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Journal Issue: The Juvenile Court Volume 6 Number 3 Winter 1996

The Nature of the Court Today
H. Ted Rubin


This article surveys the current landscape of the juvenile court. The original concept of this court, when implemented by state legislatures, took different organizational forms. The length of judges' assignments to this court varies as does the extent of their specialization. These courts differ from one another in numerous ways such as the minimum and maximum ages of their delinquency jurisdictions, the types of cases they are authorized to hear in addition to delinquency and child abuse and neglect, the extent to which referees or quasi-judicial hearing officers hear cases, whether or not the juvenile probation department is administered by the court, and the individual practices that constitute particular court cultures. Today change in one form or another is common to all juvenile courts as this institution adapts to contend with the delinquent behavior of young people and with the failures of adults responsible for the well-being of their children.