Georgia State Department SB 292 A Must Read


Legislation | House | Senate
Previous Sessions | Georgia Code | State DepartmentsSB 292 – Courts; juvenile
proceedings; revisions
Current VersionPDF VersionSponsored By
(1) Hamrick,Bill 30th(2) Harp,Seth 29th(3) Brown,Robert 26th(4) Ramsey,
Sr.,Ronald 43rd(5) Jones,Emanuel 10th(6) Unterman,Renee 45thand othersCommittees
SC:JUDYHC:Current Status
04/03/09 – Senate Read and ReferredFirst Reader Summary
A BILL to be entitled an Act to amend Title 15 of the Official Code of Georgia
Annotated, relating to courts, so as to substantially revise, supersede, and
modernize provisions relating to juvenile proceedings; to amend Article 1 of
Chapter 5 of Title 49 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, relating to
children and youth services so as to provide for an appeal procedure when the
Division of Family and Children Services of the Department of Human Resources
fails to provide aftercare and transitional services to certain children; to
amend the Official Code of Georgia Annotated so as to conform provisions to the
new Chapter 11 of Title 15 and correct cross-references; to provide for related
matters; to provide for an effective date and applicability; to repeal
conflicting laws; and for other purposes. Status History
Bill HistoryDateAction
04/03/2009Senate Read and Referred
Versions
As introduced LC 28 4814
09

Senate Bill 292
By: Senators Hamrick of the 30th, Harp of the 29th, Brown of the 26th, Ramsey,
Sr. of the 43rd, Jones of the 10th and others

A BILL TO BE ENTITLED
AN ACT

To amend Title 15 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, relating to courts,
so as to substantially revise, supersede, and modernize provisions relating to
juvenile proceedings; to provide for purpose statements; to provide for
definitions; to provide for general provisions; to provide for juvenile court
administration; to provide for deprivation proceedings; to provide for venue; to
provide for taking children into care; to provide for preliminary protective
hearings; to provide for petitions alleging deprivation; to provide for summons
and service; to provide for preadjudication procedures; to provide for
adjudication; to provide for predisposition social study; to provide for family
reunification determinations; to provide for disposition of deprived children;
to provide for permanency plan hearings for deprived children; to provide for
permanent guardianship; to provide for termination of parental rights; to
provide for petitions to terminate parental rights and summons; to provide for
hearings on such petitions; to provide for grounds for terminating parental
rights; to provide for disposition of children whose parental rights have been
terminated; to provide for independent living services; to provide for children
in need of services; to provide for informal procedures for children in need of
services; to provide for formal court proceedings for children in need of
services; to provide for preadjudication custody and release of children in need
of services; to provide for a petition seeking an adjudication that a child is
in need of services and summons; to provide for adjudication, disposition, and
reviews; to provide for a permanency plan for children in need of services; to
provide for mental health issues; to provide for delinquency; to provide for
custody and release of a child; to provide for intake or arraignment; to provide
for informal adjustment; to provide for a petition alleging delinquency and
summons; to provide for preadjudication procedures for delinquency proceedings;
to provide for transfers to superior court; to provide for adjudication of
delinquency; to provide for predisposition investigation; to provide for
disposition hearings for delinquent children; to provide for permanency plans
for delinquent children; to provide for traffic offenses; to provide for
competency in delinquency cases; to provide for parental notification of
abortions; to provide for access to hearings and records; to provide for
emancipation of minors; to provide for the Office of the Child Advocate for the
Protection of Children; to amend Article 1 of Chapter 5 of Title 49 of the
Official Code of Georgia Annotated, relating to children and youth services so
as to provide for an appeal procedure when the Division of Family and Children
Services of the Department of Human Resources fails to provide aftercare and
transitional services to certain children; to provide for the Department of
Human Resources to provide for performance measures for an independent living
skills program; to amend the Official Code of Georgia Annotated so as to conform
provisions to the new Chapter 11 of Title 15 and correct cross-references; to
provide for related matters; to provide for an effective date and applicability;
to repeal conflicting laws; and for other purposes.

BE IT ENACTED BY THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF GEORGIA:

SECTION 1.Chapter 11 of Title 15 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated,
relating to juvenile proceedings, is amended by revising said chapter in its
entirety as follows:

“CHAPTER 11
ARTICLE 1

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 the child’s 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 competencies 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
the 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 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.

