|How are children
referred to Juvenile Court Intake?
Most referrals come from law enforcement officers, school
personnel, child protection workers, and parents.
Although most children who are referred to Juvenile Court Intake are in the legal and
physical custody of their parents, many are in the custody of
a law enforcement official. When a child is in the custody of a law enforcement
official, the Intake worker decides whether the child needs to
be continued in the custody of the law enforcement system, and if so, where the
child should reside pending a court hearing.
What is an
" intake inquiry"?
Wisconsin Statutes s.48.24 and s.938.24 provide for the Intake worker to conduct an
intake inquiry." The purpose of the inquiry is to investigate the
alleged delinquent act or abuse/neglect and to provide the youth and parents
with information on their legal rights and the authority of
court. In most cases the intake worker meets with the child and parents to
discuss the seriousness of
the alleged delinquent act or abuse/neglect, the child's history, and the wishes of the family.
Children and their parents are not obligated to participate in an intake inquiry,
(sometimes called an "intake conference"). If the child and parents
do not participate in the intake inquiry, the Intake worker is likely to refer
the case to the court system for further action.
What results from
An inquiry usually results in the Intake worker deciding to pursue one of
Option 1) Dismiss the
referral. Sometimes called "counsel and release," this option
sees the Intake worker counsel the delinquent child and/or the parents of an
abused/neglected child, then release
the child from further involvement with the court system.
Option 2) Refer the matter for petition. In this
option the Intake worker asks the district attorney or corporation counsel to
petition the court to become directly involved in deciding what should be done
with the delinquent child.
Option 3) Hold the matter open. In this option, no
action is taken while the Intake worker and the child and family develop a plan
of corrective action.
What is an
Informal Disposition Agreement?
The term "Informal Disposition" is found in
Wisconsin's Children's Code (Wisconsin Statutes, Chapter 48). This term
describes Option 3 above for abused/neglected children. The Intake worker may recommend an Informal
Disposition Agreement when the parties concerned appear motivated to correct the
problems that led to involvement with the judicial system.
What is a
Deferred Prosecution Agreement?
The term "Deferred Prosecution" is found in
Wisconsin's Juvenile Justice Code (Wisconsin Statutes, Chapter 938). This
term also applies to Option 3 above, but for an offense that would be considered
criminal if committed by an adult. The Intake worker may recommend a
Deferred Prosecution Agreement when the parties concerned appear motivated to
correct the problems that led to involvement with the judicial system.
Intake worker, the child, and the parents may agree to enter into an Informal Disposition
Agreement or Deferred
Prosecution Agreement, their decision can be overruled by the district attorney or
corporation counsel. The Intake
worker only recommends how a case should be handled. The final decision
is up to the district attorney, the corporation counsel, and the court.
How does an
Informal Disposition Agreement or Deferred Prosecution Agreement work?
The Intake worker, the child, and the family develop a plan to deal with the child's delinquent behavior. If approved by the
district attorney or corporation counsel, the Agreement can remain in effect for
up to one year. Upon successful completion of the Agreement the case is closed. Any of the parties can request that the Agreement
be revoked if matters do not proceed satisfactorily. If an
Agreement is revoked, the case potentially goes to court.
In Walworth County, the Intake worker
has primary responsibility for monitoring Agreements and for helping those
involved to be successful in fulfilling the terms of an Agreement.