HB 1204

85(R) - 2017
House Juvenile Justice & Family Issues
Senate Criminal Justice
House Juvenile Justice & Family Issues
Senate Criminal Justice
Health & Human Services
Juvenile Justice

Vote Recommendation

  • Neutral
  • Neutral
  • Neutral
  • Positive
  • Neutral


James White


Royce West

Bill Caption

Relating to the provision of services as an alternative to adjudication for certain children who engage in conduct in need of supervision or delinquent conduct.

Fiscal Notes

No significant fiscal implication to the State is anticipated.

Bill Analysis

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.  

Vote Recommendation Notes

The stakes are particularly high for juvenile offenders. Since children are more impressionable than adults, sentencing youth to ineffective and inappropriate programs could have negative consequences for the rest of their lives. Due to the long life ahead of them, the state needs to ensure that juvenile offenders do not become a lifetime drain of resources. In general, we support the use of alternatives to incarceration and diversion courts, but especially when they pertain to impressionable youth. For this bill's role in fulfilling a core function of government and reducing long terms costs we support HB 1204. 

Organizations Supporting

Texans Care for Children
Texas Public Policy Foundation