Juvenile Services Unit
Wilentz Justice Complex Room 915
The Juvenile Services Unit is made up of two teams and each team is assigned to a Judge. The Juvenile Unit handles between 200-300 complaints per month.
Juvenile delinquency is behavior that if committed by an adult would constitute a crime or disorderly persons offense. Cases are divided into the following categories for purposes of scheduling based upon the severity of the alleged offense and prior complaint history of the juvenile:
A. Court - Counsel Mandatory Calendar (cases serious enough to go before a Judge)
B. Court - Counsel Not Mandatory Calendar
C. Juvenile Referee Program
D. Intake Service Conference (ISC)
E. Juvenile Conference Committee (JCC)
F. Juvenile Family Crises Intervention Unit ( FCIU )
THE JUVENILE COURT PROCESS
IF YOUR CHILD IS ARRESTED:
If your child is under the age of 18 and has been arrested within the last 48 hours, and you need further information, go to the above address from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday.
JUVENILE DETENTION HEARINGS
All juvenile detention hearings are conducted by a Juvenile Judge in the 9th floor courtrooms, Monday through Friday. On weekends and holidays when the court is closed, detention hearings will be held by telephone conference from the Detention Center.
APPLYING FOR A PUBLIC DEFENDER
Applications for a Public Defender may be made in person at the 9th floor Juvenile Services Case Reception Office, Room 915 from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m., Monday through Friday. Eligibility is based on your income, including child support ordered by the court. A sliding scale is used to determine the cost.
To apply for a Public Defender, you must bring proof of family income, a utility bill with your address and a copy of the juvenile’s birth certificate. There is a $50.00 application fee. Any questions regarding this fee should be directed to the Public Defenderís Office.
PROBATION and PAYMENT OF FINES AND FEES
If your child was placed on probation supervision and you need further information, you may call the Probation Division Office, Juvenile Unit at 973-395-3020, 3021, 3022 or 3023. The office is located at 60 Evergreen Place, East Orange, NJ 07108. Payments of fines, penalties or restitution may be made at the Probation Division between the hours of 8:30 am until 7:30 p.m.
Payment of fines, penalties or restitution may also be made in person at the Probation Division’s Cashier’s Office, 1st floor, Wilentz Justice Complex, 212 Washington Street, Newark, NJ from from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday. Payments may be made in cash, money order or check.
ASSIGNMENT OF COUNSEL HEARING (5A HEARING)
5A hearings are performed on all cases scheduled on a Counsel Mandatory Calendar. Hearings are scheduled to approve or deny applications for Public Defender representation. Families may be eligible for either a Public Defender or Court Assigned Attorney based on household income. If a parent or guardian fails to appear for a scheduled Assignment of Counsel Hearing, a bench warrant may be issued for the parent’s arrest.
Recommended steps when attending Assignment of Counsel Hearings (5A Hearings):
Bring a current pay stub for yourself and your spouse
Have your and your spouse’s social security numbers
Bring the previous year’s tax return ( W-2) or Medicaid eligibility card
Bring a copy of the complaint
Be on time for your scheduled appointment
In the event you cannot keep your appointment, you must notify the court as soon as possible so that another appointment can be made.
For additional information, please call 973-693-6775.
If your child has been ordered to attend a special juvenile program, such as Juvenile Auto Theft Prevention Program (JATPP) or Prevention, Intervention, and Education (PIE), you can obtain information about these programs by calling 973-693-6775 and asking to speak with the program coordinator.
Juvenile Referee Program
Juvenile Referees operate in accordance with NJ Court Rule 5:25-2 and hear informal juvenile matters for which attorney representation is not mandatory. Referees can recommend dismissal of a complaint or make an adjudication (finding) of delinquency. Cases screened for the Juvenile Referee are the third and highest level for hearing informal matters. The first level is JCC and the second level is ISC.
Juvenile Referees must meet certain educational requirements as established by law, and operate as an arm of the court to accept pleas to offenses of the second, third and fourth degrees and can recommend the same disposition alternatives as a Family Court Judge. These alternatives include but are not limited to: supervised probation, suspension of a driver’s license or obtaining a driver’s license, community service, fines and restitution, counseling, referral to appropriate outside agencies, and the issuance of a bench warrant for failure to appear or comply with an order. All dispositions recommended by the Juvenile Referee are written in a court order and submitted to the Family Court Judge for approval and signature. All matters not resolved by the Juvenile Referee are referred for a formal Court hearing. For additional information, please call 973-693-6775.
All matters whereby a deferred disposition is recommended and granted the juvenile may be required to appear a second time before the case is dismissed. Failure to comply may result in the matter returning to court.
Intake Service Conferences (ISC) operate in accordance with N.J.S.A. 2A:4A-74. The primary goal of ISC is to assist families in resolving matters without the need for court intervention by utilizing community resources. Cases are referred to ISC by a Family Division intake officer when the complaint is screened or by a referral from court by a Family Division judge. ISC’s are used for less serious offenses or for repeat minor offenses. Whereas juvenile conference committees are made up of volunteers who reside, hear and decide matters in the juvenile’s community, ISC’s are scheduled and heard by a probation officer in the Family Division. For additional information, please call 973-693-6782.
Juvenile Conference Committees (JCC) operate in accordance with N.J.S.A. 2A:4A-75. The committees are comprised of volunteers from the community who are appointed by the Presiding Judge of the Family Court and trained by court staff to informally hear juvenile complaints. All proceedings are confidential. The Juvenile Conference Committee is primarily concerned with preventing future misconduct of young people and handle minor acts of juvenile delinquency. The Juvenile Conference Committee makes recommendations in accordance with established guidelines that help to rehabilitate juvenile delinquents. The Juvenile Conference Committee is a statewide program and exists in all twenty-one municipalities in Essex County. For additional information, please call 973-693-6767.
The goal of the program is to inform juvenile offenders and parents about the consequences of auto theft. JATPP emphasizes the development of personal values, decision making, respect for the property of others, critical thinking, conflict management skills and the importance of education. Attendees are referred by the court when the primary charges are auto theft related and the juvenile has never been previously adjudicated delinquent. The program consists of two sessions which involve the parent and child, and focuses on the incident. Community agencies offer guidance and support, and the coordinator and volunteers offer comments and encouragement. For additional information about the program, please call 973-693-6781.
Prevention, Intervention and Education (PIE)
PIE is a program for juveniles arrested for the first time for substance abuse related offenses. There are four mandatory educational sessions which must be attended by the juvenile and a parent or guardian, as well as an assessment interview which is conducted at 45 Lincoln Park, Newark, NJ. The four mandatory sessions are conducted at the Veterans Courthouse. For additional information contact the PIE coordinator at (973) 642-5912.
Family Crisis (FF Docket Type)
The Family Crisis Intervention Unit ( FCIU ) handles cases in which the behavior of the juvenile, parent, guardian, or other family member constitutes a threat to the wellbeing and safety of the juvenile for reasons other than delinquency. These cases often involve serious conflicts with parents, runaways, or a pattern of repeated unauthorized absence from school. If the matter cannot be resolved within the Family Crisis Intervention Unit a petition is made for court intervention and a complaint is filed with the Family Court. For information about the program, please call the Family Crisis Intervention Unit at 973-286-2966.