Process & Terminology

Process & Terminology

The New York City Law Department's Family Court Division investigates, and prosecutes where appropriate, youth ages 7 to 17 who are arrested for juvenile delinquency. The Family Court system is focused on rehabilitation. Youth can be held accountable for their actions and receive appropriate rehabilitative services. The Law Department seeks to balance the need for protection of the community with the needs and the best interests of the youth (also known in Family Court proceedings as the respondent). The Division's work also includes providing information to victims of youth crime on available community-based services, including counseling, crisis intervention, and safety planning.

You may have questions about the juvenile delinquency process. The Family Court process and terminology are different from adult criminal court. Refer to the information below for an overview of Family Court stages and terms.

If you are a victim or a witness you may contact the Assistant Corporation Counsel assigned to your case. You may also visit our resource page for victim information.

Get an overview of juvenile delinquency proceedings

General Stages of the Family Court Process

Juvenile Delinquency Arrest
Potential Out-of-Court Resolutions
Petition and Initial Appearance
Released to Parent
Alternative to Detention (ATD)
Temporary Order of Protection
Adjournment in Contemplation of Dismissal (ACD)
Conditional Discharge (CD)
Conditions of Disposition
Community Service
Order of Protection


Assistant Corporation Counsel (ACC)
Attorney for the Child

Common Forms and Court Documents

Address Verification
Investigation & Report
Family Court Appearance Ticket (FCAT)
Notice of Declination
Notice of Intention to File a Petition
Rescheduling Notice
Victim Impact Statement