JD Diversion/Probation and PINS

Our Juvenile Delinquent Officer and our Persons In Need of Supervision Officers both have slightly different roles. Let us start with our Juvenile Delinquent Officer. A juvenile delinquent is defined under Article 3 of the Family Court Act as any person between the ages of 7 and 15 years old, who committed an act, which if they were an adult would be a crime. When our JD officer receives a JD ticket from a police officer, they will set up an interview with the child and their parents. The officer has the option to divert the JD case from going to family court and to try and change the respondent’s behavior through diversion services by developing and implementing a case plan. JD diversion services can run from 2-4 months and case plans can include office visits, home visits, substance abuse treatment, a Youth Court hearing and sentence, family counseling or other treatment. If the case is not appropriate for diversion from the start, or diversion is tried and fails to change the child’s behavior, then the officer can send the case directly to the Family Court to be heard by a Family Court Judge. The judge can then order the child to be placed on probation supervision with specific probation terms influencing law abiding behavior.

Persons In Need of Supervision is defined under Family Court Act Article 7 and is defined as a person under the age of 18 who is found to be incorrigible, ungovernable or habitually disobedient beyond the lawful control of a parent or other authority. So, a PINS case is not necessarily breaking any laws, they are just not following certain rules. Recent NYS legislation mandates that all PINS referral cases need to attempt a PINS Diversion Program before going to family court. The PINS Diversion program in Schuyler County is run through the Families First Program located at the Schuyler County Youth Bureau, but gets operational oversight through the Department of Social Services. Much like a JD case, when a PINS diversion case is referred, the child and parents meet with a caseworker to develop goals and a case plan to try and change the child’s unfavorable behavior. A case plan could include family counseling, substance abuse treatment, attending school, obtaining a job or anything that might benefit the child. PINS diversion has no timeline and can run until the child turns 18 years old. If PINS diversion fails to influence acceptable behavior in the child, then the child can be referred to the family court to see a judge. The judge would review the case and make a ruling on what to do with the child.

Once referred to Family Court, both a JD case and a PINS case can be ordered onto probation supervision for 1 year, with a one year extension if needed. The probation department would meet with the respondent and parents or legal guardians to develop another case plan according to the terms of probation issued by the court. If the child did not comply with the court orders and their behavior did not change, then probation could file a violation and recommend electronic home monitoring, an extended period of probation or placement in a detention facility.