completed and distributed to the judge, county attorney, public defender/private attorney, and the parent accompanying the child to court.
The Juvenile Court Unit also conducts Certification and Extended Juvenile Jurisdiction (EJJ) studies, prepares background reports, and coordinates detention hearings. EJJ is designed to establish an alternate way to deal with juveniles who have prior criminal history, have committed serious crimes, and who may not be the most appropriate for transferring to adult court. This designation extends juvenile court jurisdiction until age 21.
Juvenile Probation Services
Following a finding or admission of guilt, a juvenile offender may be ordered to probation. Immediately following their court appearance, youth ordered to probation are directed to Juvenile Corrections. A probation agent will meet with the parent and child to determine the appropriate level of supervision using a validated risk assessment tool. If the child is deemed high to very high risk to re-offend, they are assigned to an intensive field agent for supervision by the city where they currently reside. If the child is assessed at moderate to low risk to re-offend, they are assigned to a generalist agent by the current school they attend.
Anoka County has specialized caseloads for those youth designated Extended Juvenile Jurisdiction (EJJ) or youth charged with a sex specific offense.