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P.I.N.S. / Juvenile Justice

What is Juvenile Justice?

A Juvenile Justice (formally PINS (Person in Need of Supervision)) is a child under the age of 18 who is habitually truant from school and/or uncontrollable at home/school/community.  Common behaviors include:

  • Runaway Behavior
  • Serious pattern of disobedience
  • Physical/verbal abuse of parents
  • Truancy

For more information on the Juvenile Justice Law, please click on the link below:

http://ocfs.ny.gov/main/legal/legislation/Juvenile Justice/

What is the Goal of Juvenile Justice?

The goal of the Juvenile Justice process is to provide services to support the child and family to deter problematic behaviors in children without court involvement.  The Juvenile Justice law requires that the County provide an avenue for parents and schools to have access to programs and services in a timely manner to address Juvenile Justice behavior.  Juvenile Justice is a process that involves a series of community supports to assist families and youth. 

How Do I Start the Juvenile Justice Process?

Onondaga County’s ACCESS Team, which is a multi-disciplinary team, that includes Social Services, Probation, Parent Support Partners and practitioners, is the lead agency when it comes to assisting parents and schools with issues relating to their child.  We encourage parents to contact the ACCESS Team directly to begin seeking services.  You can contact ACCESS at 315-463-1100.

What Happens When I Contact ACCESS?

Parents who contact the ACCESS line should be willing to:

  • Participate in an assessment to see what challenges exist and what services are available
  • Willingly participate in programs and services that they are referred to
  • Provide documentation of any/all previous attempts to provide services or interventions for your child.
  • Ask questions. The ACCESS Team is there to be a support to the family and prevent having to use detention and/or placement where community solutions are available.


What Happens if my Child Continues to Refuse Services?

The assigned ACCESS Team member you are assigned is there to help you.  Since Juvenile Justice legislation requires the parent or school to show diligent efforts have been made, ACCESS will assist you in making a referral to the Probation Department to open a Juvenile Justice Diversion on the youth if necessary.  ACCESS will ask parents to sign an information release to share the assessment and program referral information that was completed with ACCESS Team and then send the referral to the Probation Department.  Once approved, parents should be contacted by the Probation Department within 72 hours to schedule an intake.

What if My Child is Missing or Keeps Running Away?

If your child has been missing for more than 24 hours, you should contact the Probation Department at 435-2321 and ask to talk to the Juvenile Justice Screener.  You can also show up at Probation from the hours of 9AM-12PM, or 2PM – 4PM (Monday-Friday) to talk to a Probation Officer directly about your missing child.  If your child is missing, please make sure you have taken the following steps:

  • Contacted local law enforcement and filed a missing persons report.  PLEASE GET A COPY OF THE ARREST REPORT # as proof as you will be asked for it by Probation.
  • Made attempts to see if your child is still attending school and looked to see if they are with family or friends


Once you have filed the missing persons report and your child has returned home, please notify the Probation Department by calling 435-2321 and we will open a Juvenile Justice Diversion case on the youth and complete a Probation intake with the youth within 72 hours.  Should the youth run away again before that appointment, parents should contact the Probation Department to gain access to court and have a warrant issued for their child.


I am a school staff member and we have a youth not going to school and want a Juvenile Justice, what do we do?

The Juvenile Justice law requires that a school district follow the same exhaustive efforts with youth and families in addressing the problem before making a referral to the Probation Department to begin diversion services. Exhaustive efforts include:  scheduled meetings with the family (more than one), home visits and referrals to outside agencies or programs.  Each of these efforts must be documented with dates and times.    

Starting in 2014, it will be required that all School Districts file an annual Juvenile Justice Truancy Plan that outlines the program and service interventions and system for referring of Juvenile Justice Diversion Services. Each school district will also be required to have a single point of contact for Juvenile Justice referrals in order to ensure all schools in the district are following the same process before filing.

In addition, we encourage all schools to educate parents about the ACCESS team and how they may utilize them to assist in programs and services that may help the situation. 

What happens when a child is placed on Probation Diversion?

Because the law requires that exhaustive attempts be made before a petitioner can be provided access to Family Court, once a child is referred to the Probation Department for Diversion, the youth can expect:

  • Full Probation Intake and Assessment
  • Higher level of monitoring of compliance with the diversion agreement 
  • If appropriate, higher level services may be put in place including Special Supervision and Enhanced Supervision Programs
  • Continued access to community based programs and services


Diversion services can take 3-6 months before there is any sustained improvement in behavior.  Parents and/or schools are required to participate during this diversion phase as assessments are completed and services are engaged.  Parents and school staff should note that this timeline is only changed if the youth becomes a danger to themselves or others in the community.

What Happens when Diversion is Unsuccessful?

When all attempts to work with the child have been exhausted and the behaviors continue, the Probation Department will provide the parent or school with access to the Family Court to file their petition.  At that time the Court will decide the following:

  • Has the petitioner (parent or school) met the requirements of the Juvenile Justice law and can “clearly document diligent attempts to provide appropriate services to youth”
  • Does the youth meet the burden for non-secure detention? Detention is used primarily for those youth who are risk of continuing dangerous behavior or are at-risk to not appearing in court
  • Are there enough facts to proceed to adjudication or should the youth be given more time with Probation and have both parties report back to court at a date and time determined by the judge.





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