Youth referred to North Dakota Juvenile Court may be referred to programs as part of a diversion, informal adjustment or court order. Services may be offered by the juvenile court staff or referred to a number of outside entities both public and private. North Dakota Juvenile Court Officers teach skills and cognitive restructuring programs to probation youth and families. Some examples of staff facilitated programs include: Decision Making 101, Risks and Decisions, Anger Management, Relationships & Communication Group, Boundaries Class, Girls Group and Boys Group, and SPARCS, a trauma-based program. Court officers also use one-on-one coaching interventions with youth on probation through use of the Carey Guides, a skills and tool-based curriculum. The Youth Cultural Achievement Programs (YCAP) are region specific programs that focus on addressing factors that lead to disproportionate minority contact. The Bismarck region has had a cultural liaison program since 2009. The Fargo program began in 2015 and Devils Lake began a program in 2018.
Note that there are some regional variations in the programs and services offered. Contact your local juvenile court office for more specific information.
Below are links to related programs and services:
The Village Family Service Center: https://www.thevillagefamily.org/content/family-engagement-services
North Dakota Attendant Care Program: https://www.ndaco.org/programs_and_services/jj/statewide-detention-support-services-sdss/
North Dakota Division of Juvenile Services: https://docr.nd.gov/division-juvenile-services
North Dakota Human Services Center Regions: https://www.nd.gov/dhs/locations/regionalhsc/
Substance Abuse Treatment Program Providers: https://www.nd.gov/dhs/services/mentalhealth/
State Bar Association of North Dakota, Brochure on Graduating into an Adult World: https://www.sband.org/page/graduating_into_an_adult_world
What is Juvenile Court?
Established in 1911, North Dakota’s juvenile courts are a small subset of the District Courts, but serve many important purposes. The Juvenile Court protects the best interests of children and addresses the unique characteristics and needs of children that come before the court.
The juvenile court handles cases involving:
- Proceedings for the guardianship of a child under Chapter 27-20.1, except the testamentary appointment of a guardian governed by Chapter 30.1-27.
- Children in need of services due to behavior which is adverse to their own well-being (Chapter 27-20.3)
- Children in need of protection or where termination of parental rights is sought (Chapter 27-20.3)
- Children between the ages of 10-17 accused of delinquent acts or behavior which if committed by adult would be considered a crime (Chapter 27-20.4)
- Children who are subject to the interstate compact on juveniles or interstate compact on the placement of children
- Children seeking judicial consent to marriage, employment, enlistment in the armed services or certain medical procedures, but only if consent by the court is required by law.
Following the principles of Balanced and Restorative Justice, the mission of the juvenile court in a delinquency case is to promote public safety, hold juvenile offenders accountable, and increase the capacity of juveniles to contribute productively to their community. Balanced and Restorative Justice is a philosophy, not a program. The philosophy is based on community protection, accountability, and competency development. The goal is to help children learn from their mistakes, and make positive changes that will have them become productive members of their community.
The juvenile courts empower victims, encourage community participation, and support parental responsibility.
How are cases referred to the juvenile court?
Juvenile Court receives the majority of its delinquency referrals from law enforcement agencies. Referrals regarding child in need of protection cases are received from the human service zones. Guardianship of a minor child cases begin with a filing of documents with the local clerk of court.