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This bill would establish an alternative to adjudication for
certain juvenile offenders. If this bill passes, and if a person is conducting
a preliminary investigation that finds that it is appropriate to refer the
child to a resource coordination group, or a local-level interagency staffing
group, or some other community juvenile service provider, the person may do so.
To qualify for these services as an alternative to adjudication, the child must
be younger than 12 years old, and there must be probable cause to establish
that the child engaged in unlawful behavior, or some behavior that warrants
supervision. In addition, the delinquent behavior must be eligible for deferred
prosecution, and there would have to be a determination made that the child or
the child’s family would benefit from receiving these services.
This bill would also add a section to the family code related to services provided to certain children and families. If passed, upon referral from a person conducting a preliminary investigation, a community juvenile services provider, or a community resource coordination group, or a local-level interagency staffing group may evaluate the child’s case and make recommendations on the appropriate services for the child and their family. The probation officer would be required to create and coordinate a service plan for this child and the child’s family, and the family must consent to the services. The probation officer would be allowed to hold the child’s case open for three months to monitor adherence to the service plan, and they would have the authority to adjust the plan as necessary.
Finally, this bill would require the juvenile board to establish policies for the diversion program, and would seek to limit the detention of children younger than 12 years old.