Juvenile Justice System Terms

Absent From Leave (AFL)
When a juvenile who is committed to the Youth Development Center, is away from his/her assigned placement without permission in violation of the Aftercare Agreement.

The term used in juvenile court to indicate that a juvenile has been found to have committed a delinquent act. (See Delinquent act/offense.)

The equivalent of a guilty plea in adult court.

Aftercare planning meeting
A final review of the juvenile’s progress during his/her commitment to MYC is conducted before he/she is released back into the community. The aftercare program is developed by all those involved with the juvenile and conditions for release are outlined.

Aftercare Status
Planned placement in the community with established rules for behavior.

Usually the juvenile’s first appearance in court at which time the judge ensures that the juvenile and his/her parent(s) or legal guardian understand their rights, the charge(s) and the possible consequences. The court may appoint counsel at this time. Conditions of release may be set pending next appearance in court. The child must admit or deny the charge at this time.

[Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS)] Child and Family Services
(formerly, BDS: [Maine] Department of Behavioral and Developmental Services).

Bind over hearing
The hearing at which the juvenile court determines whether or not to permit the State to proceed against a juvenile as if he were an adult.

The legal procedure for determining whether a juvenile’s case should be transferred from juvenile court for trial in the adult system.

Classification conference
The first clinical review of a juvenile committed to the Youth Development Center, where the strategy for rehabilitation is planned. This review generally occurs within the first thirty days of commitment.

Clinical review
A periodic assessment of a juvenile’s program by selected staff at the Youth Development Center in conjunction with the Juvenile Caseworker’s report from the community. The plan for rehabilitation may be adjusted at this time.

A court order giving guardianship of a juvenile who is at least eleven (11) years old to the Commissioner of the Department of Corrections. The term of commitment must be for a minimum of one year and may be extended for a period not to exceed the juvenile’s twenty first (21st) birthday.

Correctional caseworker
A staff person located at a correctional facility, who assists juveniles with institutional adjustment and discharge planning. Specific duties at the Youth Development Center include providing social work services to committed juveniles and coordinating with Juvenile Caseworker to develop aftercare plans.

To have custody of a prisoner, a State must hold that person in one of its facilities. A State may have custody of a prisoner over whom another State maintains jurisdiction.

Delinquent act/offense
An act committed by a juvenile for which an adult could be prosecuted in a criminal court, but when committed by a juvenile is within the jurisdiction of the juvenile court.

The equivalent of a not-guilty plea in adult court.

A term which describes a child whose parents are willing, but unable, to provide necessary care and supervision.

Detention hearing
The hearing at which the court reviews the juvenile caseworker’s decision to detain a juvenile and the need for continued detention pending the next court appearance.

Temporary incarceration of a juvenile pending court or other official proceedings.

[Maine] Department of Human and Human Services

The process by which the Commissioner of Corrections terminates a juvenile’s commitment to the Department.

Disposition hearing
The hearing at which the juvenile court judge decides the appropriate sanctions and necessary follow-up programming for an “adjudicated delinquent”. Similar to a sentencing hearing in adult court.

Dispositional hearing
The conclusion of the juvenile criminal proceedings. The judge may impose dispositions such as acquittal, dismissal of charges, adjudication, public service work, fine, probation, shock sentence, split sentence, commitment.

[Maine] Department of Corrections

The release of a juvenile from the legal control of his parents.

Guardian Ad Litem
A person appointed by the court to represent the best interests of a juvenile in a court proceeding.

Hold for court
The order of a judge to detain a juvenile, in a secure detention facility, without commitment, pending further court proceedings.

Hold for court evaluation
An evaluation performed either at the Youth Development Center or the Northern Maine Juvenile Detention Facility at the order of a judge. The result of this evaluation is reported back to the court and may only be released by the court.

Informal adjustment
A voluntary arrangement between a juvenile caseworker and the juvenile referred to him/her which provides sufficient basis for a decision by the juvenile caseworker not to file a petition for formal court proceedings.

Jurisdiction refers to a unit of government or to the legal authority to exercise governmental power.

Juvenile Caseworker (JCW)
An agent of the Department of Corrections authorized to provide appropriate services to juveniles alleged to have committed a juvenile crime to perform juvenile probation functions; and to provide appropriate services to juveniles committed to the Youth Development Center and/or in the community on Aftercare Status.

Juvenile Community Corrections Officer
A person employed at the local level who provides super-vision and counseling of juveniles who have been adjudicated delinquent by the juvenile court, and/or released from a state juvenile corrections facility by the Commissioner of Corrections.

Any person who has not attained the age of eighteen (18) years.

Long Creek Youth Development Center.  The LCYDC is designated as the state correctional facility for juveniles who have been court committed, and those juveniles who are ordered detained pending their next appearance in court or other official proceeding, who reside in the following counties: Androscoggin, Cumberland, Lincoln, Oxford, Sagadahoc and York.

Mountain View Youth Development Center.  MVYDC is authorized to hold juveniles who are sentenced by the court, statewide, to short term shock sentences and those juveniles who are detained pending their next appearance in court or other official proceeding who reside in the following counties: Aroostook, Franklin, Hancock, Kennebec, Knox, Penobscot, Piscataquis, Somerset, Waldo and Washington.

A term which describes a child whose parents neglect or refuse to provide the needed care and supervision for their child.

The legal document which describes the alleged offense committed by the child. Similar to a complaint in adult court.

Predisposition report
Also known as a social history, this is a pre-sentence investigation which contains much of the same information as its adult counterpart.

Preliminary hearing
The administrative hearing process by which probable cause is determined whether or not the juvenile violated conditions of probation. This hearing is conducted by the Regional Correctional Administrator or his/her designee in accordance with statutory provisions.

Pretrial hearing
A hearing in juvenile court after the child has denied the petition (pled not guilty), in order to set the trial date and to review the issues and evidence in the case.

A legal status created by a court order in cases involving a juvenile crime. Probation permits the juvenile to remain in his own home or other placement designated by the Juvenile Court. This status is subject to revocation for violation of any condition imposed by the court.

Reclassification hearing
A hearing held at MYC when a juvenile is returned for violating his/her Aftercare of Therapeutic Leave Agreement.

Revocation of aftercare
The administrative process by which the juvenile’s aftercare status may be revoked. If Aftercare is revoked, the juvenile will be returned to the Youth Development Center for a reclassification hearing.

Revocation of probation
The legal process by which the juvenile’s status on probation is revoked by order of the court.

Status offense
Conduct which is illegal for a child, but not for an adult, such as truancy or curfew violation.

Stay of adjudication
When a child has been adjudicated delinquent but the juvenile court has determined that the circumstances of the case warrant the child be given a “second chance”, the court can suspend, or stay, the sentence. If the child satisfies all conditions set forth by the court, the court can dismiss the charge and there will be no record of the adjudication.

Termination of Parental Rights (TPR)
The order of the juvenile court which terminates the legal relationship between parent/s and a child. This can be either voluntary or involuntary, and temporary or permanent, depending upon the circumstances of the case and the needs of the child.

Therapeutic leave
A release from the Youth Development Center, to a specific placement, as an extension of its program for medical or therapeutic purposes.

Tolled time
A suspension of the running time of the probation period, which occurs when a motion to revoke probation and a summons is filed with the court and ends when the court has acted upon that motion.

When the charge stated in the petition is denied by the child and not dismissed by the juvenile court, the judge hears and decides the case. Jury trials are not held in juvenile court.