While juvenile justice by name is child-oriented, this
does not mean that the care of child suspects and juvenile delinquents should
come at the expense of the rest of the State. Thus, a Department of Juvenile Justice is bound to
place the safety of the public on a par with the welfare of the child and
include the protection of both populations as points of paramount importance in
their official missions. Besides, just within the spectrum of juvenile justice,
enforcement of the laws should obviously not come at the expense of the child.
State departments are committed to delinquency prevention as well as
delinquency detention and want to see children grow into self-sufficient adults.
That said, a State Department of Juvenile Justice is certainly in
charge of administering the law and any functions subsequent to adjudication.
In all, juvenile justice departments are responsible for processing complaints
against offenders from the public, taking children into temporary custody in
anticipation of court proceedings, overseeing first appearances (notification of charges), adjudication and disposition
hearings (deciding what to do with the guilty child), and committing to
a plan of action for the child moving forward, such as youth detention,
probation, or supervised residence.