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District of Columbia Courts

More About Juvenile Matters

How do I...

find out what happens when my child is arrested?

Arrests for juveniles can be made by any law enforcement entity with arresting powers, including the Metropolitan Police Department, Park Police, DC Housing Authority Police and the Metrorail Police Department. 

When your child is arrested, he or she is taken to the Youth Service Center for screening and interviewing by a juvenile probation officer. The Youth Service Center is located at Mount Olivet Road, Northeast. He or she is then transported to the Moultrie Courthouse for an initial hearing before a judge. The Courthouse is located at 500 Indiana Avenue, NW. A Juvenile Probation Officer located in Room 4206 of the Courthouse will meet with the parent/guardian, screen the case and prepare recommendations to be presented in an initial hearing before the judge. The initial hearing is your child’s first appearance before a judge to determine detention or release and, if he or she is released, the rules he or she must follow. Initial hearings are held in courtroom JM-15 located on the JM level of the Moultrie Courthouse. Once you have completed the screening process, an attorney will be assigned to your child if you cannot afford one. He or she will represent your child throughout the case.

get help if my child is not attending school?

If your child has missed 25 days of school or more, he or she may be prosecuted by the DC Attorney General To prepare for this, you should go to your child’s school and obtain their attendance records and any supporting documents that show the school’s efforts to address the matter. This includes:

get help handling a child who continuously runs away from home?

If you have at least three documented missing person’s reports, you can report to the Family Court Social Services Division Status Offender Unit, in room 305 of Court Building B (510 4th Street, NW) to be interviewed by a juvenile probation officer. Children in such situations are known as Status Offenders.

get my child’s case removed from his record?

This is called sealing or expunging a record. When a case is sealed, the details of it cannot be viewed and when a case is expunged, it is removed completely from the court record. Two years after a juvenile matter is successfully closed or terminated, the youth or his or her attorney can file a motion to the Family Court asking it to vacate the juvenile order and findings and ordering that all records in that case be sealed or expunged. This action can be taken only if the juvenile has not been delinquent, in need of supervision, or convicted of a crime during the two year time-period.

resolve a Custody Order?

A Custody Order is a term used in juvenile proceedings, which is similar to an bench warrant for adults. A custody order requires that a youth be taken into custody and brought before a judge. Custody orders are issued by a judge in Family Court to bring the child into the court when he or she has not appeared for a hearing, is not complying with conditions of probation, or is believed to have committed a crime.
To resolve a custody order, a youth can: 
•    report to the closest MPD District and turn him or herself in.
•    report to the DC Superior Court – Family Court Social Services Division Intake Unit, Room 4206 of the Moultrie Courthouse to resolve the custody order during normal business hours of 7:30am-4:00pm.
•    report to their assigned probation officer – if they have one - during normal business hours of 8:30am-5:00pm.
For additional information contact (202) 508-1900

find out what is required in a Parent Participation Order?

A Parent Participation Order is a signed contract between the parent(s) of a delinquent youth and the Court. It requires attendance at all hearings and follow-ups on any needs and conditions of release of the respondent.

find out what is involved in a Home Study?

Either party in a divorce may request a home study (also called a “home inspection”) or it may be ordered by a judge. A home study is an evaluation of a child's place of residence. The study is done to find out what the living conditions are, whether or not they appear suitable and appropriate for a child to live in, and whether or not there are hazards or deficits in the living arrangements that might be detrimental to the child. These studies include, but are not limited to:
•    A tour of the homes or premises where the child(ren) may visit or be placed
•    An assessment of safety issues, adequacy of housing, sleeping area, food and running water
•    Interviews and details social histories
•    Investigation of the family’s dispute from each person’s point of view
•    Observation of interactions between each parent/guardian and the child(ren)
•    At least one separate visit with each involved child
School visits of each child(ren) are conducted to obtain records and interview teachers, counselors, principals and other school personnel to determine the child’s adjustment, special needs, parental involvement and other issues that will assist in the custody recommendation. Once the investigations and studies are completed, a comprehensive report with placement and visitation recommendations is submitted to the judge.

find out about my child’s referral to the Juvenile Behavioral Diversion Program?

The Family Court operates a specialized Juvenile Behavioral Health Diversion Program with two different ‘tracks.’ The first is for first-time, nonviolent offenders and the program’s services are provided before a trial or a plea. The second track is for those who have entered a plea and who agree to certain conditions.

get more information on mental health evaluations?

The Family Court Social Services Division’s Child Guidance Clinic provides comprehensive clinical and forensic psychological evaluations, including assessments of a child’s intellectual, educational, and personality functioning.

The Child Guidance Clinic provides the following types of evaluations: General, psycho-educational, competency to stand trial, competency to waive Miranda rights, parenting capacity, neuropsychological, violence risk, sex offender, waiver of juvenile jurisdiction.

get my child mental health services, if he or she has not been arrested?

The DC Department of Mental Health provides comprehensive mental health services for any youth who is a resident of the District of Columbia

get my child substance abuse/drug treatment services, if he or she has not been arrested?

The DC Addiction Prevention and Recovery Administration (APRA) provides comprehensive substance/drug abuse services for any youth who is a resident of the District of Columbia.

find out about internship programs for students studying psychology?

The Clinic offers a competitive pre-doctoral internship in psychology (accredited by APA) for advanced graduate and professional trainees pursuing a doctorate in psychology. The Clinic also offers practicum training for masters’ level students in an active program for counseling or clinical psychology.