Frequently Asked Questions

​​​​Can anybody send their kids to the correctional centers?

Youth must have a court order, signed by a judge, committing them to the Department as a result of criminal behavior for which they have been convicted.

Why do ‘you’ give these kids so many chances?

With the exception of very serious offenses, both the juvenile and adult justice systems generally give offenders an opportunity to demonstrate that they can learn from their mistake. These chances are usually combined with probation supervision to ensure the safety of the community and services to help the person overcome whatever deficits they may have, such as substance abuse, job training, etc.

Why does the Probation Officer make my child have his blood drawn for DNA?

Virginia law requires that any person 14 years of age or older, convicted of a felony or a charge that would be a felony if committed by an adult, submit a DNA sample.

Why does there have to be a separate system for juvenile and adults?

The juvenile court movement started in the United States in the early 1900’s. This was a time when similar movements governing child labor, child abuse and neglect, etc., were popular. The movement for juvenile courts was established by persons who believed that children to be treated differently than adults because they did not possess the same level of knowledge and maturity as adults; thus, they should not be held to the same legal standards as adults.

When kids get committed to the Department of Juvenile Justice, how long do they have to stay?

This depends on the type of commitment the juvenile received. If indeterminately committed by the Judge, the juvenile's length of stay (LOS) can be 3 months to a maximum 36 months. An estimated LOS will be projected at the Reception & Diagnostic Center; however, the actual time spent incarcerated depends on several factors, including completion of treatment, good behavior, placement plan for transition back to the community, etc. If determinately committed, the Judge will determine when the juvenile is released; however, no juvenile can be held in a juvenile correctional facility past their 21st birthday.

How long will I be on probation?

There is no definite time period for being placed on probation. Your adjustment to probation will help determine the length of probation. A positive attitude along with following rules and being a responsible, law-abiding citizen will result in a shorter probation period.

Can I leave the state while on probation?

You may be able to leave the state with your probation officer's permission prior to your departure. You must let your probation officer know where you are going, who you will be with, how long you will be there, why you will be gone, etc. and the probation officer will let you know if your visit is approved for out of state travel.

What's the difference between probation and parole?

The Judge places a juvenile on probation for an offense to give the juvenile the opportunity to change the behavior causing the problem thus keeping the juvenile out of further trouble. Parole supervision is similar to probation where rules and regulations are concerned. However, parole supervision follows incarceration in a juvenile correctional center.

Do they have school in the juvenile correctional centers?

Unless a youth already has a high school diploma or GED or has been excused from the compulsory school attendance law, all juveniles attend school for a minimum of five and one-half hours each day. The Department of Correctional Education operates all schools in our juvenile facilities.

Will mental health services be provided for my child if he is committed?

Each youth receives a mental health screening at the Reception & Diagnostic Center when committed to the Department. If it is determined that there is a need for mental health services, the youth becomes an active case with the Behavioral Services Unit (BSU). Each correctional center has permanently assigned BSU clinical staff responsible for the mental health services of the youth in the centers. Additionally, each center has contract services of a board certified psychiatrist.

Who provides medical and dental treatment for my child while they are in a correctional center?

Each youth receives a medical and dental screening when admitted to the juvenile correctional center, and plans of care are developed during this admission process. This plan is combined with a continuous assessment of medical and dental needs by a cadre of professional nurses at each center who function in a collaborative role with the medical and dental staff providing care to youth. Medical care is provided by a staff of board certified physicians, certified nurse practitioners and professional nurses. Dental care is provided by professional dentists assisted by dental assistants. Medical and dental care which is beyond the scope of that provided in the centers is referred to community medical and dental providers.

How old do you have to be to be put in a juvenile correctional center?

You must be at least 11 years of age and you cannot stay past your 21 birthday.

How can I get custody or visitation with my kids?

Call the Intake Office of the Court Service Unit in the city or county which is the home for the child at the time of the filing of the petition or had been the home of the child within six months before the filing of the petition. They will guide you through the process.

Who is a person with a ‘legitimate’ interest as related to suits affecting children?”

This term is broadly construed to accommodate the best interest of the child. It includes, but is not limited to grandparents, stepparents, former stepparents, blood relatives and family members provided any such party has intervened in the suit or is otherwise properly before the court. A party with a legitimate interest shall not include any person whose parental rights have been involuntarily terminated by court order if the child has been legally adopted, or who has been convicted of rape or incest when the child who is the subject of the petition was conceived as a result of such violation.

Where do I go to get child support?

Call the Intake Office of the Court Service Unit in the city or county where either party resides or in the city or county where the respondent is present when the proceedings commence. An Intake Officer will assist you in completing the necessary paperwork.

How can I obtain VJCCCA Funding for my program?

VJCCCA (Virginia Juvenile Community Crime Control Act) funding goes to each locality (or groups of localities that have chosen to combine their funds). The locality designates who will develop and manage the required local plan for expending VJCCCA funding. To have a program funded, it must be included in the locality’s plan and the plan must be approved by the Board of Juvenile Justice or their designee.

Who does VJCCCA serve?

VJCCCA funding may only be used to serve youth who are before intake or the court on charges alleging CHINS (Child In Need of Services), CHINSUP (Child In Need of Supervision) or delinquency. It may not be used for custody, domestic relations, or traffic offenses that do not rise to the level of misdemeanors or felonies.

What is the difference between a detention center and a juvenile correctional center?

Detention is used primarily for juveniles who are awaiting action of the court or transfer to a juvenile correctional facility. They usually stay in detention less than 21 days. Some detention centers have specialized programs so that juveniles may stay up to six months, serving a sentence that the Judge has imposed. Juvenile correctional centers house juveniles who have been committed to the Department of Juvenile Justice by a Judge. These youth have been found to have committed a felony or four misdemeanors. Unless committed by the Judge on a determinate commitment, juveniles cannot remain in a juvenile correctional center longer than 36 months on an indeterminate commitment.

​Where are your detention centers located?

The Department of Juvenile Justice only operates one juvenile detention center which is located at the Culpeper Juvenile Correctional Center. (Refer to DJJ Website - Community Operations - Secure Detention - Detention Home Directory for a complete listing.)

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