Terminology in Juvenile Proceedings

Child Attorney

Common Terminology

common terminology

in juvenile proceedings

Definition of Child

Any individual who is:

  • Under the age of 17 years;
  • Under the age of 21 years, who committed an act of delinquency before reaching the age of 17 years, and who has been placed under the supervision of the court or on probation to the court; or
  • Under the age of 18 years, if alleged to be a “deprived child.”


Definition of Deprived Child

  •  A child without proper parental care or control, failing to meet educational needs based on the law or without other care or control necessary for the child's moral, physical, mental or emotional health.
  • A child placed for care or for adoption in violation of the law.
  • A child abandoned by parents or other legal custodian; or without a parent, guardian or custodian.


The right to a child's care and control, carrying with it the responsibility of providing food, shelter, medical care, education and discipline. An agency may have custody of a child, but not be the primary caretaker or party giving day to day care. 


Term describing the legal status of a custodian of a juvenile which confers certain rights and responsibilities, including the requirement to provide for the child's physical,spiritual and mental needs, and the ability to register the child for school, obtain medical care and provide legal consent when needed. may be granted by Probate Court or Juvenile Court. The guardian may be eligible for financial subsidy from the Department of Family and Children Services (DFCS).

72 Hour Hearing

(Probable Cause Hearing, Detention Hearing)
+ Must be held within 72 hours after the juvenile is taken into state custody (excluding weekends and holidays.) Also called the emergency shelter care hearing (in deprivation proceedings.) This
hearing allows the court to determine whether there is “reasonable cause to believe that the allegations of the compliant are true.” Parents are made aware of what is on the complaint and are given the option to obtain an attorney.

10 Day Hearing

(Adjudicatory Hearing, Formal Hearing or Trial) 

Must be set on the calendar within 10 days of filing the petition if the child is detained. The main focus of this hearing is to determine whether the child was deprived at the time the deprivation complaint was signed. All persons with first hand knowledge of the issues have to personally testify. If the petition is true, the court makes a decision based on findings of fact and conclusions of law.