15-11-2.As used in this chapter, the term:(1) ‘Abandonment’ or ‘abandoned’ means
any conduct on the part of a parent, guardian, or legal custodian showing an
intent to forgo parental duties or relinquish parental claims. Intent may be
evidenced by:(A) Failure, for a period of at least six months, to communicate
meaningfully with a child;(B) Failure, for a period of at least six months, to
maintain regular visitation with a child;(C) Leaving a child with another person
without provision for the child’s support for a period of at least six
months;(D) Failure, for a period of at least six months, to participate in any
plan or program designed to reunite the parent, guardian, or legal custodian
with a child;(E) Leaving a child without affording means of identifying the
child or the parent, guardian, or legal custodian and:(i) The identity of the
parent, guardian, or legal custodian cannot be ascertained despite diligent
searching; and(ii) The parent, guardian, or legal custodian has not come forward
to claim the child within three months following the finding of the child;(F)
Being absent from the home for a period of time that creates a substantial risk
of serious harm to a child left in the home;(G) Failure to respond, for a period
of at least six months, to notice of child protective proceedings; or(H) Any
other conduct indicating an intent to forgo parental duties or relinquish
parental claims.(2) ‘Abuse’ means:(A) Any nonaccidental physical injury or
physical injury which is inconsistent with the explanation given for it suffered
by a child as the result of the acts or omissions of a person responsible for
the care of the child;(B) Emotional abuse;(C) Sexual abuse or sexual
exploitation;(D) Prenatal abuse; or(E) The commission of an act of family
violence as defined in Code Section 19-13-1 in the presence of a child. An act
includes a single act, multiple acts, or a continuing course of conduct. As used
in this subparagraph, the term ‘presence’ means physically present or able to
see or hear.(3) ‘Adult’ means any individual who is not a child as defined in
paragraph (10) of this Code section.(4) ‘Affiliate court appointed special
advocate program’ means a locally operated program operating with the approval
of the local juvenile court which screens, trains, and supervises volunteers to
advocate for the best interests of an abused and neglected child in deprivation
proceedings.(5) ‘Aggravated circumstances’ means the parent has:(A) Abandoned an
infant;(B) Attempted, conspired to attempt, or has subjected a child or a
sibling of the child to great bodily harm;(C) Attempted, conspired to attempt,
or has subjected a child or a sibling of the child to torture, chronic abuse,
sexual abuse, or sexual exploitation; or(D) Committed the murder of the other
parent of a child.(6) ‘Biological father’ means the male who impregnated the
biological mother resulting in the birth of the child.(7) ‘Business day’ means
Mondays through Fridays and shall not include weekends or legal holidays.(8)
‘Caregiver’ means any person providing a residence for a child or any person
legally obligated to provide or secure adequate care for a child, including a
parent, guardian, or legal custodian.(9) ‘Case plan’ means a plan which is
designed to ensure that a child receives protection, proper care, and case
management and may include services for the child, the child’s parent, guardian,
or legal custodian, and other caregivers.(10) ‘Child’ means any individual who
is:(A) Under the age of 18 years;(B) Under the age of 17 years if alleged to
have committed a delinquent act;(C) Under the age of 22 years and in the legal
custody of DFCS;(D) Under the age of 23 years and receiving independent living
services through DFCS; or(E) Under the age of 21 years who committed an act of
delinquency before reaching the age of 17 years and who has been placed under
the supervision of the court or on probation to the court for the purpose of
enforcing orders of the court.(11) ‘Child in need of services’ means:(A) A child
who is found to be in need of care, guidance, counseling, structure,
supervision, treatment, or rehabilitation and who is found to be:(i) Subject to
compulsory school attendance and who is habitually and without good and
sufficient cause truant from school;(ii) Habitually disobedient of the
reasonable and lawful commands of his or her parent, guardian, or legal
custodian and is ungovernable or places himself or herself or others in unsafe
circumstances;(iii) A runaway;(iv) A child who has committed an offense
applicable only to a child;(v) A child who wanders or loiters about the streets
of any city or in or about any highway or any public place between the hours of
12:00 Midnight and 5:00 A.M.;(vi) A child who disobeys the terms of supervision
contained in a court order which has been directed to such child who has been
adjudicated a child in need of services;(vii) A child who patronizes any bar
where alcoholic beverages are being sold, unaccompanied by his or her parent,
guardian, or legal custodian, or who possesses alcoholic beverages; or(viii) A
child under the age of 16 who engages in private, unforced, noncommercial acts
of sexual conduct with another child under the age of 16;(B) A child who has
committed a delinquent act and is found to be in need of supervision but not of
treatment or rehabilitation; or(C) A child who is alleged to have committed a
delinquent act and is unrestorably incompetent to stand trial.(12) ‘Community
rehabilitation center’ means a rehabilitation and custodial center established
within a county for the purpose of assisting in the rehabilitation of delinquent
children and children in need of services in a neighborhood and family
environment in cooperation with community educational, medical, and social
agencies. Such center shall:(A) Be located within any county having a juvenile
court presided over by at least one full-time judge exercising jurisdiction
exclusively over juvenile matters; and(B) Be operated by a nonprofit corporation
organized under Chapter 3 of Title 14, the ‘Georgia Nonprofit Corporation Code,’
and have a full-time chief executive officer. The charter, bylaws, and method of
selecting the board of directors and chief executive officer of such nonprofit
corporation shall be subject to the unanimous approval of the chief judge of the
judicial circuit in which the county is located, the judge or judges of the
juvenile court, the superintendent of the county school district, and the
commissioner of juvenile justice, which approval shall be in writing and shall
be appended to the charter and bylaws of the nonprofit organization. Any
amendment of the charter or bylaws of the nonprofit corporation shall be subject
to the same written approval as the original charter and bylaws.(13) ‘Complaint’
is the initial document setting out the circumstances that resulted in the child
being brought before the court.(14) ‘Court’ means the juvenile court or the
court exercising jurisdiction over juvenile matters.(15) ‘Court appointed
special advocate’ or ‘CASA’ means a community volunteer who:(A) Has been
screened and trained regarding deprivation, child development, and juvenile
court proceedings;(B) Has met all the requirements of an affiliate court
appointed special advocate program;(C) Is being actively supervised by an
affiliate court appointed special advocate program; and(D) Has been sworn in by
a judge of the juvenile court in the court or circuit in which he or she wishes
to serve.(16) ‘Criminal justice purposes’ means the performance of any activity
directly involving the investigation, detection, apprehension, detention,
pretrial release, post-trial release, prosecution, adjudication, correctional
supervision, or rehabilitation of children or adults who are accused of,
convicted of, adjudicated of, or charged with crimes, delinquent acts, or the
collection, storage, and dissemination of criminal history record
information.(17) ‘Delinquent act’ means:(A) An act committed by a child
designated a crime by the laws of this state, or by the laws of another state if
the act occurred in that state, under federal laws, or by local ordinance, and
the crime shall not be an offense applicable only to a child or a juvenile
traffic offense;(B) The act of disobeying the terms of supervision contained in
a court order which has been directed to a child who has been adjudged to have
committed a delinquent act; or(C) Failing to appear as required by a citation
issued with regard to a violation of Code Section 3-3-23.(18) ‘Delinquent child’
means a child who has committed a delinquent act and is in need of treatment or
rehabilitation.(19) ‘Department’ means the Department of Human Resources.(20)
‘Deprived child’ means a child who:(A) Has been abused or neglected:(B) Has been
placed for care or adoption in violation of law; or(C) Is without a parent,
guardian, or legal custodian.(21) ‘Designated felony act’ means a delinquent act
committed by a child 14 years of age or older which, if committed by an adult,
would be one or more of the following crimes:(A) Aggravated assault;(B)
Aggravated battery or battery in violation of Code Section 16-5-23.1 if the
victim is a teacher or other school personnel;(C) Aggravated child
molestation;(D) Aggravated sexual battery;(E) Aggravated sodomy;(F) Armed
robbery;(G) Arson in the first or second degree;(H) Attempted murder;(I)
Carrying or possession of a weapon in violation of subsection (b) of Code
Section 16-11-127.1;(J) Conspiracy in violation of Article 4 of Chapter 7 of
Title 16;(K) Escape in violation of Code Section 16-10-52 if the child has
previously been adjudicated to have committed a designated felony;(L) Hijacking
a motor vehicle;(M) Kidnapping or attempted kidnapping;(N) Murder;(O)
Possession, manufacture, or distribution of destructive devices and any other
violation of Code Section 16-7-82 or 16-7-84;(P) Racketeering in violation of
Code Section 16-14-4;(Q) Rape;(R) Robbery;(S) Trafficking of certain controlled
substances in violation of Code Section 16-13-31;(T) Voluntary manslaughter;(U)
Any violation of Code Section 16-15-4;(V) Any subsequent violation of Code
Sections 16-8-2 through 16-8-9, if the property which was the subject of the
theft was a motor vehicle and the child committing the violation has had one or
more separate, prior adjudications of delinquency based upon a violation of Code
Sections 16-8-2 through 16-8-9, provided that the prior adjudications of
delinquency shall not have arisen out of the same transaction or occurrence or
series of events related in time and location;(W) Any subsequent violation of
Code Section 16-7-85 or 16-7-87, if the child committing the violation has had
one or more separate, prior adjudications of delinquency based upon a violation
of Code Section 16-7-85 or 16-7-87, provided that the prior adjudications of
delinquency shall not have arisen out of the same transaction or occurrence or
series of events related in time and location;(X) Any subsequent violation of
subsection (b) of Code Section 16-11-132, if the child committing the violation
has had one or more separate, prior adjudications of delinquency based upon a
violation of subsection (b) of Code Section 16-11-132, provided that the prior
adjudications of delinquency shall not have arisen out of the same transaction
or occurrence or series of events related in time and location; or(Y) Any other
act which, if committed by an adult, would be a felony, if the child committing
the act has three times previously been adjudicated delinquent for acts which,
if committed by an adult, would have been felonies, provided that the prior
adjudications of delinquency shall not have arisen out of the same transaction
or occurrence or series of events related in time and location.(22)
‘Developmental level’ is a child’s ability to understand and communicate, taking
into account such factors as age, mental capacity, level of education, cultural
background, and degree of language acquisition.(23) ‘DFCS’ means the Division of
Family and Children Services of the department.(24) ‘DJJ’ means the Department
of Juvenile Justice.(25) ‘DMHDDAD’ means the Division of Mental Health,
Developmental Disabilities and Addictive Diseases of the department.(26)
‘Eligible shelter care placement’ or ‘eligible shelter care’ means placement in
foster family homes or child care institutions as defined in 42 U.S.C. Section
672(c). Such placement excludes any detention facility or other facility
operated primarily for the purpose of detention of a child adjudicated
delinquent.(27) ‘Emancipation’ means termination of the rights of a parent to
the custody, control, services, and earnings of a child.(28) ‘Emotional abuse’
means any mental injury to a child’s intellectual or psychological capacity as
evidenced by an observable and substantial impairment in a child’s ability to
function within the child’s normal range of performance and behavior as the
result of the acts or omissions of a person responsible for the care of the
child, if the impairment is diagnosed and confirmed by a licensed physician or
mental health professional.(29) ‘Evaluation’ means a comprehensive,
individualized examination of a child by an examiner that may include the
administration of one or more assessment instruments. The purpose of an
evaluation may include diagnosing the type and extent of a child’s behavioral
health disorders and needs, making specific recommendations, and assessing a
child’s legal competencies.(30) ‘Examiner’ means a licensed psychologist or
psychiatrist who has expertise in child development specific to severe or
chronic disability of children attributable to intellectual impairment or mental
illness and has received training in forensic evaluation procedures through
formal instruction, professional supervision, or both.(31) ‘Guardian ad litem’
means an individual, not functioning as an attorney, appointed to assist the
court in determining the best interests of a child.(32) ‘Guardianship order’
means the court judgment that establishes a permanent guardianship and
enumerates a permanent guardian’s rights and responsibilities concerning the
care, custody, and control of a child.(33) ‘Identification data’ means the
fingerprints, name, race, sex, date of birth, and any other unique identifiers
of a child.(34) ‘Imminent danger’ means a determination that present or pending
harm precludes less extreme solutions to the problem. In deprivation cases, such
determination shall be based on the assessment of the following nonexclusive
factors:(A) The severity, regularity, and duration of abuse or neglect to the
child;(B) The strength of the evidence supporting the allegations of abuse or
neglect;(C) The risk that the parent will flee with the child;(D) Any harm to
the child that might result in removal; or(E) The time to obtain a court
order.(35) ‘Incriminating information’ means any information that may directly
or indirectly lead to the conclusion that the person in question has violated
the law, including information that might be a link in an incriminating chain or
provide a lead to other usable evidence.(36) ‘Indigent person’ means a person
who, at the time of requesting an attorney, is unable without undue financial
hardship to provide for full payment of an attorney and all other necessary
expenses for representation. To determine indigence, the court shall follow the
standards set forth in Chapter 12 of Title 17.(37) ‘Informal adjustment’ means
the disposition of case other than by formal adjudication and disposition.(38)
‘Judge’ means the judge of the court exercising jurisdiction over juvenile
matters.(39) ‘Juvenile court intake officer’ means the juvenile court judge,
associate juvenile court judge, court service worker, DJJ staff member serving
as an intake officer, or person employed as a juvenile probation or intake
officer designated by the juvenile court judge or, where there is none, the
superior court judge, which person is on duty for the purpose of determining
whether any child taken into custody should be released or detained and, if
detained, the appropriate place of detention.(40) ‘Legal custodian’ means:(A) A
person to whom legal custody of the child has been given by order of a court;
or(B) A public or private agency or other private organization licensed or
otherwise authorized by law to receive and provide care for a child to which
legal custody of the child has been given by order of a court.(41) ‘Legal
father’ means a male who:(A) Has legally adopted a child;(B) Was married to the
biological mother of that child at the time the child was conceived or was born,
unless such paternity was disproved by a final order pursuant to Article 3 of
Chapter 7 of Title 19;(C) Married the legal mother of the child after the child
was born and recognized the child as his own, unless such paternity was
disproved by a final order pursuant to Article 3 of Chapter 7 of Title 19;(D)
Has been determined to be the father by a final paternity order pursuant to
Article 3 of Chapter 7 of Title 19; or(E) Has legitimated the child by a final
order pursuant to Code Section 19-7-22 or by voluntary acknowledgment of
paternity that has not been rescinded pursuant to Code Section 19-7-46.1and who
has not surrendered or had terminated his rights to the child.(42) ‘Legal
mother’ means the female who is the biological or adoptive mother of the child
and who has not surrendered or had terminated her rights to the child.(43)
‘Mediation’ means the procedure in which a mediator facilitates communication
between the parties concerning the matters in dispute and explores possible
solutions to promote reconciliation, understanding, and settlement.(44)
‘Mediator’ means a neutral third party who attempts to focus the attention of
the parties upon their needs and interests rather than upon their rights and
positions and who lacks the authority to impose any particular agreement upon
the parties or to recommend any particular disposition of the case to the
court.(45) ‘Mentally ill’ means having a disorder of thought or mood which
significantly impairs judgment, behavior, capacity to recognize reality, or
ability to cope with the ordinary demands of life.(46) ‘Neglect’ means:(A) The
failure to provide proper parental care or control, subsistence, education as
required by law, or other care or control necessary for the child’s physical,
mental, or emotional health or morals;(B) The failure to provide the child with
adequate supervision necessary for the child’s well-being; or(C) The abandonment
of a child by his or her parent, guardian, or legal custodian.(47) ‘Other
persons who have demonstrated an ongoing commitment to the child’ includes but
shall not be limited to:(A) ‘Fictive kin,’ meaning a person who is known to a
child as a relative, but is not, in fact, related by blood or marriage to the
child and with whom the child has resided or had significant contact;(B)
‘Significant other,’ meaning a person who has established a parent-like
relationship with a child and a spouse-like relationship with a parent of the
child;(C) ‘Other individuals,’ including but not limited to, neighbors,
teachers, scout masters, or parents of friends of the child and with whom a
child has resided or had significant contact.(48) ‘Parent’ means either the
legal father or the legal mother of the child.(49) ‘Party’ means a child,
parent, guardian, legal custodian, or other person subject to any judicial
proceeding under this chapter.(50) ‘Permanency plan’ means a specific written
plan prepared by DFCS designed to ensure that a child is reunified with his or
her family or ensure that the child quickly attains a substitute long-term home
when return to the child’s family is not possible or is not in the child’s best
interests.(51) ‘Permanent placement’ means:(A) Return of the legal custody of a
child to the child’s parent;(B) Placement of a child with an adoptive parent
pursuant to a final order of adoption; or(C) Placement of a child with a
permanent guardian.(52) ‘Person responsible for the care of the child’ means:(A)
A member of the child’s household;(B) A person exercising supervision over a
child for any part of the 24 hour day; or(C) Any adult who, based on
relationship to the parent, guardian, or legal custodian or a member of the
child’s household, has access to the child.(53) ‘Preliminary protective hearing’
means the hearing held within 72 hours after a child who is alleged to be abused
or neglected is placed in eligible shelter care.(54) ‘Prenatal abuse’ means
exposure to chronic or severe use of alcohol or the unlawful use of any
controlled substance, as such term is defined in Code Section 16-13-21, which
results in:(A) Symptoms of withdrawal in a newborn or the presence of a
controlled substance or a metabolic thereof in the newborn’s body, blood, urine,
or meconium that is not the result of medical treatment; or(B) Observable and
harmful effects in the newborn’s physical appearance or functioning.(55)
‘Probation and intake employees’ means any probation officer and any personnel
of a juvenile court to whom are delegated the duties of an intake officer under
this chapter, other than a juvenile court judge, associate juvenile court judge,
or court service worker.(56) ‘Probation and intake services’ means those
services provided by the probation and intake employees for the juvenile court
of a county.(57) ‘Probation officer’ means any personnel of a juvenile court or
staff of DJJ to whom are delegated the duties of a probation officer under this
chapter, other than a juvenile court judge or associate juvenile court
judge.(58) ‘Prosecuting attorney’ means the district attorney of the judicial
circuit or county in which juvenile proceedings are instituted or the solicitor
of the juvenile court in which the juvenile proceedings are instituted or such
individuals’ designees.(59) ‘Putative father registry’ means the registry
established and maintained pursuant to subsections (d) and (e) of Code Section
19-11-9.(60) ‘Reasonable efforts to finalize a permanency plan for a child’
means due diligence and the provision of appropriate services by DFCS to:(A)
Reunify the child with the parent, guardian, or legal custodian from whom the
child was removed;(B) Assess a noncustodial parent’s ability to provide
day-to-day care for the child and, when appropriate, provide services necessary
to enable the noncustodial parent to safely provide care;(C) Conduct a relative
search as required by Code Section 15-11-211;(D) When parental rights have not
been terminated, facilitate and arrange for appropriate visits with parents and
siblings, consistent with the safety and well-being of a child; and(E) When a
child cannot return to the parent, guardian, or legal custodian from whom the
child was removed, to plan for and finalize a safe and legally permanent
alternative home for the child, including if appropriate, through an interstate
placement, and preferably through adoption or guardianship of the child.(61)
‘Reasonably diligent search’ means the efforts of DFCS to identify and locate a
parent whose identity or location is unknown or a relative or other person who
has demonstrated an ongoing commitment to a child. Such search shall be
initiated at the outset of a case under Article 3 of this chapter and shall be
conducted throughout the duration of a case, when appropriate. A reasonably
diligent search shall include at a minimum:(A) Interviews with the child’s
parent during the course of an investigation, while child protective services
are provided, and while the child is in care;(B) Interviews with the child;(C)
Interviews with identified relatives throughout the case;(D) Interviews with any
other person who is likely to have information about the identity or location of
the person being sought;(E) Comprehensive data base searches including, but not
limited to, searches of employment, residence, utilities, armed forces, vehicle
registration, child support enforcement, law enforcement, corrections records,
and any other records likely to result in identifying and locating the person
being sought;(F) Appropriate inquiry during the course of hearings in the case;
and(G) Any other reasonable means that are likely to identify relatives or other
persons who have demonstrated an ongoing commitment to the child.(62) ‘Relative’
means a person related to a child by blood, marriage, or adoption, including the
spouse of any of those persons even if the marriage was terminated by death or
dissolution.(63) ‘Restitution’ means any property, lump sum, or periodic payment
ordered to be made to any victim. Restitution may also be in the form of
services ordered to be performed by a child.(64) ‘Screening’ means a relatively
brief process to identify a child who potentially may have mental health or
substance abuse needs, through administration of a formal screening instrument,
to identify a child who may warrant immediate attention or intervention or a
further, more comprehensive evaluation.(65) ‘Services’ means assistance
including, but not limited to, care, guidance, education, counseling,
supervision, treatment, and rehabilitation or any combination thereof.(66)
‘Sexual abuse’ means a caregiver or other person responsible for the care of the
child employing, using, persuading, inducing, enticing, or coercing any child to
engage in any act which involves:(A) Sexual intercourse, including
genital-genital, oral-genital, anal-genital, or oral-anal, whether between
persons of the same or opposite sex;(B) Bestiality;(C) Masturbation;(D) Lewd
exhibition of the genitals or pubic area of any person;(E) Flagellation or
torture by or upon a person who is nude;(F) The condition of being fettered,
bound, or otherwise physically restrained on the part of a person who is
nude;(G) Physical contact in an act of apparent sexual stimulation or
gratification with any person’s clothed or unclothed genitals, pubic area, or
buttocks or with a female’s clothed or unclothed breasts;(H) Defecation or
urination for the purpose of sexual stimulation; or(I) Penetration of the vagina
or rectum by any object except when done as part of a recognized medical
procedure by a licensed health care professional.(67) ‘Sexual exploitation’
means conduct by a caregiver or other person responsible for the care of the
child who allows, permits, encourages, or requires a child to engage in:(A)
Prostitution, in violation of Code Section 16-6-9; or(B) Sexually explicit
conduct for the purpose of producing any visual or print medium depicting such
conduct, in violation of Code Section 16-12-100.(68) ‘Sibling’ means a person
with whom the child shares one or both parents in common by blood, adoption, or
marriage, even if the marriage was terminated by death or dissolution.(69)
‘Statutory overnight delivery’ means delivery of notice as provided in Code
Section 9-10-12.(70) ‘Treatment’ means any type of therapeutic intervention
designed to address a child’s disorders and needs as identified in an evaluation
by an examiner, as defined in Code Section 15-11-650, including, but not limited
to, individual therapy, group therapy, the administration of psychotropic
medication, and any testing undertaken in conjunction with the treatment
process.(71) ‘Visitation’ means a parent, guardian, legal custodian, sibling, or
other relative’s period of access to a child in order to maintain parental and
familial involvement in the child’s life when the child is not residing with
such person.(72) ‘Weekend’ means Saturday or Sunday.

15-11-3.Through direct calendaring, whenever possible, a single judge shall hear
all successive cases or proceedings involving a child or family.

15-11-4.Where procedures are not provided in this chapter, the court shall
proceed in accordance with:(1) Title 17 in a delinquency proceeding; and(2)
Chapter 11 of Title 9 in all other matters.

15-11-5.(a) When a period of time measured in days, weeks, months, years, or
other measurements of time except hours is prescribed for the exercise of any
privilege or the discharge of any duty, the first day shall not be counted but
the last day shall be counted; and, if the last day falls on a weekend, the
party having such privilege or duty shall have through the following business
day to exercise such privilege or discharge such duty.(b) When the last day
prescribed for the exercise of any privilege or the discharge of any duty falls
on a public and legal holiday as set forth in Code Section 1-4-1, the party
having such privilege or duty shall have through the next business day to
exercise such privilege or discharge such duty.(c) When the period of time
prescribed is less than seven days, intermediate weekends and legal holidays
shall be excluded in the computation.

15-11-6.(a) Except as provided in subsection (b) of this Code section, a child
attains a specified age the first second past midnight on the day of the
anniversary of the child’s birth.(b) A child born on February 29 attains a
specified age on March 1 of any year that is not a leap year.

15-11-7.(a) The juvenile court shall have jurisdiction to act as a court of
inquiry with all the powers and rights allowed courts of inquiry in this state
and to examine or investigate into the circumstances or causes of any conduct or
acts of any person 17 or more years of age that may be in violation of the laws
of this state whenever such person is brought before the court in the course of
any proceeding instituted under this chapter. The court shall cause the person
to be apprehended and brought before it upon either a writ of summons, a warrant
duly issued, or by arrest.(b) When, after hearing evidence, the court has
reasonably ascertained that there is probable cause to believe that the person
has committed a misdemeanor or felony as prescribed under the laws of this
state, the court shall commit, bind over to the court of proper jurisdiction in
this state, or discharge the person. When justice shall require, the court shall
cause the person to make the bail as the court shall deem proper under the
circumstances and to cause the person to appear before the court of proper
jurisdiction in this state to be acted upon as provided by law.

15-11-8.The juvenile court is a court of record having a seal. The judge and the
judge’s duly appointed representatives shall each have power to administer oaths
and affirmations.

15-11-9.The juvenile court judge, associate juvenile court judge, and judge pro
tempore shall have authority to issue a warrant for the arrest of any child for
an offense committed against the laws of this state, based either on personal
knowledge or the information of others given under oath.

15-11-10.The juvenile court shall have exclusive original jurisdiction over
juvenile matters and shall be the sole court for initiating action:(1)
Concerning any child who:(A) Is alleged to be delinquent;(B) Is alleged to be a
child in need of services;(C) Is alleged to be deprived;(D) Is alleged to be in
need of treatment or commitment as a mentally ill or mentally retarded child;(E)
Is alleged to have committed a juvenile traffic offense as defined in Code
Section 15-11-630;(F) Has been placed under the supervision of the court or on
probation to the court; provided, however, that such jurisdiction shall be for
the sole purpose of completing, effectuating, and enforcing such supervision or
a probation begun prior to the child’s seventeenth birthday; or(G) Has remained
in foster care after the child’s eighteenth birthday or who is receiving
independent living services from DFCS after the child’s eighteenth birthday;
provided, however, that such jurisdiction shall be for the sole purpose of
reviewing the status of the child and the services being provided to the child
as a result of the child’s independent living plan or status as a child in
foster care; or(2) Involving any proceedings:(A) For obtaining judicial consent
to the marriage, employment, or enlistment in the armed services of any child if
such consent is required by law;(B) For permanent guardianship brought pursuant
to the provisions of Article 3 of this chapter;(C) Under Code Section 39-3-2,
the Interstate Compact on Juveniles, or any comparable law, enacted or adopted
in this state;(D) For the termination of the legal parent-child relationship and
the rights of the biological father who is not the legal father of the child,
other than that in connection with adoption proceedings under Chapter 8 of Title
19, in which the superior courts shall have concurrent jurisdiction to terminate
the legal parent-child relationship and the rights of the biological father who
is not the legal father of the child;(E) For emancipation brought pursuant to
the provisions of Article 11 of this chapter;(F) Under Article 9 of this
chapter, relating to prior notice to a parent, guardian, or legal custodian
relative to an unemancipated minor’s decision to seek an abortion; or(G) Brought
by a local board of education pursuant to Code Section 20-2-766.1 relating to
court orders requiring that a parent, guardian, or legal custodian attend a
conference or participate in programs or treatment to improve a student’s
behavior.

