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Family Court Process

View a visual guide to the Family Court process

Intake

After a young person is arrested, he or she goes through the Probation Intake process. 

First, an intake officer interviews the young person about the alleged crime, school attendance, and living situation, among other topics. 

The intake officer also interviews the arresting officer, the complainant/victim, and the parents or caregiver of the young person. 

The intake officer then determines whether the case should be referred for formal court proceedings or held open for adjustment services, which can include:

  • Restitution
  • Community service
  • Referral for community-based services
  • Letter of apology and/or mediation

If the intake officer refers the case to Family Court, the matter proceeds to the Office of the Corporation Counsel, which prosecutes Family Court delinquency matters.

If the case is diverted from court, it is held open for adjustment services and monitored by the Department of Probation (DOP) for up to four months.


Investigations

If the court determines that the young person committed a crime, DOP conducts an investigation to help the Court figure out the most appropriate disposition for the case. 

The Probation Officer conducting the investigation is responsible for making a recommendation that balances the best interests of the child with the safety of the community. 

The Department of Probation is also responsible for conducting investigations relating to custody, visitation, family offenses and adoption cases in Family Court.


Supervision

A young person’s disposition may include Probation supervision, which offers him or her a chance to demonstrate an ability to function in the community, in part by making positive changes and developing better decision-making skills. 

The Court can place a young person on supervision for up to two years. 

The supervising Probation Officer’s major responsibilities are to supervise and monitor the young person’s compliance with specified court orders and the conditions of probation, and also to inform the court of any significant non-compliance. 

The Probation Officer helps the young person’s efforts to avoid further crimes by providing support, practical advice and life coaching. The Probation Officer also often works to connect the client to community-based services that can address his or her needs and capitalize on personal interests.