Welcome to the Council of Juvenile Court Judges of Georgia Website
I want to take the opportunity to welcome you to the Council of Juvenile Court Judges’ website. This website allows you to seek and gather a great deal of information about the work that the juvenile court judges of the State of Georgia do to assist the families and children of this state who become involved with our courts.
The Georgia Juvenile Code, which was completely rewritten and became effective January 1, 2014, provides in Official Code of Georgia §15-11-1: “The purpose of this chapter is to secure for each child who comes within the jurisdiction of the juvenile court such care and guidance, preferably in his or her own home, as will secure his or her moral, emotional, mental, and physical welfare as well as the safety of both the child and community. It is the intent of the General Assembly to promote a juvenile justice system that will protect the community, impose accountability for violations of law, provide treatment and rehabilitation, and equip juvenile offenders with the ability to live responsibly and productively. It is the intent of the General Assembly to preserve and strengthen family relationships, countenancing the removal of a child from his or her home only when state intervention is essential to protect such child and enable him or her to live in security and stability. In every proceeding, this chapter seeks to guarantee due process of law, as required by the Constitutions of the United States and the State of Georgia, through which every child and his or her parent and all other interested parties are assured fair hearings at which legal rights are recognized and enforced. Above all, this chapter shall be liberally construed to reflect that the paramount child welfare policy of this state is to determine and ensure the best interests of its children.”
The juvenile courts of Georgia have jurisdiction over many issues related to the best interests of children of this state, including but not limited to dependency, termination of parental rights, delinquency, children in need of services, competency in delinquency or child in need of services cases, the Parental Notification Act and emancipation. In carrying out this statutory mission, State agencies such as the Department of Family and Children Services and Department of Juvenile Justice are often involved. In addition, juvenile courts work in collaboration with local school districts, district attorneys’ offices, public defenders’ offices, mental health providers, and stakeholders in the community to provide the services, supervision, resources and representation as required by statute.
The judges of the juvenile courts in Georgia also preside over accountability courts which are established in many jurisdictions to provide intensive judicial supervision and oversight of substance abuse rehabilitation of juveniles, parent substance abuse which results in removal of their children and even mental health issues which results in the dependency of minor children. The goal of these accountability courts is the rehabilitation of juvenile delinquent conduct and the reunification of parents and children.
The Council of Juvenile Court Judges is governed by an executive committee which is comprised of six (6) executive officers elected by the members of the Council and ten (10) district representatives selected to represent the juvenile court judges of each judicial district in the state. Judges throughout the state serve on numerous standing committees and Council staff, which is led by our executive director, fulfills the administrative functions of the Council.
Thank you for your interest in the juvenile court of Georgia and the work that they do.
Honorable James R. Whitfield
Judge, Juvenile Court of Cobb County