15-11-11.(a) The juvenile court shall have concurrent jurisdiction to hear:(1)
Adoption proceedings following the termination of the legal parent-child
relationship and the rights of the biological father who is not the legal father
of the child if the termination of parental rights was initiated and concluded
in juvenile court;(2) Any legitimation petition filed pursuant to Code Section
19-7-22 concerning a child who is the subject of a deprivation proceeding;(3)
Any legitimation petition transferred to the court by proper order of the
superior court;(4) The issue of custody and support when the issue is
transferred by proper order of the superior court; and(5) Any petition for the
establishment or termination of a temporary guardianship transferred to the
court by proper order of the probate court.(b) If a demand for a jury trial as
to support has been properly filed by either parent, then the case shall be
transferred to superior court for the jury trial.

15-11-12.(a) Nothing in this chapter shall be construed to prevent a child from
being found both deprived and delinquent or both deprived and a child in need of
services if there exists a factual basis for such a finding.(b) If a child
alleged or found to be delinquent or a child in need of services is also alleged
or found to be deprived, deprivation proceedings may be consolidated with
delinquency or child in need of services proceedings to the extent consistent
with due process of law as provided in Articles 3, 6, and 7 of this chapter.(c)
The time frames and requirements of Article 3 of this chapter shall apply to
cases in which a child alleged or found to be a child in need of services or
delinquent is placed in an eligible shelter care placement and has also been
alleged or found to be deprived.

15-11-13.The court shall have jurisdiction to appoint a guardian of the person
or conservator of the property of any child in any proceeding authorized by this
chapter. Any such appointment shall be made pursuant to the same requirements of
notice and hearing as are provided for appointments of guardians of the persons
and conservators of the properties of any child by the probate court.

15-11-14.(a) The court shall hold a hearing within 30 days of receipt of a case
transferred from the probate court pursuant to subsection (f) of Code Section
29-2-6 or subsection (b) of Code Section 29-2-8.(b) After notice and hearing,
the court may make one of the following orders:(1) That the temporary
guardianship be established or continued if the court determines that the
temporary guardianship is in the best interests of the child. The order shall
thereafter be subject to modification only as provided in Code Section 15-11-31;
or(2) That the temporary guardianship be terminated if the court determines it
is in the best interests of the child. The child shall be returned to the parent
unless the court determines that there is probable cause to believe the child
would be deprived in the custody of the child’s parent.(c) A case shall proceed
as a deprivation matter pursuant to the provisions of Article 3 of this chapter
if, after notice and hearing, the court determines:(1) That it is in the best
interests of the child that the temporary guardianship not be established or
that the temporary guardianship be terminated but there is probable cause to
believe the child would be deprived if returned to the parent; or(2) That it is
in the best interests of the child that the temporary guardianship be continued
over the parent’s objection.(d) The court may refer a case transferred from
probate court to DFCS for further investigation.

15-11-15.(a) In handling divorce, alimony, habeas corpus, or other cases
involving the custody of a child, a superior court may transfer the question of
the determination of custody, support, or custody and support to the juvenile
court either for investigation and a report back to the superior court or for
investigation and determination.(b) If the referral is for investigation and
determination, then the juvenile court shall proceed to handle the matter in the
same manner as though the action originated under this chapter in compliance
with the order of the superior court, except that the parties shall not be
entitled to obtain an appointed attorney through the juvenile court.(c) At any
time prior to the determination of any such question, the juvenile court may
transfer the jurisdiction of the question back to the referring superior court.

15-11-16.A proceeding under this chapter may be commenced:(1) By an order of
transfer of a case from another court as provided in Code Section 15-11-11 or
15-11-567 or subsection (f) of Code Section 29-2-6 or subsection (b) of Code
Section 29-2-8;(2) By the summons, notice to appear, or other citation in a
proceeding charging a juvenile traffic offense or a violation of the laws,
rules, and regulations governing the Georgia Department of Natural Resources
Game and Fish Division; or(3) By the filing of a petition for adoption or
legitimation under Code Section 15-11-11, or in other cases by the filing of a
complaint or a petition as provided in Articles 3, 4, 6, 7, 9, and 11 of this
chapter. The petition and all other documents in the proceeding shall be
entitled ‘In the interest of _____, a child,’ except upon appeal, in which event
the anonymity of the child shall be preserved by appropriate use of the child’s
initials.

15-11-17.(a) All hearings under this chapter shall be conducted by the court
without a jury. Any hearing may be adjourned from time to time within the
discretion of the court.(b) Except as otherwise provided, all hearings shall be
conducted in accordance with Title 24.(c) The proceedings shall be recorded by
stenographic notes or by electronic, mechanical, or other appropriate means.(d)
A juvenile court judge, an associate juvenile court judge, a judge pro tempore
of the juvenile court, or any person sitting as a juvenile court judge may
conduct hearings in connection with any proceeding under this chapter in any
county within the judicial circuit. When a superior court judge sits as a
juvenile court judge, hearings in connection with any proceeding under this
chapter may be heard before such judge in any county within the judicial circuit
over which the judge presides.

15-11-18.Upon application of a party, the court, or any authorized officer of
the court, the clerk of the court shall issue or the court on its own motion may
issue subpoenas requiring attendance and testimony of witnesses and production
of papers at any hearing under this chapter.

15-11-19.(a) A party has the right to be present, to be heard, to present
evidence material to the proceedings, to cross-examine witnesses, to examine
pertinent court files and records, and to appeal the orders of the court;
provided, however, that the court shall retain the discretion to exclude a child
from any part or parts of any proceeding under Article 3 of this chapter if the
court determines that it is not in the child’s best interests to be present. The
attorney for the child shall not be excluded.(b) A person afforded rights under
this chapter shall be advised of such rights at that person’s first appearance
before the court.

15-11-20.(a) At any time during a proceeding under this chapter, the court may
refer the case for mediation except for proceedings brought pursuant to a
protective order or informal family services plan procedure.(b) A referral order
shall recite that while the parties shall attend a scheduled mediation session
and shall attempt to mediate in good faith, such parties are not required to
reach an agreement.

15-11-21.(a) Once an order referring a case for mediation has been signed, the
parties are encouraged to mutually agree upon a person to be appointed as the
mediator from a list of mediators registered by the Georgia Office of Dispute
Resolution.(b) If the parties fail to agree upon a mediator within ten days
after the signing of the referral order or if a mediator has declined
appointment, the court may appoint a mediator from the list of mediators
qualified for service.(c) At any time during the pendency of the proceedings the
court may revoke the mediator’s appointment upon motion of any party on the
grounds of the mediator’s lack of qualifications or lack or impartiality.

15-11-22.(a) A mediator shall assist the parties in formulating an agreement to
mediate. Such agreement shall be in writing, dated, and signed by the parties.
It shall identify the controversies between the parties, affirm the parties’
intent to resolve such controversies through mediation, and specify the
circumstances under which mediation may continue.(b) A mediator shall not
knowingly assist the parties in reaching an agreement which would be
unenforceable for reasons such as fraud, duress, overreaching, the absence of
bargaining ability, or unconscionability.(c) The mediator shall advise the
parties prior to signing an agreement to mediate that each of them may obtain
review by an attorney of any agreement reached as a result of the mediation.(d)
The mediator shall at all times be impartial.

15-11-23.(a) Upon issuing a referral for mediation the court may stay the
proceeding.(b) Mediation shall be completed within 30 days of the order
referring the matter to mediation unless the time frame is extended by the
court.(c) The court may extend mediation for an additional 30 days.

15-11-24.(a) Either party may withdraw and terminate further participation in
mediation at any time.(b) A mediator shall terminate mediation when:(1) The
mediator concludes that the participants are unable or unwilling to participate
meaningfully in the process;(2) The mediator concludes that a party lacks the
capacity to perceive and assert his or her own interests to the degree that a
fair agreement cannot be reached; or(3) The mediator concludes that an agreement
is unlikely.

15-11-25.Whenever a best interests determination is required, the court shall
consider and evaluate all of the factors affecting the best interests of the
child in the context of the child’s age and developmental needs. Such factors
shall include:(1) The physical safety and welfare of the child, including food,
shelter, health, and clothing;(2) The mental and physical health of all
individuals involved;(3) Evidence of domestic violence;(4) The child’s
background and ties, including familial, cultural, and religious;(5) The child’s
sense of attachments, including the child’s sense of security, the child’s sense
of familiarity, and continuity of affection for the child;(6) The least
disruptive placement alternative for the child;(7) The child’s wishes and
long-term goals;(8) The child’s community ties, including church, school, and
friends;(9) The child’s need for permanence which includes the child’s need for
stability and continuity of relationships with a parent, siblings, and other
relatives;(10) The uniqueness of every family and child;(11) The risks attendant
to entering and being in substitute care;(12) The preferences of the persons
available to care for the child; and(13) Any other factors considered by the
court to be relevant and proper to its determination.

15-11-26.During the pendency of any proceeding under this chapter, the court may
order:(1) The child to be examined by outside parties or private providers at a
suitable place by a physician or psychologist; provided, however, that such
orders shall not be imposed upon DJJ; and(2) Medical or surgical treatment of a
child who is suffering from a serious physical condition or illness which, in
the opinion of a licensed physician, requires prompt treatment, even if the
parent, guardian, or legal custodian has not been given notice of a hearing, is
not available, or without good cause informs the court of his or her refusal to
consent to the treatment.

15-11-27.(a) No admission, confession, or incriminating information obtained
from a child in the course of any screening that is undertaken in conjunction
with proceedings under this chapter, including but not limited to, court ordered
screenings, shall be admitted into evidence in any adjudication hearing under
this chapter. Such admission, confession, or incriminating information may be
considered by the court at disposition.(b) No admission, confession, or
incriminating information obtained from a child in the course of any assessment
or evaluation, or any treatment that is undertaken in conjunction with
proceedings under this chapter, including but not limited to, court ordered
assessments and evaluations, shall be admitted into evidence against the child,
or used as a basis for such evidence, in any future adjudication hearing or
criminal proceeding. Such admission, confession, or incriminating information
may be considered by the court at disposition.

15-11-28.(a) In any proceeding under this chapter, either on application of a
party or on the court’s own motion, the court may make an order restraining or
otherwise controlling the conduct of a person if due notice of the application
or motion and the grounds therefor and an opportunity to be heard thereon have
been given to the person against whom the order is directed. Such an order may
require any such person:(1) To stay away from the home or the child;(2) To
permit a parent to visit the child at stated periods;(3) To abstain from
offensive conduct against the child, the child’s parent, or any person to whom
custody of the child is awarded;(4) To give proper attention to the care of the
home;(5) To cooperate in good faith with an agency to which custody of a child
is entrusted by the court or with an agency or association to which the child is
referred by the court;(6) To refrain from acts of commission or omission that
tend to make the home not a proper place for the child;(7) To ensure that the
child attends school pursuant to any valid law relating to compulsory
attendance;(8) To participate with the child in any counseling or treatment
deemed necessary after consideration of employment and other family needs;
and(9) To enter into and complete successfully a substance abuse program
approved by the court.(b) After notice and opportunity for hearing afforded to a
person subject to a protective order, the order may be modified or extended for
a further specified period, or both, or may be terminated if the court finds
that the best interests of the child and the public will be served thereby.(c)
Protective orders may be enforced by citation to show cause for contempt of
court by reason of any violation thereof and, where protection of the welfare of
the child so requires, by the issuance of a warrant to take the alleged violator
into custody and bring him or her before the court.

15-11-29.A legal custodian has the right to physical custody of the child, the
right to determine the nature of the care and treatment of the child, including
ordinary medical care, and the right and duty to provide for the care,
protection, training, and education and the physical, mental, and moral welfare
of the child, subject to the conditions and limitations of the order and to the
remaining rights and duties of the child’s parent, guardian, or legal custodian.

15-11-30.(a) In addition to all other inherent powers of the court to enforce
its lawful orders, the court may punish an adult for contempt of court by
imprisonment for not more than 20 days or a fine not to exceed $1,000.00 for
willfully disobeying an order of the court or for obstructing or interfering
with the proceedings of the court or the enforcement of its orders.(b) The court
shall restrict and limit the use of contempt powers with respect to commitment
of a child to a secure facility and in no event shall a child solely alleged or
adjudicated to be deprived be placed in a secure facility.(c) A child may be
placed in a secure facility for not more than 72 hours if:(1) He or she is found
in contempt of court;(2) Less restrictive alternatives have been considered and
are unavailable or inappropriate or if the child has already been ordered to
serve a less restrictive alternative sanction but failed to comply with the
sanction; and(3) For a child in need of services, the requirements of Code
Section 15-11-416 regarding the valid court order exception have been met.(d) In
addition or as an alternative to the punishment provided in subsection (a) of
this Code section, after notice and opportunity to be heard, the court may
impose any or all of the following sanctions when a parent, guardian, or legal
custodian other than DJJ or DFCS willfully violates any order issued by the
court directed to him or her:(1) Require the parent, guardian, or legal
custodian of the child to make restitution in an amount not to exceed $2,500.00
for any damage or loss caused by the child’s wrongful act;(2) Reimburse the
state for the costs of detention, treatment, or rehabilitation of the child;(3)
Require the parent, guardian, or legal custodian of the child to participate in
a court approved educational or counseling program designed to contribute to the
ability to provide proper parental care and supervision of the child, including,
but not limited to, parenting classes; or(4) Require the parent, guardian, or
legal custodian of the child to enter into a contract or plan as a part of the
disposition of any charges against the child, so as to provide for the
supervision and control of the child by the parent, guardian, or legal custodian
and reunification with the child.

15-11-31.(a) An order of the court shall be set aside if:(1) It appears that it
was obtained by fraud or mistake sufficient therefor in a civil action;(2) The
court lacked jurisdiction over a necessary party or of the subject matter; or(3)
Newly discovered evidence so requires.(b) An order of the court may also be
changed, modified, or vacated on the ground that changed circumstances so
require in the best interests of the child except an order of dismissal
following a contested adjudicatory hearing.(c) An order committing a child to
DJJ may only be modified after the child has been transferred to DJJ custody
upon motion of DJJ.(d) Any party to the proceeding, the probation officer, or
any other person having supervision or legal custody of or an interest in the
child may petition the court for the relief provided in this Code section. Such
petition shall set forth in clear and concise language the grounds upon which
the relief is requested.(e) After such petition is filed, the court shall fix a
time for hearing and shall cause notice to be served on the parties to the
proceeding or those affected by the relief sought. After the hearing, the court
shall deny or grant relief as the evidence warrants.

