Juvenile Court serves the public by hearing all cases originating in Fulton County involving allegations of dependency of children under the age of 18, children in need of services under the age of 18, and delinquency and traffic violations concerning children under the age of 17. The court is organized pursuant to Title 15, Chapter 11 of the Official Code of Georgia. Fulton County Juvenile Court is the largest juvenile court in Georgia and amongst the largest in the Southeastern United States.
The mission of Fulton County Juvenile Court is: first, to protect children and the community in matters brought before the court, to rehabilitate children, and to restore families; and second, to create opportunities for the community, partners, and stakeholders to actively engage in this mission.
The Juvenile Court’s Role
According to O.C.G.A. 15-11-1, the Juvenile Court’s main job is to make sure that every child under its care gets the help and support they need. This means helping them feel good emotionally, mentally, and physically, and also making sure they stay safe, along with the community.
Lawmakers want Juvenile Court to do a few things: keep the community safe, make sure youth take responsibility if they break the law, help them get better, and teach them how to be good and responsible citizens. They also want to make sure that if a child is taken away from home, it is only done when it’s necessary to keep the child safe and happy.
Whenever there’s a case, the Court wants to make sure that everyone involved is treated fairly, just like the laws of the United States and Georgia say. They care about making sure children and their parents or guardians get a fair chance to speak up and have their rights protected.
The most important thing for the state is to make sure that all decisions are made in the best interests of the children.
Juvenile Court Services
In keeping with its mission and mandates from both Fulton County and the State of Georgia, Fulton County Juvenile Court provides the following services:
Juvenile Court Divisions and Departments
Juvenile Court has two primary organizational divisions which work in concert to serve the court’s mission. They are as follows:
Juvenile Court Judiciary
Chief Presiding Judge Renata D. Turner leads the Judiciary and directs the operations of Fulton County Juvenile Court.
The Fulton County Juvenile Court is comprised of seven presiding judges, Chief Judge Renata D. Turner, Judge Juliette W. Scales, Judge Christopher W. Yokom, Judge Phillip Jackson, Judge Coy J. Johnson Jr., Judge T. Natasha Crawford, and one current vacancy.
The Judiciary presides over hearings which are mandated by law to determine the existence of probable cause, the necessity for detention, adjudication (legal ruling or judgment) and disposition of delinquency, dependency, children in need of services, and traffic offenses; grants legitimations, guardianships, sealing records, permission to marry and join the military, or to determine parent notification of a minor’s intention to seek an abortion; and judicial reviews of children who are placed in foster care.
Juvenile Court Administration
Court Administration for Juvenile Court provides management of the following:
- Annual budget
- Personnel administration
- Procurement of goods and services
- Contracts and grants
- Physical facility
- Electronic data
- Information systems
- Intergovernmental and community relations