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

The Future of the Juvenile Court: Promising New Directions
Hon. Leonard P. Edwards


The juvenile court of the future will be a viable, but changed, institution largely because of society's need to hold parents accountable for their children's well-being and youths accountable for their actions. The author describes three current trends in juvenile court which will continue to impact the court in the future. First, more jurisdictions will refine and streamline their court structures, either through better coordination or by creating unified family courts. This will result in better handling and supervision of multiple cases involving the same family. Second, the use of a wide variety of alternative dispute resolution techniques will grow, and the court will assume a monitoring and oversight function over these mediated agreements. Third, private and voluntary efforts will be utilized to assist the court in providing services to children and families, as well as to mobilize communitywide efforts on behalf of children. Ideally, the juvenile court of the future will place itself squarely in the community and work with others concerned about the well-being of children and families to provide an appropriate and meaningful response to each child who comes within the court's purview.