15-11-32.(a) Whenever an order of disposition incorporates a reunification plan
and the residence of the parent is not in the county of the court with
jurisdiction or the residence of the parent changes to a county other than the
county of the court with jurisdiction, the court may transfer jurisdiction to
the juvenile court of the residence of the parent to whom the reunification plan
is directed.(b) Within 30 days of the filing of the transfer order, the
transferring court shall provide the receiving court with certified copies of
the adjudication order, the order of disposition, the order of transfer, the
case plan, and any other court documents deemed necessary by the sending court
to enable the receiving court to assume jurisdiction over the matter.(c)
Compliance with this Code section shall terminate jurisdiction in the
transferring court and confer jurisdiction in the receiving court.

15-11-33.A child shall not be committed to an adult correctional facility or
other facility used primarily for the execution of sentences of persons
convicted of a crime; provided, however, that upon reaching the age of 17 years,
a person may be transferred to an adult correctional facility.

15-11-34.In all cases of final judgments of the juvenile court, appeals shall be
taken to the Court of Appeals or the Supreme Court in the same manner as appeals
from the superior court. However, no such judgment or order shall be superseded
except in the discretion of the trial court; rather, the judgment or order of
the court shall stand until reversed or modified by the reviewing court.

15-11-35.(a) The following expenses shall be a charge upon the funds of the
county upon certification thereof by the court:(1) The cost of medical and other
examinations and treatment of a child ordered by the court;(2) The cost of care
and support of a child committed by the court to the legal custody of an
individual or a public or private agency other than DJJ, but the court may order
supplemental payments, if such are necessary or desirable for services;(3)
Reasonable compensation for services and related expenses of an attorney
appointed by the court, when appointed by the court to represent the child and
when appointed by the court to conduct the proceedings;(4) Reasonable
compensation for a guardian ad litem;(5) The expense of service of summons,
notices, and subpoenas, travel expenses of witnesses, transportation,
subsistence, and detention of the child, and other like expenses incurred in the
proceedings under this chapter; and(6) The cost of counseling and counsel and
advice required or provided under the provisions of Code Section 15-11-212 or
15-11-601.(b) For a child not committed to the legal custody of DJJ, the county,
upon certification by the court, shall reimburse DJJ for reasonable and
necessary expenses incurred for a child’s subsistence, detention, care, and
other like expenses.(c) If, after due notice to the parent or other person
legally obligated to care for and support the child and after affording such
person an opportunity to be heard, the court finds that such person is
financially able to pay all or part of the costs and expenses outlined in
subsection (a) of this Code section, the court may order such person to pay the
same and prescribe the manner of payment. In addition, the court may order
payment from the parent or other legally obligated person or entity to reimburse
all or part of the costs and expenses of the department or DJJ for treatment,
care, and support of the child. Unless otherwise ordered, payment shall be made
to the clerk of the court for remittance to the person or agency, including the
department or DJJ, to whom compensation is due or, if the costs and expenses
have been paid by the county, to the appropriate officer of the county.

15-11-36.(a) The court may collect supervision fees from those who are placed
under the court’s formal or informal supervision in order that the court may use
those fees to expand the provision of the following types of ancillary
services:(1) Housing in nonsecure facilities;(2) Educational services, tutorial
services, or both;(3) Counseling and diagnostic testing;(4) Mediation;(5)
Transportation to and from court ordered services;(6) Truancy intervention
services;(7) Restitution programs;(8) Job development or work experience
programs;(9) Community services; and(10) Any other additional programs or
services needed to meet the best interests, development, and rehabilitation of
the child.(b) The juvenile court may order each delinquent child or child in
need of services who receives supervision to pay to the clerk of the court:(1)
An initial court supervision user’s fee of not less than $10.00 nor more than
$200.00; and(2) A court supervision user’s fee of not less than $2.00 nor more
than $30.00 for each month that the child receives supervision.The child and
each parent, guardian, or legal custodian of the child may be jointly and
severally liable for the payment of such fee and shall be subject to the
enforcement procedure in subsection (c) of Code Section 15-11-135. The judge
shall provide that any such fees shall be imposed on such terms and conditions
as shall assure that the funds for the payment are from moneys earned by the
child. All moneys collected by the clerk under this subsection shall be
transferred to the county treasurer, or such other county official or employee
who performs duties previously performed by the treasurer, who shall deposit the
moneys into a county supplemental juvenile services fund. The governing
authority of the county shall appropriate moneys from the county supplemental
juvenile services fund to the juvenile court for the court’s discretionary use
in providing supplemental community based services described in subsection (a)
of this Code section to child offenders. These funds shall be administered by
the county and the court may draw upon them by submitting invoices to the
county. The county supplemental juvenile services fund may be used only for
these services. Any moneys remaining in the fund at the end of the county fiscal
year shall not revert to any other fund but shall continue in the county
supplemental juvenile services fund. The county supplemental juvenile services
fund may not be used to replace other funding of services.(c) The clerk of the
court shall be responsible for collections of fees as ordered by the court.(d)
For the purpose of this Code section, the term ‘guardian’ or ‘legal custodian’
shall not be interpreted or construed to include the department or DJJ.

15-11-37.(a) Any court may order the establishment of a community based risk
reduction program, within the geographical jurisdiction of the court, for the
purpose of utilizing available community resources in assessment and
intervention in cases of delinquency, deprivation, or children in need of
services. Subject to the procedures, requirements, and supervision established
in the order creating such program, any individual and any public or private
agency or entity may participate in the program.(b) As part of a risk reduction
program, a court may implement or adopt an early intervention program designed
to identify children and families who are at risk of becoming involved with the
court. Such early intervention program shall be for the purpose of developing
and implementing intervention actions or plans to divert the children and their
families from becoming involved in future cases in the court. The court’s
involvement shall be for the limited purpose of facilitating the development of
the program and for the purpose of protecting the confidentiality of the
children and families participating in the program.(c) As part of an early
intervention program, the court may enter into protocol agreements with school
systems within the court’s jurisdiction, the county department of family and
children services, the county department of health, DJJ, any state or local
department or agency, any mental health agency or institution, local physicians
or health care providers, licensed counselors and social workers, and any other
social service, charitable, or other entity or any other agency or individual
providing educational or treatment services to families and children within the
jurisdiction of the court. Such protocol agreements shall authorize the exchange
of confidential information in the same manner and subject to the same
restrictions, conditions, and penalties as provided in Code Section 15-11-39.(d)
When any agency or entity participating in a protocol agreement identifies a
child who is at risk of becoming delinquent, deprived, or a child in need of
services, the agency or entity shall refer the case to a multiagency staffing
panel. The panel shall develop a multiagency intervention plan for the child.
The child or the parent, or both, may be present during any review of the
child’s case by the panel. The parent, guardian, or legal custodian of the child
shall be notified of the plan by the agency making the referral or by a person
or entity designated by the panel to administer the program. The staff of the
court, but not the judge, shall work with the other agencies involved to educate
the parent and the child on the importance of following the plan and on the
consequences if either the parent or the child is referred to the court. If an
intervention plan is developed for a child and the parent, guardian, or legal
custodian consents to the plan, the failure to comply with the plan or any
portion thereof may constitute the basis for a referral to DFCS.

15-11-38.(a) In any jurisdiction within which a risk reduction program has been
established, when a child comes before the court for disposition, the court may
order that an assessment be made of the child and the circumstances resulting in
the child being before the court.(b) The assessment shall be developed by
assembling existing information and individualized plans of the agencies
involved in providing services to the child and his or her parent, guardian, or
legal custodian. If the assessment demonstrates a need for a case plan, the
court may order that a case plan be developed by a panel representing community
agencies as authorized by the court. The case plan shall contain the proposed
actions and alternatives for the proper and efficient use of available community
resources to assist the child.(c) The case plan shall be served on the child and
the child’s parent, guardian, or legal custodian. The case plan shall also
include a cover letter which contains the following information:(1) Sources to
explain the process, procedures, and penalties for not responding to the court
order in the prescribed time frame; and(2) The deadline for responding to the
court order and stating objections to the case plan or any portion thereof is
ten days from the date of service.(d) If no objection is made or if the child,
parent, guardian, or legal custodian consents to the case plan, the case plan
shall be incorporated into and made a part of the disposition order entered in
the case by entry of a supplemental order. The case plan may be modified by the
court at any time the child is under the jurisdiction of the court.(e) If a
child or a parent, guardian, or legal custodian objects to the case plan, the
court shall conduct a hearing. The court may decline to adopt the case plan or
may confirm or modify the case plan. In implementing a case plan, the court
shall have available all of the protective powers set forth in Code Section
15-11-28, without the necessity of a show cause hearing, unless objection is
made to the case plan.

15-11-39.(a) Notwithstanding any provision contained in this chapter or in any
rule or regulation adopted by any department, board, or agency of the state to
the contrary, the court and any individual, public or private agency, or other
entity participating in a community based risk reduction program may exchange,
as necessary, information, medical records, school records, records of
adjudication, treatment records, and any other records or information which may
aid in the assessment of and intervention with the children and families in the
program if such exchange of information is ordered by the court or consented to
by the parties. Such information shall be used by such individuals and agencies
only for the purposes provided in this chapter and as authorized by the court
for the purpose of implementing the case plan and for the purposes permitted
under each agency’s own rules and regulations. Such information shall not be
released to any other individual or agency except as may be necessary to effect
the appropriate treatment or intervention as provided in the case plan. Such
information shall otherwise remain confidential as required by state and federal
law and the court may punish any violations of confidentiality as contempt of
court.(b) Any person who authorizes or permits any unauthorized person or agency
to have access to confidential records or reports of child abuse shall be guilty
of a misdemeanor. Any person who knowingly and under false pretenses obtains or
attempts to obtain confidential records or reports of child abuse or information
contained therein shall be guilty of a misdemeanor.(c) Confidential records or
reports of child abuse and information obtained from such records may not be
made a part of any record which is open to the public except that a prosecuting
attorney may use and make public that record or information in the course of any
criminal prosecution for any offense which constitutes or results from child
abuse.(d) This Code section shall not abridge the provisions relating to
confidentiality of patient or client records and shall not serve to destroy or
in any way abridge the confidential or privileged character thereof.

ARTICLE 2

15-11-50.(a) There is created a juvenile court in every county in the state.(b)
Except where election is provided by local law, the judge or a majority of the
judges of the superior court in each circuit in the state may appoint one or
more qualified persons as judge of the juvenile courts of the circuit. Such
superior court judge or judges shall establish the total number of circuit-wide
juvenile court judges and shall establish whether the judge or judges shall be
full time or part time, or a combination of full time and part time. Each
circuit-wide judge appointed will have the authority to act as judge of each
juvenile court in each county of the circuit.(c) If no person is appointed as a
juvenile court judge for a circuit, then a superior court judge of the circuit
shall as part of the duties of the superior court judge assume the duties of the
juvenile court judge in all counties in the circuit in which a separate juvenile
court judgeship has not been established.(d) All juvenile court judgeships
established on or before October 1, 2000, their methods of compensation,
selection, and operation shall continue until such time as one or more
circuit-wide juvenile court judges are appointed. However, in any circuit where
a superior court judge assumes the duties of the juvenile court judge, such
circuit shall not be entitled to the state funds provided for in Code Section
15-11-52.(e) When one or more circuit-wide juvenile court judges are appointed
or elected, any juvenile court judge in office at that time shall be authorized
to fulfill his or her term of office. The jurisdiction of each judge shall be
circuit wide.(f) After the initial appointments and prior to any subsequent
appointment or reappointment of any part-time or full-time juvenile court judge,
the judge or judges responsible for making the appointment shall publish notice
of the vacancy of the juvenile court judgeship once a month for three months
prior to such appointment or reappointment. Such notice shall be published in
the official legal organ of each of the counties in the circuit where the
juvenile court judge has venue. The expense of such publication shall be paid by
the county governing authority in the county where such notice is published.(g)
In the event that more than one juvenile court judge is appointed, one judge
shall be designated presiding judge.(h) In any case in which action under this
Code section is to be taken by a superior court judge of the circuit, such
action shall be taken as follows:(1) Where there are one or two superior court
judges, such action shall be taken by the chief judge of the circuit; and(2)
Where there are more than two superior court judges, such action shall be taken
by a majority vote of the judges of the circuit.

15-11-51.(a) No person shall be judge of the juvenile court unless, at the time
of his or her appointment, he or she has attained the age of 30 years, has been
a citizen of the state for three years, is a member of the State Bar of Georgia,
and has practiced law for five years.(b) A juvenile court judge shall be
eligible for reappointment or election.

15-11-52.(a) Each appointed juvenile court judge shall serve for a term of four
years.(b) The compensation of the full-time or part-time juvenile court judges
shall be set by the superior court with the approval of the governing authority
or governing authorities of the county or counties for which the juvenile court
judge is appointed.(c) Out of funds appropriated to the judicial branch of
government, the state shall contribute toward the salary of the judges on a per
circuit basis in the following amounts:(1) Each circuit with one or more
juvenile court judges who are not superior court judges assuming the duties of
juvenile court judges shall receive a state base grant of $85,000.00;(2) In
addition to this base amount, each circuit which has more than four superior
court judges is eligible for additional state grants. For each superior court
judge who exceeds the base of four judges, the circuit shall be eligible for an
additional grant in an amount equal to one-fourth of the base amount of the
state grant;(3) In circuits where the superior court judges elect to use the
state grant for one or more part-time judges, the amount of the state grant
shall be as follows:(A) For each part-time judge who works one day weekly
……………………$17,000.00 (B) For each part-time judge who works two
days weekly …………………..34,000.00 (C) For each part-time judge who
works three days weekly ………………..51,000.00 (D) For each part-time
judge who works four days weekly ………………….68,000.00;provided,
however, that a grant for one or more part-time judges shall not exceed the
amount the circuit is eligible for in accordance with paragraphs (1) and (2) of
this subsection; and(4) All state grants provided by this subsection shall be
spent solely on salaries for juvenile court judges and shall not be used for any
other purposes.

15-11-53.(a) It shall be unlawful for any full-time juvenile court judge to
engage in any practice of law outside his or her role as a juvenile court
judge.(b) It shall be unlawful for a part-time judge of any juvenile court to
engage directly or indirectly in the practice of law in his or her own name or
in the name of another as a partner in any manner in any case, proceeding, or
matter of any kind in the court to which he or she is assigned or in any other
court in any case, proceeding, or any other matters of which it has pending
jurisdiction or has had jurisdiction.(c) It shall be unlawful for any juvenile
court judge, full time or part time, to give advice or counsel to any person on
any matter of any kind whatsoever which has arisen directly or indirectly in
court, except such advice or counsel as a judge is called upon to give while
performing the duties of a juvenile court judge.

15-11-54.(a) Each juvenile court shall be assigned and attached to the superior
court of the county for administrative purposes.(b) The governing authority of
the county of residence of each juvenile court judge shall offer the juvenile
court judge insurance benefits and any other benefits except retirement or
pension benefits equivalent to those offered to employees of the county, with a
right to contribution from other counties in the circuit for a pro rata
contribution toward the costs of such benefits, based on county population.
Counties shall continue to provide membership in retirement plans available to
county employees for any juvenile court judge in office before July 1, 1998, who
did not become a member of the Georgia Judicial Retirement System provided by
Chapter 23 of Title 47.(c) Except for state base grants provided by Code Section
15-11-52, all expenditures of the court are declared to be an expense of the
court and payable out of the county treasury with the approval of the governing
authority or governing authorities of the county or counties for which the
juvenile court judge is appointed.

