Morrow County, OHIO

Juvenile Division

The Juvenile Division of the Morrow County Court of Common Pleas is responsible for handling cases or matters brought before the Court in the following categories: Delinquency, Unruliness, Abuse, Neglect, Dependency, Paternity, Custody, and limited cases involving adults charged with contributing to the delinquency and/or unruliness of minors.

Historically, a movement began in this country in the last 1800s or the early 1900s to treat the youth in our society slightly differently than the adults in matters involving youth and the Court system. Initially, the approach was to provide a forum to deal with juveniles violating the criminal laws.

The Juvenile Court system offers individuals who are involved in matters for which the Court has jurisdiction and particularly those under the age of 18 to be rehabilitated without having a lasting black mark on their record as they move into adulthood. The bottom line for the Court is to do what is in the best interest of the juvenile in most instances.

Juvenile Courts mainly hear cases involving persons less than 18 years of age charged with acts that would be crimes if committed by an adult. These are called delinquency cases. They also hear cases involving unruly, dependant, neglected and abused children. Juvenile Courts have jurisdiction in Adult cases involving paternity, child abuse, non-support, contributing to the delinquency of minors, and the failure to send children to school. The Morrow County Juvenile Court System works closely in conjunction with the Domestic Relations Division of the Morrow County Court of Common Pleas in that both of the Magistrates employed by the Court hear juvenile cases as well as domestic relations cases assigned to them by the Court. There are two other status offenses which are not indicated above and they are juvenile traffic offenders and juvenile tobacco offenders. Again, all of these cases are heard by either the Judge or Magistrates, as assigned and as scheduled in such a way that the cases come on as soon as possible for initial appearance and there after to be processed through the Court's system in as timely a manner as possible. For those who have been reading these article, this is the third in a series of article, which are being presented to the citizens of Morrow County by the Common Pleas Court, in an effort to educate the citizens on the court system. The primary effort in dealing with juveniles is rehabilitation, although punishment, just as with adult criminal offenders, sometimes comes into play. However, as you can see from what is set forth above, the Court deals with a wide array of involvement with juveniles, not limited to what one may think if just considering those cases which are most newsworthy. Similarly, the delinquency cases are extremely important. However, all juvenile cases can be serious and require time and attention by court personnel, not limited to Judges and Magistrates. For instance, if a juvenile is placed on probation, the Juvenile Probation Officers are required to follow the Court's orders regarding supervision of juveniles placed on Community Control Sanctions or Probation. The Court has two Juvenile Probation Officers, both whom are paid by a grant from the Department of Youth Services for the State of Ohio. When it comes to the funding for the Morrow County Juvenile Court, the Department of Youth Services for the State of Ohio does provide funding in what is called "Reclaim Ohio," a grant program which offers what is called base grant money and variable grant money. Every County in the State receives money based upon a formula which has been adopted by the Department of Youth Services. The variable grant is designed to be an incentive to the counties to take care of local problems locally, as much as possible, by allowing the Counties to keep all of the money if they do not have to send juveniles to the Department of Youth Services. There are some juveniles who must be sent to the Department of Youth Services and most serious crimes would not be involved in this formula since they would be safety beds and are designed to take those juveniles out of society, who must be out of society due to the very serious offense which they had committed. The trend in Ohio, both for the Juvenile Courts dealing with delinquent children and for the adults who commit serious criminal offenses is to take care of local problems locally as much as possible and to send only the most serious and violent offenders to the State Penal Institutions. The Department of Youth Services runs and operates what is in essence, a prison system for the youth.