Intake services are provided 24 hours a day at each of the 35 court service units (CSUs) across the state. The intake officer on duty, or on-call after business hours, has the authority to receive, review, and process complaints. Based on the information gathered, a determination is made whether a petition should be filed with the juvenile court and, if so, whether the juvenile should be released to the parents or detained pending a court hearing. The agency provides diversion and referral to other community resources to first-time offenders. The Juvenile Justice Process describes the steps in the Virginia Justice System.
Investigations and Reports
Social histories make up the majority of the reports that CSU personnel complete. These court-ordered investigations describe the social adjustment of the youth before the court and provide timely, relevant, and accurate data. This information helps the court select the most appropriate disposition for the case and provides the basis for the CSU to develop appropriate services for the juvenile and the family. Other reports and investigations completed by CSU personnel include case summaries to the Family Assessment and Planning Teams, commitment packets for the Reception and Diagnostic Center, interstate compact reports, transfer reports, parole transition reports, ongoing case documentation, and transitional services referral packets.
In addition to handling delinquency and Child in Need of Service/Supervision complaints, CSUs provide intake services for domestic relations complaints. These complaints include non-support, family abuse, adjudication of custody (permanent and temporary), abuse and neglect, termination of parental rights, visitation rights, paternity, and emancipation. In some CSUs, services such as treatment referral, supervision, and counseling are provided in adult cases of domestic violence.
Although the majority of custody investigations for the court are performed by the local Department of Social Services' staff, some CSUs also perform investigations to provide recommendations to the court on parental custody and visitation based on the best interests of the youth and defined criteria in the Virginia Code. The investigation includes an extensive review of the home environment and background of the youth's parents or caretakers, including any individuals living in the home, and the role and relationship of the parents and caretakers of the child.
The most frequently used disposition for those juveniles adjudicated guilty of a charge filed against them is probation supervision. Virginia juvenile probation strives to achieve a "balanced approach." This approach focuses on the principles of community protection (public safety), accountability, and competency development.
Upon release from the Department's JCCs or private placement, offenders are provided parole services to assist in the transition back to the community. Parole officers are assigned to offenders to provide case management services, broker appropriate transitional services, and monitor the offender's adjustment to the communities. Juveniles may receive family and individual counseling, referral to other community services, vocational services, or specialized educational services.