15-11-55.(a) To the extent that the provisions of this article conflict with a
local constitutional amendment authorizing the election of a juvenile court
judge and with the provisions of a local Act authorized by such local
constitutional amendment to provide for the term of office, vacancies in office,
qualifications, compensation, and full-time or part-time status of a juvenile
court judge or judges, the provisions of such local constitutional amendment and
such local Act shall govern.(b) The state grants provided by Code Section
15-11-52 shall be provided to any circuit encompassing a juvenile court governed
by the provisions of a local constitutional amendment and a local Act in the
same manner as other circuits, except that, in any circuit with one or more
elected juvenile court judges, the elected juvenile court judge who is senior in
duration of service as a juvenile court judge shall establish, subject to other
applicable provisions of law, the total number of circuit-wide juvenile court
judges, whether the judge or judges shall be full time or part time or a
combination of full time and part time, and the compensation of any part time
juvenile court judge or judges.

15-11-56.(a) No person who is serving as a full-time juvenile court judge shall
at the same time hold the office of judge of any other class of court of this
state.(b) No person serving as a juvenile court judge after being elected
juvenile court judge pursuant to a local law authorized by a constitutional
amendment shall at the same time hold the office of judge of any other class of
court of this state.(c) Nothing in this Code section shall prevent any duly
appointed or elected juvenile court judge from sitting by designation as a
superior court judge pursuant to Code Section 15-1-9.1.

15-11-57.(a) Whenever a juvenile court judge is appointed it shall be the duty
of the clerk of the superior court to forward to the Secretary of State and to
the Council of Juvenile Court Judges a certified copy of the order of
appointment. The order of appointment shall set out the name of the person
appointed, the term of office, the effective date of the appointment, the name
of the person being succeeded, if any, and whether the office was vacated by
resignation, death, or otherwise. Upon receipt of such order, the Secretary of
State shall issue a commission as for superior court judges.(b) Whenever an
associate juvenile court judge is appointed to serve in a juvenile court, the
clerk of the juvenile court shall forward a certified copy of the order of
appointment to the Council of Juvenile Court Judges.

15-11-58.(a) All of the judges and associate judges of the courts exercising
jurisdiction over children shall constitute a Council of Juvenile Court Judges.
The council shall annually elect from among its members a judge to serve as
presiding judge and chairperson of the council.(b) The Council of Juvenile Court
Judges:(1) Shall meet at stated times to be fixed by it or on call of the
chairperson;(2) May establish general policies for the conduct of courts
exercising jurisdiction over children;(3) May promulgate uniform rules and forms
governing procedures and practices of the courts;(4) Shall publish an annual
report of the work of the courts exercising jurisdiction over children, which
shall include statistical and other data on the courts’ work and services,
research studies the council may make of the problems of children and families
dealt with by the courts, and any recommendations for legislation; and(5) Shall
be authorized to inspect and copy records of the courts, law enforcement
agencies, the department, and DJJ for the purpose of compiling statistical data
on children.(c) Subject to the approval of the Council of Juvenile Court Judges,
the presiding judge of the council shall appoint a chief administrative and
executive officer for the Council of Juvenile Court Judges who shall have the
title of director of the Council of Juvenile Court Judges. Under the general
supervision of the presiding judge of the council and within the policies
established by the Council of Juvenile Court Judges, the director shall:(1)
Provide consultation to the courts regarding the administration of court
services and the recruitment and training of personnel;(2) Make recommendations
to the Council of Juvenile Court Judges for improvement in court services;(3)
With the approval of the presiding judge, appoint consultants and necessary
clerical personnel to perform the duties assigned to the Council of Juvenile
Court Judges and the director;(4) Collect necessary statistics and prepare an
annual report of the work of the courts;(5) Promulgate in cooperation with DJJ
standard procedures for coordinating state and local probation services
throughout the state; and(6) Perform such other duties as the presiding judge of
the council shall specify.

15-11-59.(a) The Council of Juvenile Court Judges, in conjunction with the
Institute of Continuing Judicial Education of Georgia, shall establish seminars
for all judges and associate juvenile court judges exercising juvenile court
jurisdiction and may make provisions relative to such seminars by court rules
properly adopted.(b) Seminars shall offer instruction and training in juvenile
law and procedure, child development and psychology, sociological theories
relative to delinquency and breakdown of the family structure, and such other
training and activities as the Council of Juvenile Court Judges may determine
would promote the quality of justice in the juvenile court system.(c) Expenses
of administration of seminar programs and actual expenses incurred by the judges
or associate juvenile court judges in attending such seminars shall be paid from
state funds appropriated for the Council of Juvenile Court Judges for such
purpose, from federal funds available to the Council of Juvenile Court Judges
for such purpose, or from other appropriate sources. Expenses for judges and
associate juvenile court judges shall not exceed the allowances allowed members
of the General Assembly.(d) Each judge and associate juvenile court judge
exercising juvenile jurisdiction shall receive training appropriate to the role
and participate in at least 12 hours of continuing legal education or continuing
judicial education established or approved by the Council of Juvenile Court
Judges each year and meet such rules as established by the Council of Juvenile
Court Judges pertaining to such training. Superior court judges may meet this
requirement by attending seminars held in conjunction with the seminars for
superior court judges provided by the Institute of Continuing Judicial Education
of Georgia. Judges and associate juvenile court judges shall not exercise
juvenile court jurisdiction unless the Council of Juvenile Court Judges
certifies that annual training has been accomplished or unless the judge is in
the first year of his or her initial appointment; provided, however, that the
Council of Juvenile Court Judges may in hardship cases extend deadlines for
compliance with this Code section.

15-11-60.(a) A judge may appoint one or more persons to serve as associate
juvenile court judges in juvenile matters on a full-time or part-time basis. The
associate juvenile court judge shall serve at the pleasure of the judge, and his
or her salary shall be fixed by the judge with the approval of the governing
authority or governing authorities of the county or counties for which the
associate juvenile court judge is appointed. The salary of each associate
juvenile court judge shall be paid from county funds.(b) Each associate juvenile
court judge shall have the same qualifications as required for a judge of the
juvenile court as provided in Code Section 15-11-51; provided, however, that any
person serving as an associate juvenile court judge on July 1, 2011, shall be
qualified for appointment thereafter to serve as an associate juvenile court
judge.

15-11-61.(a) The judge may appoint one or more persons to serve at the pleasure
of the judge as associate juvenile court traffic judges on a full-time or
part-time basis.(b) An associate juvenile court traffic judge shall be a member
of the State Bar of Georgia.(c) The compensation of associate juvenile court
traffic judges shall be fixed by the judge with the approval of the governing
authority of the county and shall be paid in equal monthly installments from
county funds, unless otherwise provided by law.

15-11-62.(a) In the event of the disqualification, illness, or absence of the
judge of the juvenile court, the judge of the juvenile court may appoint any
member of the State Bar of Georgia who is resident in the judicial circuit in
which the court lies and has practiced law for five years, any judge or senior
judge of the superior courts, or any duly appointed juvenile court judge to
serve as judge pro tempore of the juvenile court. In the event the judge of the
juvenile court is absent or unable to make such appointment, the judge of the
superior court of that county may so appoint.(b) The person appointed shall have
the authority to preside in the stead of the disqualified, ill, or absent judge
and shall be paid from the county treasury such emolument as the appointing
judge shall prescribe; provided, however, that the emolument shall not exceed
the compensation received by the regular juvenile court judge for such services.

15-11-63.(a) The judge of the juvenile court shall have the authority to appoint
clerks and any other personnel necessary for the execution of the purposes of
this chapter.(b) The salary, tenure, compensation, and all other conditions of
employment of such employees shall be fixed by the judge, with the approval of
the governing authority of the county. The salaries of the employees shall be
paid out of county funds.(c) Any employee of the court may be removed for cause
by the judge of the court, the reasons therefor to be assigned in writing.

15-11-64.(a) Any person who is appointed as or is performing the duties of a
clerk of the juvenile court shall satisfactorily complete 20 hours of training
in the performance of the duties of a clerk of the juvenile court within the
first 12 months following such appointment or the first performance of such
duties.(b) In each year after the initial appointment, any person who is
appointed as or is performing the duties of a clerk of the juvenile court shall
satisfactorily complete in that year 12 hours of additional training in the
performance of such person’s duties as clerk.(c) Training pursuant to this Code
section shall be provided by the Institute of Continuing Judicial Education of
Georgia. Upon satisfactory completion of such training, a certificate issued by
the institute shall be placed into the minutes of the juvenile court record in
the county in which such person serves as a clerk of the juvenile court. All
reasonable expenses of such training including, but not limited to, any tuition
fixed by such institution shall be paid from county funds by the governing
authority of the county for which the person serves as a clerk of the juvenile
court, unless funding is provided from other sources.(d) A judge of the juvenile
court shall appoint a clerk pro tempore for that court in order for the regular
clerk to attend required training. Such clerk pro tempore shall not be required
to meet the training requirements for performing the clerk’s duties.(e) The
provisions of this Code section shall not apply to clerks of juvenile courts who
also act as clerks of superior courts and who already have mandatory training
requirements in such capacity.

15-11-65.(a) The judge may appoint one or more probation and intake officers.(b)
The salaries of the probation and intake officers shall be fixed by the judge
with the approval of the governing authority of the county or counties for which
he or she is appointed and shall be payable from county funds.

15-11-66.(a) A county juvenile probation officer or DJJ staff member serving as
a juvenile probation officer:(1) Shall make investigations, reports, and
recommendations to the court as directed by this chapter;(2) Shall supervise and
assist a child placed on probation or under the protective supervision or care
of such probation officer by order of the court or other authority of law;(3)
Shall make appropriate referrals to other private or public agencies of the
community if such assistance appears to be needed or desirable;(4) May take into
custody and detain a child who is under the supervision or care of such
probation officer if the probation officer has reasonable cause to believe that
the child’s health or safety or that of another is in imminent danger, or that
the child may abscond or be removed from the jurisdiction of the court, or when
so ordered by the court pursuant to this chapter;(5) May not conduct accusatory
proceedings against a child who is or may be under such probation officer’s care
or supervision;(6) May not perform duties in support of the prosecuting
attorney;(7) Shall perform all other functions designated by this chapter or by
order of the court pursuant thereto. Any of the functions specified in this Code
section may be performed in another state if authorized by the court located in
this state and permitted by the laws of the other state; and(8) Other laws to
the contrary notwithstanding, no county juvenile probation officer or DJJ staff
serving as probation officer shall be liable for the acts of a child not
detained or taken into custody when, in the judgment of such officer, such
detention or custody is not warranted.(b) Notwithstanding subsection (a) of this
Code section, DJJ, as the primary employer, shall maintain sole authority over
the duties and responsibilities of all DJJ staff members serving as probation
officers.

15-11-67.(a) A county juvenile intake officer or DJJ staff member serving as
intake officer:(1) Shall receive and examine complaints and charges of
delinquency, deprivation, or that a child is in need of services for the purpose
of considering the commencement of proceedings under this chapter;(2) Shall make
appropriate referrals to other private or public agencies of the community if
such assistance appears to be needed or desirable;(3) Shall compile on a regular
basis the case files or a report on those cases that were informally adjusted
for review by the judge;(4) May not conduct accusatory proceedings against a
child or perform duties in support of the prosecuting attorney;(5) Shall perform
all other functions designated by this chapter or by order of the court pursuant
thereto; and(6) Except as provided in Article I, Section II, Paragraph IX(d) of
the Constitution of this state, no county juvenile intake officer, or DJJ staff
member serving as juvenile intake officer shall be liable for the acts of a
child not detained or taken into custody when, in the judgment of such officer,
such detention or custody is not warranted.(b) Notwithstanding subsection (a) of
this Code section, DJJ, as the primary employer, shall maintain sole authority
over the duties and responsibilities of all DJJ staff members serving as intake
officers.

15-11-68.(a) The intake and probation services of the juvenile court of each
county may be transferred to and become a part of the state-wide juvenile and
intake services and be fully funded through DJJ. The intake and probation
employees of juvenile courts of those counties whose intake and probation
services are transferred pursuant to this Code section shall become DJJ
employees on the date of such transfer and on and after that date such employees
shall be subject to the salary schedules and other DJJ personnel policies,
except that the salaries of such employees shall not be reduced as a result of
becoming DJJ employees.(b) The intake and probation services of the juvenile
court of a county may be transferred to DJJ by local Act of the General Assembly
which approves such transfer.(c) Persons who were probation and intake employees
of the juvenile court of a county on June 30, 1996, but who were transferred as
probation and intake employees to and became a part of the state-wide juvenile
and intake services system fully funded through DJJ before January 1, 1999,
shall be covered employees in the classified service of the state merit system.

ARTICLE 3
Part 1

15-11-100.The purpose of this article is:(1) To assist and protect children
whose physical or mental health and welfare is substantially at risk of harm
from abuse, neglect, or exploitation and who may be further threatened by the
conduct of others by providing for the resolution of deprivation proceedings in
juvenile court;(2) To ensure that deprivation proceedings are conducted
expeditiously to avoid delays in permanency plans for children;(3) To provide
the greatest protection as promptly as possible for children; and(4) To ensure
that the health, safety, and best interests of the child be the paramount
concern in all deprivation proceedings.

15-11-101.(a) If necessary, the investigator of a report of child abuse and
neglect may apply to the court for certain medical examinations and evaluations
of a child or other children in the household.(b) Upon a showing of probable
cause in an affidavit executed by the applicant, the court may order a physical
examination and evaluation of a child or other children in the household by a
physician. Such order may be granted ex parte.(c) Upon a showing of probable
cause in an affidavit executed by the applicant and after a hearing, the court
may order a psychological or psychiatric examination and evaluation of a child
or other children in the household by a psychologist, psychiatrist, or other
licensed mental health professional.(d) Upon a showing of probable cause in an
affidavit executed by the applicant and after a hearing, the court may order a
forensic examination and evaluation of a child or other children in the
household by a psychologist, psychiatrist, or other licensed mental health
professional.(e) Upon a showing of probable cause in an affidavit executed by
the applicant and after a hearing, the court may order a physical,
psychological, or psychiatric examination of a child’s parent, guardian, or
legal custodian.

