Growing up can be difficult for all children. This is especially so for children who have been accused of a crime or who are left without a competent adult to care for them. The State of Alabama has established a “Juvenile Court” to handle situations involving children such as these in our state. A Juvenile Court case is brought when a juvenile has committed a crime or when a juvenile is in need of supervision. A petition may be brought by a parent or other relative, or other concerned adult. A juvenile intake officer such a petition and determine whether a Juvenile Court case should be commenced. In criminal cases, the intake officer will decide whether a juvenile will be returned to his parents; in dependency cases, the officer will decide whether the juvenile should be put in “shelter care” under the Department of Human Resources.
Once the case is put before the Juvenile Court, the case will be heard by a Juvenile Court judge and not a jury. The judge will make a determination based on the best interest of the juvenile and render a judgment. All juvenile cases are confidential, and records are not made available to the public.