The Juvenile Court in Chatham County is an independent Juvenile Court organized under Chapter II of Title 15 of the Official Code of Georgia. The Court is responsible for all delinquent complaints concerning children under the age of 17 years. If a complaint involves unruly, abused or neglected children, the Court has jurisdiction until the age of 18 years.
The cases referred to Juvenile Court fall in one of the following categories:
A delinquent referral is a referral for an act that is designated a crime by the laws of this State, under federal laws, or by local ordinances and certain traffic offenses. The act would have been committed by a child under the age of 17 years.
A Child in Need of Services (CHINS) referral is a referral for a violation of a law that is applicable only to a child. Such offenses include, but are not limited to, truancy, running away from home, curfew violation, and being habitually disobedient of the reasonable and lawful commands of one’s parents.
A traffic referral is a referral for traffic charges against a person under 17 years of age.
A dependency referral is a referral regarding a child who is without parental care or control, subsistence, education as required by law, or other care or control necessary for one’s physical, mental, or emotional health or morals; or one who has been placed for care or adoption in violation of law; or one who has been abandoned by parents or other legal custodian; or one who is without a parent, guardian or custodian.
A TPR referral is a referral for the legal and permanent severance of the parent-child relationship; if parental rights are terminated, the child may become eligible for adoption.
A special proceeding referral is one for motion hearings, transfers to and from other jurisdictions and Courts, emancipations and parental notification of abortions.