15-11-102.(a) The preliminary protective hearing shall be held promptly and no
later than 72 hours after a child is placed in eligible shelter care, provided
that, if the 72 hour time frame expires on a weekend or legal holiday, such
hearing shall be held on the next day which is not a weekend or legal
holiday.(b) If a child was never taken into protective custody or is released
from eligible shelter care at the preliminary protective hearing, the following
time frames apply:(1) The petition for deprivation shall be filed within 30 days
of the child’s release;(2) Summons shall be served at least 72 hours before the
adjudication hearing;(3) The adjudication hearing shall be held no later than 60
days after the filing of the petition for deprivation; and(4) If the
dispositional hearing is not held in conjunction with the adjudication hearing,
it shall be held and completed within 30 days after the conclusion of the
adjudication hearing.(c) If a child is not released from eligible shelter care
at the preliminary protective hearing, the following time frames apply:(1) The
petition for deprivation shall be filed within five days of the preliminary
protective hearing;(2) Summons shall be served at least 72 hours before the
adjudication hearing;(3) The adjudication hearing shall be held no later than
ten days after the filing of the petition;(4) DFCS shall submit to the court its
written report within 30 days of the date a child who is placed in the custody
of DFCS is removed from the home and at each subsequent review of the
disposition order. If the DFCS report does not contain a plan for reunification
services, the nonreunification hearing shall be held no later than 30 days from
the time the report is filed; and(5) If the dispositional hearing is not held in
conjunction with the adjudication hearing, it shall be held and completed within
30 days after the conclusion of the adjudication hearing.(d) An initial periodic
review hearing shall be held within 75 days following a child’s removal from his
or her home. An additional periodic review shall be held within four months
following such initial review.(e) Permanency plan hearings shall be held no
later than 30 days after DFCS has submitted a written report to the court which
does not provide a plan for reunification services or:(1) For children under
seven years of age at the time a petition for deprivation is filed, no later
than nine months after the child is considered to have entered foster care,
whichever comes first. Thereafter a permanency plan hearing shall be held every
six months while the child continues in DFCS custody or more frequently as
deemed necessary by the court until the court determines that the child’s
permanency plan and goal have been achieved; and(2) For children seven years of
age and older at the time a petition is filed, no later than 12 months after the
child is considered to have entered foster care, whichever comes first.
Thereafter a permanency plan hearing shall be held every six months while the
child continues in DFCS custody or more frequently as deemed necessary by the
court until the court determines that the child’s permanency plan and goal have
been achieved.(f) A supplemental order of the court adopting a child’s
permanency plan shall be entered within 30 days after the court has determined
that reunification efforts need not be made by DFCS.15-11-103.(a) The child and
any other party to a proceeding under this article shall have the right to a
qualified and independent attorney at all stages of the proceedings under this
article.(b) The court shall appoint an attorney for a child alleged to be
deprived. The appointment shall be made as soon as practicable to ensure
adequate representation of such child and, in any event, before the first court
hearing that may substantially affect the interests of such child.(c) A child’s
attorney owes to the child the duties imposed by the law of this state in an
attorney-client relationship.(d) A child’s attorney shall not serve as guardian
ad litem in a proceeding involving the child.(e) Before an attorney may be
appointed to represent a child, he or she shall have received training
appropriate to the role that is administered or approved by the Office of the
Child Advocate for the Protection of Children. Preappointment training shall be
satisfied within an attorney’s existing continuing legal education obligations
and shall not require the attorney to complete additional training hours in
addition to the hours currently required by the State Bar of Georgia.(f) If an
attorney has been appointed to represent a child in a prior proceeding under
this chapter, the court, when possible, shall appoint the same attorney to
represent the child in any subsequent proceeding.(g) An attorney appointed to
represent a child in a deprivation proceeding shall continue the representation
in any subsequent appeals unless excused by the court.(h) Neither a child nor a
representative of a child may waive a child’s right to an attorney in a
deprivation proceeding.(i) A party other than a child shall be informed of his
or her right to an attorney prior to any hearing. A party other than a child
shall be given an opportunity to:(1) Obtain and employ an attorney of the
party’s own choice;(2) Obtain a court appointed attorney if the court determines
that the party is indigent; or(3) Waive the right to an attorney.

15-11-104.(a) If a court determines that a guardian ad litem is necessary to
assist the court in determining the best interests of the child, the court shall
appoint a guardian ad litem for a child alleged to be deprived:(1) At the
request of the child’s attorney;(2) On the court’s own motion; or(3) On motion
by any party.(b) A party to the proceeding, the employee or representative of a
party to the proceeding, or any other individual with a conflict of interest
shall not be appointed as guardian ad litem.(c) A court shall appoint a court
appointed special advocate (CASA) to act as guardian ad litem whenever
possible.(d) An attorney appointed as a guardian ad litem may only take those
actions that may be taken by a guardian ad litem who is not an attorney.(e) A
lay guardian shall not engage in activities which could reasonably be construed
as the practice of law.(f) Before the appointment as a guardian ad litem, such
person shall have received training appropriate to the role as guardian ad litem
which is administered or approved by the Office of the Child Advocate for the
Protection of Children. For attorneys, preappointment guardian ad litem training
shall be satisfied within the attorney’s existing continuing legal education
obligations and shall not require the attorney to complete additional training
hours in addition to the hours currently required by the State Bar of
Georgia.(g) Any volunteer guardian ad litem authorized and acting in good faith,
in the absence of fraud or malice, and in accordance with the duties required by
this Code section or Code Section 15-11-106, shall have immunity from any
liability, civil or criminal, that might otherwise be incurred or imposed as a
result of taking or failing to take any action pursuant to this Code section or
Code Section 15-11-106.(h) The court may remove a guardian ad litem from a case
upon finding that the guardian ad litem acted in a manner contrary to a child’s
best interests, has not appropriately participated in the case, or if the court
otherwise deems continued service as unwanted or unnecessary.

15-11-105.(a) A guardian ad litem shall advocate for a child’s best interests in
the proceeding for which the guardian ad litem has been appointed.(b) In
determining the child’s best interests, a guardian ad litem shall consider and
evaluate all of the factors affecting the best interests of the child in the
context of a child’s age and developmental needs. Such factors shall include:(1)
The physical safety and welfare of the child, including food, shelter, health,
and clothing;(2) The mental and physical health of all individuals involved;(3)
Evidence of domestic violence;(4) A child’s background and ties, including
familial, cultural, and religious;(5) A child’s sense of attachments, including
a child’s sense of security, a child’s sense of familiarity, and continuity of
affection for the child;(6) The least disruptive placement alternative for a
child;(7) A child’s wishes and long-term goals;(8) A child’s community ties,
including church, school, and friends;(9) A child’s need for permanence which
includes the child’s need for stability and continuity of relationships with a
parent, siblings, and other relatives;(10) The uniqueness of every family and
child;(11) The risks attendant to entering and being in substitute care;(12) The
preferences of the persons available to care for the child; and(13) Any other
factors considered by the guardian ad litem to be relevant and proper to his or
her determination.(c) Unless a child’s circumstances render the following duties
and responsibilities unreasonable, a guardian ad litem shall at a minimum:(1) In
a manner appropriate to a child’s developmental level, maintain regular and
sufficient in-person contact with the child, meet with and interview the child
prior to custody hearings, adjudication hearings, disposition hearings, judicial
reviews, and any other hearings scheduled in accordance with the provisions of
this chapter;(2) In a manner appropriate to the child’s developmental level,
ascertain the child’s needs, circumstances, and views;(3) Conduct an independent
assessment to determine the facts and circumstances surrounding the case;(4)
Consult with the child’s attorney regarding the issues in the proceeding;(5)
Communicate with health care, mental health care, and other professionals
involved with the child’s case;(6) Review educational, medical, and
psychological reports relating to the child and the respondents;(7) Review all
court related documents;(8) Attend all court hearings and other proceedings to
advocate for the child’s best interests;(9) Advocate for timely court hearings
to obtain permanency for the child;(10) Protect the cultural needs of the
child;(11) Contact the child prior to any proposed change in the child’s
placement;(12) Contact the child after changes in the child’s placement;(13)
Attend citizen panel review hearings concerning the child and if unable to
attend the hearings, forward to the panel a letter setting forth the child’s
status during the period since the last citizen panel review and include an
assessment of the DFCS permanency and treatment plans;(14) Provide written
reports to the court and the parties on the child’s best interests which shall
include, but not be limited to, recommendations regarding placement of the
child, updates on the child’s adjustment to placement, DFCS’ and respondent’s
compliance with prior court orders and treatment plans, the child’s degree of
participation during visitations, and any other recommendations based on the
best interests of the child;(15) When appropriate, encourage settlement and the
use of any alternative forms of dispute resolution and participate in such
processes to the extent permitted; and(16) Monitor compliance with the case plan
and all court orders.(d) A guardian ad litem shall receive notices, pleadings,
or other documents required to be provided to or served upon a party.(e) A
guardian ad litem shall not also serve as a child’s attorney.(f) Upon
presentation of an order appointing a guardian ad litem, such guardian ad litem
shall have access to all records and information relevant to a child’s case when
such records and information are not otherwise protected from disclosure
pursuant to Code Section 19-7-5. Such records and information shall not include
records and information provided under Article 12 of this chapter or provided
under Chapter 4A of Title 49.(g) All records and information acquired or
reviewed by a guardian ad litem during the course of his or her appointment
shall be deemed confidential and shall not be disclosed except as ordered by the
court.(h) Except as provided in Code Section 49-5-41, regarding access to
records, any guardian ad litem who discloses confidential information obtained
during the course of his or her appointment, in violation of law, shall be
guilty of a misdemeanor. A guardian ad litem shall maintain all information and
records regarding mental health, developmental disability, and substance abuse
according to the confidentiality requirements contained in Code Sections
37-3-166, 37-4-125, or 37-7-166, as applicable.(i) In the event of a change of
venue, the original guardian ad litem shall, as soon as possible, communicate
with the appointed guardian ad litem in the new venue and shall forward all
pertinent information to the new guardian ad litem.

15-11-106.(a) A guardian ad litem shall be entitled to:(1) Receive a copy of
each pleading or other record filed with the court in the proceedings; and(2)
Receive notice of, attend, and participate in each hearing in the
proceedings.(b) A guardian ad litem shall not engage in ex parte contact with
the court except as otherwise authorized by law.(c) A guardian ad litem shall
not take any action that may be taken only by an attorney licensed in this
state, including making opening and closing statements or examining witnesses in
court or engaging in discovery.(d) The court, the child, or any other party may
compel a guardian ad litem for a child to attend a trial or hearing relating to
the child and to testify as necessary for the proper disposition of a
proceeding.(e) The court shall ensure that any guardian ad litem for a child has
the opportunity to testify about his or her analysis or recommendations
regarding the best interests of the child in accordance with Title 24 or, if
present at the hearing and available for cross-examination, submit a report
setting forth:(1) The guardian ad litem’s recommendations regarding the best
interests of the child; and(2) The reasons for the guardian ad litem’s
recommendations, including the identification of any reports upon which he or
she has relied.(f) A guardian ad litem’s report shall not be admitted into
evidence prior to the disposition hearing except in accordance with Title 24.(g)
A guardian ad litem for a child may be called as a witness for the purpose of
cross-examination regarding the guardian ad litem’s report even if the guardian
ad litem is not listed as a witness by a party.

15-11-107.(a) A parent, guardian, or legal custodian’s reliance on prayer or
other religious nonmedical means for healing in lieu of medical care, in the
exercise of religious beliefs, shall not be the sole basis for considering his
or her child to be a deprived child; provided, however, that the religious
rights of a parent, guardian, or legal custodian shall not limit the access of a
child to medical care in a life-threatening situation or when the condition will
result in serious disability.(b) In order to make a determination as to whether
a child is in a life-threatening situation or that the child’s condition will
result in serious disability, the court may order a medical evaluation of the
child.(c) If the court determines, on the basis of any relevant evidence before
the court, including the court ordered medical evaluation and the affidavit of
the attending physician, that a child is in a life-threatening situation or that
a child’s condition will result in serious disability, the court may order that
medical treatment be provided for a child.(d) A child whose parent, guardian, or
legal custodian inhibits or interferes with the provision of medical treatment
in accordance with a court order shall be considered to be deprived and the
court may find the parent, guardian, or legal custodian in contempt and enter
any order authorized by and in accordance with the provisions of Code Section
15-11-30.

15-11-108.(a) The court shall give to all parties written notice of the date,
time, place, and purpose of the following postadjudication hearings or
reviews:(1) Nonreunification hearings;(2) Disposition hearings;(3) Periodic
review hearings;(4) Periodic reviews by judicial citizen review panel;(5)
Permanency plan hearings;(6) Termination of parental rights hearings; and(7)
Termination of parental rights review hearings.(b) Issuance and service of
summons, when appropriate, shall comply with the requirements of Code Sections
15-11-160 and 15-11-161.(c) Unless otherwise provided in this chapter, written
notice shall be delivered to the recipient at least 72 hours before the hearing
or review by United States mail, e-mail, or hand delivery at the discretion of
DFCS.

15-11-109.(a) In advance of each hearing or review, DFCS shall give written
notice of the date, time, place, and purpose of the review or hearing to the
caregiver of the child, the foster parent of the child, any preadoptive parent,
or any relative providing care for the child including the right to be heard.
The written notice shall be delivered to the recipient at least 72 hours before
the review or hearing by United States mail, e-mail, or hand delivery at the
discretion of DFCS.(b) Notice of a hearing or review shall not be construed to
require a legal custodian, foster parent, preadoptive parent, or relative caring
for the child to be made a party to the hearing or review solely on the basis of
such notice and opportunity to be heard.

15-11-110.(a) Upon written request of an attorney for the parent, guardian,
legal custodian, child, or petitioner, the court may continue any hearing under
this article beyond the time limit within which the hearing is otherwise
required to be held; provided, however, that no continuance shall be granted
that is contrary to the interests of the child. In considering a child’s
interests, the court shall give substantial weight to a child’s need for prompt
resolution of his or her custody status, the need to provide a child with a
stable environment, and the damage to a child of prolonged temporary
placements.(b) Continuances shall be granted only upon a showing of good cause
and only for that period of time shown to be necessary by the evidence presented
at the hearing on the motion. Whenever any continuance is granted, the facts
proved which require the continuance shall be entered in the court record.(c)
Written notice of a motion for continuance shall be filed at least two business
days prior to the date set for a hearing, together with affidavits or
declarations detailing specific facts showing why a continuance is necessary,
unless the court for good cause entertains an oral motion for continuance.(d) A
stipulation between attorneys or the convenience of the parties shall not
constitute good cause. Except as otherwise provided by judicial rules governing
attorney conflict resolution, a pending criminal prosecution or family law
matter shall not constitute good cause. The need for discovery shall not
constitute good cause.(e) In any case in which a parent, guardian, legal
custodian, or child is represented by an attorney and no objection is made to an
order continuing any such hearing beyond the time limit, the absence of such an
objection shall be deemed a consent to the continuance; provided, however, that
even with consent, the court shall decide whether to grant the continuance in
accordance with subsection (a) of this Code section.

15-11-111.(a) At any hearing held with respect to a child, the court in its
discretion, and based upon the evidence, may enter an order:(1) Accepting or
rejecting any DFCS report;(2) Ordering an additional evaluation; or(3)
Undertaking such other review as it deems necessary and appropriate to determine
the disposition that is in the child’s best interests.(b) The court’s order:(1)
May incorporate all or part of the DFCS report; and(2) Shall include findings of
fact which reflect the court’s consideration of the oral and written testimony
offered by all parties, as well as nonparties, who are required to be provided
with notice and a right to be heard in any hearing to be held with respect to
the child, and DFCS.

15-11-112.(a) When a child is removed from his or her home the court shall order
reasonable visitation that is consistent with the age and developmental needs of
the child if the court finds that it is in the child’s best interests. The
court’s order shall specify the frequency, duration, and terms of visitation
including whether or not visitation shall be supervised or unsupervised.(b)
There shall be a presumption that visitation shall be unsupervised unless the
court finds that unsupervised visitation is not in the child’s best
interests.(c) Within 30 days of the court finding that there is a lack of
substantial progress towards completion of a case plan, the court shall review
the terms of visitation and determine whether the terms continue to be
appropriate for the child or whether the terms need to be modified.

15-11-113.When a child is alleged to be deprived, the date the child is
considered to have entered foster care shall be the date of the first judicial
finding that a child has been subjected to child abuse or neglect or the date
that is 60 days after the date on which a child is removed from his or her home,
whichever is earlier.

Part 2

15-11-125.(a) A proceeding under this article may be commenced:(1) In the county
in which a child legally resides; or(2) In the county in which a child is
present when the proceeding is commenced if deprivation is alleged to have
occurred in that county.(b) For the convenience of the parties, the court may
transfer the proceeding to the county in which a child legally resides. If the
proceeding is transferred, certified copies of all legal and social documents
and records pertaining to the proceeding on file with the clerk of court shall
accompany the transfer.

