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July 2012Vol. 13, No. 6A Caregiver's Guide to the Juvenile Court System

"How a Child Enters the Juvenile Court System," a chapter in Wyoming's Department of Family Service's Handbook For Foster and Relative Caregivers, helps foster and relative caregivers navigate the juvenile justice system. The manual provides information and tips on a range of topics, from how a child initially enters the juvenile court system to the roles and responsibilities of system stakeholders such as judges, attorneys, caseworkers, doctors, caregivers, and others.

The first section delineates the three reasons a child or youth enters the juvenile justice system—abuse and/or neglect, delinquency, and child in need of supervision (CHINS)—and explains court procedures for each path of entry. To help caregivers understand the court's processes and fully understand the role of everyone involved in the case, the guide explains the roles and responsibilities of 18 different stakeholders. This section also provides links to information and applications for children's mental health waivers and child developmental disabilities home- and community-based waivers.

Other sections of the chapter include:

  • The legal requirements of confidentiality in juvenile court
  • The laws regarding mandatory reporting and the responsibilities of foster and relative caregivers
  • The definition of reasonable efforts and the State's statute regarding the nine instances where reasonable efforts are not required
  • The definition and components of a family service plan as developed by the Department of Family Service
  • The hearing process and a step-by-step explanation of each type of court hearing

"How a Child Enters the Juvenile Court System" was produced by the Children's Justice Project, a project of the Wyoming Supreme Court, and is available on the Wyoming Supreme Court website: (3 MB)