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What is a status offense in Virginia?

In Virginia, there are two types of petitions for status offenses in juvenile cases. These are Child in Need of Services and Child in Need of Supervision. Anyone who is going through the juvenile justice in the state should understand the differences between these two types of petitions.

What is a status offense?

A status offense is something that isn't against the law for adults, but isn't allowed for juveniles. Some examples of a status offense include violating curfew, running away or being truant. In all of these cases, the parents can request help from the juvenile court.

What is a Child in Need of Services?

A Child in Need of Services is a child who poses a risk to him- or herself or another person. The family and child mustn't be receiving the help they need from another source. Additionally, the court's intervention into the situation is the way that services can be provided to the child. It is important to note that there are exceptions to this category. A child who is taking part in religious treatment for a problem under the tenants of a recognized denomination and children who are acting out in response to an abusive home don't fall under this category based on those facts alone.

What is a Child in Need of Supervision?

A Child in Need of Supervision is a child who isn't attending school as required. It can also apply to children who aren't participating in required services and those who run away from home. Other situations might also apply to this category.

Parents who need help for their child on one of these categories can seek help from the juvenile court. In some cases, that petition might be made by another party. Those who are dealing with the juvenile court system should make sure they understand what is happening at hearings so they can respond in an appropriate manner.

Source: Fairfax County, Virginia, "Status Offenses" accessed Feb. 13, 2015

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Ronald E. Smith, P.C.

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