Part 3

15-11-130.(a) Notwithstanding Code Sections 15-11-133 and 15-11-135, DFCS shall
be authorized to provide emergency care and supervision to any child without
seeking a court order for a period not to exceed seven days when:(1) As a result
of an emergency or illness, the person who has physical and legal custody of a
child is unable to provide for the care and supervision of the child, and such
person or a law enforcement officer, emergency personnel employed by a licensed
ambulance provider, fire rescue personnel, or a hospital administrator or his or
her designee requests that DFCS exercise such emergency custody; and(2) The
child is not at imminent risk of abuse or neglect, other than the risks arising
from being without a caretaker.(b) During the period when a child is in the
temporary care and supervision of DFCS, DFCS shall endeavor to place the child
with a relative of the parent, guardian, or legal custodian, in eligible shelter
care, or in emergency foster care or shall make other appropriate placement
arrangements. DFCS shall have the same rights and powers with regard to the
child as does the parent, guardian, or legal custodian including the right to
consent to medical treatment.(c) Immediately upon receiving custody of a child,
DFCS shall begin a diligent search for a relative or other designee of the
parent who can provide for the care and supervision of the child.(d) At any time
during such seven-day period, and upon notification to DFCS that the parent,
guardian, or legal custodian or a relative or designee thereof, is able to
provide care to and exercise control over the child, DFCS shall release the
child to the person having custody of the child at the time the child was taken
into DFCS custody or to such person’s relative or designee.(e) Upon the
expiration of such seven-day period, if the child has not been released or if
DFCS determines that there is an issue of neglect, abandonment, or abuse, DFCS
shall promptly contact a juvenile court intake officer or bring the child before
the juvenile court. If, upon making an investigation, the intake or other
authorized officer of the court finds that eligible shelter care is warranted
for the child, then, for purposes of this chapter, the child shall be deemed to
have been placed in eligible shelter care at the time such finding was made and
DFCS may file a deprivation petition.(f) DFCS and its successors, agents,
assigns, and employees shall be immune from any and all liability for providing
care and supervision in accordance with this Code section, for consenting to
medical treatment for the child, and for releasing the child.

15-11-131.(a) Notwithstanding Code Section 15-11-133, a physician, licensed to
practice medicine in this state who is treating a child may take or retain
temporary protective custody of the child, without a court order and without the
consent of a parent, guardian, or legal custodian, provided that:(1) The
physician has reasonable cause to believe that the child is in a circumstance or
condition that presents an imminent danger to the child’s life or health as a
result of suspected abuse or neglect; or(2) There is reasonable cause to believe
that the child has been abused or neglected and there is not sufficient time for
a court order to be obtained for temporary custody of the child before the child
may be removed from the presence of the physician.(b) A physician holding a
child in temporary protective custody shall:(1) Make reasonable and diligent
efforts to inform the parents, guardian, or legal custodian of the child of the
whereabouts of the child;(2) As soon as possible, make a report of the suspected
abuse or neglect which caused him or her to take temporary custody of the child
and inform DFCS that the child has been held in temporary custody; and(3) Not
later than 24 hours after the child is held in temporary custody:(A) Contact a
juvenile court intake officer, and inform such intake officer that the child is
in imminent danger to his or her life or health as a result of suspected abuse
or neglect; or(B) Contact a law enforcement officer who shall take the child and
promptly bring the child before a juvenile court intake officer.(c) A child who
meets the requirements for inpatient admission shall be retained in the hospital
or institution until such time as the child is medically ready for discharge.
Upon notification by the hospital or institution to DFCS that a child who is not
eligible for inpatient admission or who is medically ready for discharge has
been taken into custody by a physician and the child has been placed in DFCS
custody, DFCS shall take physical custody of the child within six hours of being
notified.(d) If the intake officer determines that the child is to be placed in
eligible shelter care and the court orders that the child be placed in DFCS
custody, then:(1) If the child remains in the physical care of the physician,
DFCS shall take physical possession of the child within six hours of being
notified by the physician, unless the child meets the criteria for admission to
a hospital or other medical institution or facility; or(2) If the child has been
brought before the court by a law enforcement officer, DFCS shall promptly take
physical possession of the child.(e) If the intake officer determines that the
child should not be placed in eligible shelter care, the child shall be
released.(f) If the child is placed in eligible shelter care, then the court
shall notify the child’s parents, guardian, or legal custodian, the physician,
and DFCS of the preliminary protective hearing which is to be held within 72
hours.(g) If after the preliminary protective hearing the child is not released,
DFCS shall file a petition alleging deprivation in accordance with this article,
provided that there is a continued belief that the child’s life or health is in
danger as a result of suspected abuse or neglect.(h) Any hospital or physician
authorized and acting in good faith and in accordance with acceptable medical
practice in the treatment of a child under this Code section shall have immunity
from any liability, civil or criminal, that might otherwise be incurred or
imposed as a result of taking or failing to take any action pursuant to this
Code section. This Code section shall not be construed as imposing any
additional duty not already otherwise imposed by law.

15-11-132.(a) In exceptional circumstances the facts supporting the issuance of
an order of removal and the exceptional circumstances may be relayed orally,
including telephonically, to the judge or a designated judicial intake officer,
and the order directing that a child be taken into custody may be issued orally
or electronically.(b) When a child is taken into custody under exceptional
circumstances, an affidavit or sworn complaint containing the information
previously relayed orally, including telephonically, shall be filed with the
clerk of the court the next business day, and a written order shall be issued if
not previously issued. The written order shall include the court’s findings of
fact supporting the necessity for the child’s removal in order to safeguard the
child’s welfare and shall designate the child’s legal custodian.(c) The
affidavit or sworn complaint filed after the child has been placed shall
indicate whether the child was released to the child’s parent, guardian, or
legal custodian or remains removed.(d) DFCS shall promptly notify the parent,
guardian, or legal custodian of the nature of the allegations and, if the child
is not released, of the time and place of the preliminary protective hearing.

15-11-133.(a) A child may be removed from his or her home, without the consent
of the child’s parents, guardian, or legal custodian:(1) Pursuant to an order of
the court under this article; or(2) By a law enforcement officer or duly
authorized officer of the court if the child is in imminent danger of abuse or
neglect if he or she remains in the home.(b) Upon removing a child from his or
her home, the law enforcement officer or duly authorized officer of the court
shall:(1) Immediately deliver the child to a medical facility if the child is
believed to suffer from a serious physical condition or illness which requires
prompt treatment, and, upon delivery, shall promptly contact DFCS;(2) Bring the
child immediately before the juvenile court or promptly contact a juvenile court
intake officer; and(3) Promptly give notice to the court and the child’s
parents, guardian, or legal custodian that the child is in protective custody,
together with a statement of the reasons for taking the child into protective
custody.(c) The removal of child from his or her home by a law enforcement
officer shall not be deemed an arrest.(d) A law enforcement officer removing a
child from his or her home has all the privileges and immunities of a law
enforcement officer making an arrest.(e) DFCS shall promptly contact a juvenile
court intake officer for issuance of a court order upon being notified by a law
enforcement or a duly authorized officer of the court that such officer has
taken a child into protective custody and delivered the child to a medical
facility.(f) An intake officer shall immediately determine if the child should
be released, remain in protective custody, or be brought before the court upon
being contacted by a law enforcement officer, duly authorized officer of the
court, or DFCS that a child has been taken into protective custody.

15-11-134.(a) Any order authorizing the removal of a child from his or her home
shall be based on a finding by the court that:(1) Continuation in the home would
be contrary to the child’s welfare; and(2) Removal is in the child’s best
interests.(b) Such findings shall be made on an individualized case-by-case
basis and shall be documented in the court’s written order.

15-11-135.(a) A child taken into custody shall not be placed in eligible shelter
care prior to the hearing on the petition unless:(1) Eligible shelter care is
required to protect the child;(2) The child has no parent, guardian, or legal
custodian or other person able to provide supervision and care and return him or
her to the court when required; or(3) An order for the child’s eligible shelter
care has been made by the court.(b) No child alleged or adjudicated to be
deprived shall be detained in any jail, adult lockup, or adult detention
facility, nor shall a child be detained in a regional youth detention center or
youth development campus unless the child is also alleged or adjudicated to be
delinquent, and the court determines that the requirements for detention under
Article 7 of this chapter are met.(c) A child alleged to be deprived may be
placed in eligible shelter care only in:(1) A licensed foster home or a home
approved by the court which may be a public or private home or the home of the
noncustodial parent or of a relative;(2) A facility operated by a licensed child
welfare agency; or(3) A licensed shelter care facility approved by the court.(d)
The actual physical placement of a child pursuant to this Code section shall
require the approval of the judge of the juvenile court or his or her
designee.(e) In any case in which a child is taken into protective custody, the
child shall be placed together with any siblings who are also in protective
custody, to the extent that it is practical and appropriate, or DFCS shall
include a statement in its report and case plan of continuing efforts to place
the siblings together or why such efforts are not appropriate.

Part 4

15-11-145.(a) If a child alleged to be deprived is removed from his or her home
and is not returned home, the preliminary protective hearing shall be held
promptly and not later than 72 hours after the child is placed in eligible
shelter care; provided, however, that if the 72 hour time frame expires on a
weekend or legal holiday, the hearing shall be held on the next day which is not
a weekend or legal holiday.(b) Reasonable oral or written notice of the
preliminary protective hearing, stating the time, place, and purpose of the
hearing, shall be given to the child and, if such person can be found, to the
child’s parent, guardian, or legal custodian.(c) If a parent, guardian, or legal
custodian has not been notified of the preliminary protective hearing and did
not appear or waive appearance at such hearing and thereafter files an affidavit
showing such facts, the court shall rehear the matter without unnecessary delay
and shall order the child’s release unless it appears from such hearing that the
child’s eligible shelter care is warranted or required.(d) The following persons
shall have the right to participate in the preliminary protective hearing:(1)
The child’s parent, guardian, or legal custodian, unless such person cannot be
located or fails to appear in response to the notice;(2) The child’s attorney
and guardian ad litem if a guardian ad litem has been appointed;(3) The child,
unless the court finds, after considering evidence of harm to the child that
will result from the child’s presence at the proceeding, that being present is
not in the child’s best interests;(4) The parent’s attorney if an attorney has
been retained or appointed;(5) The assigned DFCS caseworker; and(6) The attorney
for DFCS.(e) The court may allow the following parties to be present at the
preliminary protective hearing, if the court finds it is in the best interests
of the child:(1) Any relative or other person who has demonstrated an ongoing
commitment to the child with whom the child might be placed;(2) An advocate as
requested by the parent, guardian, or legal custodian; and(3) Other persons who
have knowledge of or an interest in the welfare of the child.(f) At the
commencement of the preliminary protective hearing, the court shall inform the
parties of:(1) The contents of the complaint in terms understandable to the
child and parent, guardian, or legal custodian;(2) The nature of the proceedings
in terms understandable to the child and parent, guardian, or legal
custodian;(3) Their due process rights including their right to an attorney and
to an appointed attorney if they are indigent persons, the right to call
witnesses and to cross-examine all witnesses, the right to present evidence, and
the right to a trial by the court on the allegations in the complaint or
petition.(g) If the child is not released at the preliminary protective hearing,
a petition for deprivation shall be made and presented to the court within five
days of such hearing.

15-11-146.(a) At the preliminary protective hearing, the court shall
determine:(1) Whether there is probable cause to believe the child is deprived;
and(2) That protective custody of the child is necessary to prevent abuse or
neglect pending the hearing on the deprivation petition.(b) The court:(1) On
finding that the complainant has not proved either of the required elements
prescribed in subsection (a) of this Code section, shall dismiss the case and
shall return the child to the child’s parent, guardian, or legal custodian;(2)
On finding that the complainant has not met the burden of proving that
protective custody is necessary, shall return the child to the child’s parent,
guardian, or legal custodian pending the hearing on the deprivation petition;
or(3) On finding that the complainant has met the burden prescribed in
subsection (a) of this Code section, may place the child in the temporary
custody of DFCS pending the hearing on the deprivation petition.(c) A court’s
order removing a child from the child’s home shall be based upon a finding
that:(1) Continuation in the home would be contrary to the child’s welfare;
and(2) Removal is in the child’s best interests.(d) The court shall make written
findings as to whether DFCS has made reasonable efforts to prevent or eliminate
the need for removal of the child from the home and to make it possible for the
child to safely return home. When the court finds that no services were provided
but that reasonable services would not have eliminated the need for protective
custody, the court shall consider DFCS to have made reasonable efforts to
prevent or eliminate the need for protective custody. The court shall include in
the written findings a brief description of what preventive and reunification
efforts were made by DFCS.(e) In determining whether a child shall be removed or
continued out of the home, the court shall consider whether the provision of
reasonable services can prevent or eliminate the need to separate the family.
The court shall make a written finding in every order of removal that describes
why it is in the best interests of the child that the child be removed from the
home or continued in eligible shelter care.(f) To aid the court in making the
required written findings, DFCS shall present written documentation to the court
outlining the reasonable efforts made to prevent taking the child into
protective custody and to provide services to make it possible for the child to
safely return home and why protective custody is in the best interests of the
child.

Part 5

15-11-150.A petition alleging deprivation may be made by DFCS or a law
enforcement officer who has knowledge of the facts alleged or is informed of the
facts alleged and believes that such facts are true.

15-11-151.(a) If a child was removed from his or her home, the petition alleging
deprivation shall be filed within five days of the preliminary protective
hearing.(b) If the child was never removed from his or her home or if the child
was removed from his or her home but was released from protective custody at the
preliminary protective hearing, the petition alleging deprivation shall be filed
within 30 days of the child’s release.(c) Upon a showing of good cause and
notice to all parties, the court may grant a requested extension of time for
filing a petition alleging deprivation in accordance with the best interests of
the child. The court shall issue a written order reciting the facts justifying
the extension.(d) If a petition alleging deprivation is not filed within the
required time frame, the complaint shall be dismissed without prejudice.

15-11-152.A petition alleging deprivation shall be verified and may be on
information and belief and shall set forth plainly and with particularity:(1)
The facts which bring the child within the jurisdiction of the court, with a
statement that it is in the best interests of the child and the public that the
proceeding be brought;(2) The name, date of birth, and residence address of the
child on whose behalf the petition is brought;(3) The name and residence address
of the parent, guardian, or legal custodian of the child; or, if the child’s
parent, guardian, or legal custodian resides or cannot be found within the state
or if such person’s place of residence address is unknown, the name of any known
adult relative residing within the county or, if there is none, the known adult
relative residing nearest to the location of the court;(4) Whether the child is
in protective custody and, if so, the place of his or her eligible shelter care
and the time the child was taken into protective custody; and(5) Whether any of
the matters required by this Code section are unknown.

15-11-153.(a) The petitioner may amend the petition alleging delinquency at any
time:(1) To cure defects of form; and(2) Prior to the adjudication hearing, to
include new allegations of fact or requests for adjudication.(b) When the
petition is amended to include new allegations of fact or requests for
adjudication, the petition shall be served in accordance with Code Sections
15-11-160 and 15-11-161.(c) The court shall grant the parties such additional
time to prepare as may be required to ensure a full and fair hearing; provided,
however, that when a child is in protective custody or in detention, the
adjudication hearing shall not be delayed more than ten days beyond the time
originally fixed for the hearing.

Part 6

15-11-160.(a) The court shall direct the issuance of a summons to the child if
the child is 14 years of age or older, the child’s parent, guardian, or legal
custodian, the child’s attorney, the child’s guardian ad litem, if any, and any
other persons who appear to the court to be proper or necessary parties to the
proceeding, requiring them to appear before the court at the time fixed to
answer the allegations of the petition alleging deprivation. A copy of the
petition alleging deprivation shall accompany the summons unless the summons is
served by publication, in which case the published summons shall indicate the
general nature of the allegations and where a copy of the petition alleging
deprivation can be obtained.(b) The summons shall state that a party is entitled
to an attorney in the proceedings and that the court will appoint an attorney if
the party is unable without undue financial hardship to employ an attorney.(c)
The court may endorse upon the summons an order directing the parent, guardian,
or legal custodian of the child to appear personally at the hearing and
directing the person having the physical custody or control of the child to
bring the child to the hearing.(d) A party other than the child may waive
service of summons by written stipulation or by voluntary appearance at the
hearing.

15-11-161.(a) If a party to be served with a summons is within this state and
can be found, the summons shall be served upon him or her personally as soon as
possible and at least 24 hours before the adjudication hearing.(b) If a party to
be served is within this state and cannot be found but his or her address is
known or can be ascertained with reasonable diligence, the summons shall be
served upon such party at least five days before the adjudication hearing by
mailing him or her a copy by registered or certified mail or statutory overnight
delivery, return receipt requested.(c) If a party to be served is outside this
state but his or her address is known or can be ascertained with reasonable
diligence, service of the summons shall be made at least five days before the
adjudication hearing either by delivering a copy to such party personally or by
mailing a copy to him or her by registered or certified mail or statutory
overnight delivery, return receipt requested.(d) If, after reasonable effort, a
party to be served with a summons cannot be found and such party’s address
cannot be ascertained, whether he or she is within or outside this state, the
court may order service of the summons upon him or her by publication. The
adjudication hearing shall not be earlier than five days after the date of the
last publication.(e)(1) Service by publication shall be made once a week for
four consecutive weeks in the official organ of the county where the petition
alleging deprivation has been filed. Service shall be deemed complete upon the
date of the last publication.(2) When served by publication, the notice shall
contain the names of the parties, except that the anonymity of the child shall
be preserved by the use of appropriate initials, and the date the petition
alleging deprivation was filed. The notice shall indicate the general nature of
the allegations and where a copy of the petition alleging deprivation can be
obtained and require the party to be served by publication to appear before the
court at the time fixed to answer the allegations of the petition alleging
deprivation.(3) Within 15 days after the filing of the order of service by
publication, the clerk of court shall mail a copy of the notice, a copy of the
order of service by publication, and a copy of the petition alleging deprivation
to the last known address of the party being served by publication.(f) Service
of the summons may be made by any suitable person under the direction of the
court.(g) The court may authorize the payment from county funds of the costs of
service and of necessary travel expenses incurred by persons summoned or
otherwise required to appear at the hearing.

15-11-162.(a) In the event a parent, guardian, or legal custodian of the child
willfully fails to appear personally at a hearing after being ordered to so
appear or the parent, guardian, or legal custodian of the child willfully fails
to bring the child to a hearing after being so directed, the court may issue an
order against the person, directing the person to appear before the court to
show cause why he or she should not be held in contempt of court.(b) If the
parent, guardian, or legal custodian fails to appear in response to an order to
show cause, the court may issue a bench warrant directing that the parent,
guardian, or legal custodian be brought before the court without delay to show
cause why he or she should not be held in contempt and the court may enter any
order authorized by and in accordance with the provisions of Code Section
15-11-30.

15-11-163.(a) If service of summons upon a party is made by publication, the
court may conduct a provisional hearing upon the allegations of the petition
alleging deprivation and enter an interlocutory order of disposition if:(1) The
petition alleges deprivation of the child;(2) The summons served upon any
party:(A) States that prior to the final hearing on such petition a provisional
hearing will be held at a specified time and place;(B) Requires the party who is
served other than by publication to appear and answer the allegations of the
petition alleging deprivation at the provisional hearing;(C) States further that
findings of fact and orders of disposition made pursuant to the provisional
hearing will become final at the final hearing unless the party served by
publication appears at the final hearing; and(D) Otherwise conforms to the
requirements of Code Section 15-11-160; and(3) The child is personally before
the court at the provisional hearing.(b) Findings of fact and orders of
disposition shall have only interlocutory effect pending final hearing on the
petition alleging deprivation.(c) If the party served by publication fails to
appear at the final hearing on the petition alleging deprivation, the findings
of fact and interlocutory orders made shall become final without further
evidence. If the party appears at the final hearing, the findings and orders
shall be vacated and disregarded and the hearing shall proceed upon the
allegations of such petition without regard to this Code section.

Part 7

15-11-170.Chapter 11 of Title 9, the ‘Georgia Civil Practice Act,’ shall govern
discovery in proceedings in juvenile court, except as otherwise provided in this
Code section as follows:(1) Upon presentation by the child’s attorney and
guardian ad litem, if any, of the order of appointment which contains an order
for exchange of information, any state or local agency, department, authority,
or institution and any school, hospital, physician, or other health or mental
health care provider shall permit the child’s attorney and guardian ad litem, if
any, to inspect and copy any records relating to the child involved in the case
without the consent of the child or the child’s parent, guardian, or legal
custodian;(2) Unless a shorter time frame is ordered by the court, a party
receiving a written request for discovery shall comply with the written request
within ten days or provide a written explanation of the reasons for
noncompliance to the parties and the court; and(3) No deposition shall be taken
of a child unless the court orders the deposition, under such conditions as the
court may order, on the ground that the deposition would further the purposes of
this chapter.

Part 8

15-11-180.The petitioner shall have the burden of proving the allegations of a
deprivation petition by clear and convincing evidence.

15-11-181.(a) The court shall fix a time for the adjudication hearing. If the
child is in eligible shelter care, the hearing shall be held no later than ten
days after the filing of the petition alleging deprivation. If the child is not
in eligible shelter care, the adjudication hearing shall be held no later than
60 days after the filing of the petition alleging deprivation. If adjudication
is not completed within 60 days from the date the child was taken into
protective custody, the petition alleging deprivation may be dismissed without
prejudice.(b) The following persons shall have the right to participate in the
adjudication hearing:(1) The child’s parent, guardian, or legal custodian,
unless such person cannot be located or fails to appear in response to the
notice;(2) The child’s attorney and guardian ad litem, if a guardian ad litem
has been appointed;(3) The child, unless the court finds, after considering
evidence of harm to the child that will result from the child’s presence at the
proceeding, that being present is not in the child’s best interests;(4) The
attorneys for the parent, guardian, or legal custodian if attorneys have been
retained or appointed;(5) The assigned DFCS caseworker; and(6) The attorney for
DFCS.(c) If the court finds it is in the best interests of the child, the court
may allow the following to be present at the adjudication hearing:(1) Any
relative or other person who has demonstrated an ongoing commitment to the child
with whom the child might be placed;(2) An advocate as requested by the parent,
guardian, or legal custodian; and(3) Other persons who have knowledge of or an
interest in the welfare of the child.(d) Except as provided in this subsection,
the adjudication hearing shall be conducted in accordance with Title 24.
Testimony or other evidence relevant to the deprivation of a child or the cause
of such condition may not be excluded on any ground of privilege, except in the
case of:(1) Communications between a party and his or her attorney; and(2)
Confessions or communications between a priest, rabbi, or duly ordained minister
or similar functionary and his or her confidential communicant.(e) After hearing
the evidence, the court shall make and file specific written findings as to
whether the child is a deprived child.(f) If the court finds that the child is
not a deprived child, it shall dismiss the petition alleging deprivation and
order the child discharged from eligible shelter care or other restriction
previously ordered.(g) If the court finds that the child is deprived, the court
shall proceed immediately or at a postponed hearing to make a proper disposition
of the case.(h) If the court finds that a child is deprived, the court shall
also make and file a finding whether such deprivation is the result of alcohol
abuse or drug abuse by a parent, guardian, or legal custodian.(i) If the
disposition hearing is held on the same day as the adjudication hearing, the
court shall schedule the dates and times for the first periodic review hearing
and for the permanency plan hearing.

Part 9

15-11-190.If the allegations of the petition alleging deprivation are admitted
or after an adjudication hearing the court has found the child to be deprived,
the court may direct that a written social study and report be made by DFCS.

15-11-191.Each social study shall include, but shall not be limited to, a
factual discussion of each of the following subjects:(1) What plan, if any, for
the return of the child to his or her parent and for achieving legal permanency
for the child if efforts to reunify fail, is recommended to the court;(2)
Whether the best interests of the child will be served by granting reasonable
visitation rights to his or her grandparents or other relatives, in order to
maintain and strengthen the child’s family relationships;(3) Whether the child
has siblings under the court’s jurisdiction, and, if so:(A) The nature of the
relationship between the child and his or her sibling;(B) Whether the siblings
were raised together in the same home and whether the siblings have shared
significant common experiences or have existing close and strong bonds;(C)
Whether the child expresses a desire to visit or live with his or her sibling
and whether ongoing contact is in the child’s best interests;(D) The
appropriateness of developing or maintaining the sibling relationships;(E) If
the siblings are not placed together in the same home, why the siblings are not
placed together and what efforts are being made to place the siblings together
or why those efforts are not appropriate;(F) If the siblings are not placed
together, the frequency and nature of the visits between siblings; and(G) The
impact of the sibling relationship on the child’s placement and planning for
legal permanence;(4) The appropriateness of any relative placement; and(5)
Whether the caregiver desires and is willing to provide legal permanency for the
child if reunification is unsuccessful.

Part 10

15-11-200.(a) Within 30 days of the date a child who is placed in DFCS custody
is removed from the home and at each subsequent review of the disposition order,
DFCS shall submit a written report to the court which shall either:(1) Include a
case plan for a reunification of the family; or(2) Include a statement of the
factual basis for determining that a plan for reunification is not
appropriate.(b) The report submitted by DFCS shall become a discrete part of the
case record in a format determined by DFCS and shall be made available to the
child if the child is 14 years of age or older, the child’s attorney, the
child’s guardian ad litem, if any, and the parent, guardian, or legal custodian
of the child. The contents of the report shall be determined at a meeting to be
held by DFCS in consultation with the judicial citizen review panel, if one is
designated by the court for such purpose, and the parent, guardian, or legal
custodian and child, when available. The parent, guardian, or legal custodian,
the child if the child is 14 years of age or older, the child’s attorney, and
the child’s guardian ad litem, if any, shall be given written notice of the
meeting at least five days in advance of such meeting and shall be advised that
the report will be submitted to the court for consideration as an order of the
court. The report submitted to the court shall also contain any dissenting
recommendations of the judicial citizen review panel, if applicable, and any
recommendations of the parent, guardian, or legal custodian, if such are
available.(c) If the court adopts a report that contains a case plan for
reunification services, it shall be in effect until modification by the court.
The case plan shall address each reason requiring removal and shall, at a
minimum, comply with the requirements of Code Section 15-11-201.(d) If the
submitted report contains a proposed case plan for reunification services:(1)
DFCS shall provide the caregiver, the foster parent, and any preadoptive parent
or relative providing care for the child with a copy of those portions of the
court approved case plan that involve the permanency goal and the services to be
provided to the child;(2) A copy of the report and case plan shall be delivered
to the parent, guardian, or legal custodian by United States mail, e-mail, or
hand delivery at the discretion of DFCS at the same time the report and case
plan are transmitted to the court, along with written notice that the report
will be considered by the court without a hearing unless, within five days from
the date the copy of the report and case plan were delivered, the parent,
guardian, or legal custodian requests a hearing before the court to review the
report and case plan; and(3) If no hearing is requested, the court shall enter a
disposition order or supplemental order incorporating all elements of the case
plan for reunification services which the court finds essential to
reunification, specifying what shall be accomplished by all parties before
reunification of the family can be achieved.(e) When a recommendation is made
that reunification services are not appropriate and should not be allowed, the
report submitted by DFCS shall address each reason requiring removal and shall
contain at least the following:(1) The purpose for which the child was placed in
eligible shelter care, including a statement of the reasons why the child cannot
be adequately and safely protected at home and the harm which may occur if the
child remains in the home and a description of the services offered and the
services provided to prevent removal of the child from the home; and(2) A clear
statement describing all of the reasons supporting a finding that reunification
of a child with the child’s parent will be detrimental to the child and that
reunification services therefore need not be provided, including specific
findings as to whether any of the grounds for terminating parental rights exist.

15-11-201.(a) The case plan shall be designed to achieve placement in the most
appropriate, least restrictive, and most family-like setting available and in
close proximity to the parent’s home, consistent with the best interests and
special needs of the child, and which considers the placement’s proximity to the
school in which the child is enrolled at the time of placement.(b) The case plan
shall be developed by DFCS and the child’s parent, guardian, or legal custodian.
The case plan shall include, but shall not be limited to, all of the
following:(1) A description of the circumstances that resulted in the child
being placed under the jurisdiction of the court and in eligible shelter
care;(2) An assessment of the child’s and family’s strengths and needs and the
type of placement best equipped to meet those needs;(3) A description of the
type of home or institution in which the child is to be placed, including a
discussion of the safety and appropriateness of the placement;(4) Specific
time-limited goals and related activities designed to enable the safe return of
the child to his or her home, or, in the event that return to his or her home is
not possible, activities designed to result in permanent placement or
emancipation;(5) Assignment of specific responsibility for accomplishing the
planned activities;(6) The projected date of completion of the case plan
objectives;(7) The date time-limited services will be terminated;(8) A schedule
of visits between the child and his or her siblings and other appropriate family
members and an explanation if no visits are scheduled;(9) When placement is made
in a foster family home, group home, or other child care institution that is
either a substantial distance from the home of the child’s parent, guardian, or
legal custodian or out-of-state, the case plan shall specify the reasons why the
placement is the most appropriate and is in the best interests of the child;(10)
When an out-of-state group home placement is recommended or made, the case plan
shall comply with Code Section 39-3-2, the Interstate Compact on the Placement
of Children. In addition, documentation of the recommendation of the
multidisciplinary team and the rationale for such particular placement shall be
included. The case plan shall also address what in-state services or facilities
were used or considered and why they were not recommended;(11) If applicable, a
summary of efforts made to place siblings together, unless it has been
determined that placement together is not in the best interests of one or more
siblings;(12) An account of health and education information about the child
including school records, immunizations, known medical problems, any known
medications the child may be taking, names and addresses of the child’s health
and educational providers; the child’s grade level performance; assurances that
the child’s placement in foster care takes into account proximity to the school
in which the child was enrolled at the time of placement; and other relevant
health and educational information;(13) A recommendation for a permanency plan
for the child. If, after considering reunification, adoptive placement, or
permanent guardianship, DFCS recommends placement in another planned permanent
living arrangement, the case plan shall include documentation of a compelling
reason or reasons why termination of parental rights is not in the child’s best
interests. For purposes of this paragraph, a ‘compelling reason’ shall have the
same meaning as in paragraph (2) of subsection (b) of Code Section
15-11-233;(14) A statement that the parent, guardian, or legal custodian and the
child have had an opportunity to participate in the development of the case
plan, to review the case plan, to sign the case plan, and to receive a copy of
the plan, or an explanation about why he or she was not able to participate or
sign the case plan;(15) For a child in out-of-home care who is 14 years of age
or older, a written description of the programs and services which will help the
child prepare for the transition from foster care to independent living; and(16)
The identity of the person within DFCS or other agency who is directly
responsible for ensuring that the case plan is implemented.

15-11-202.(a) Except as provided in subsection (a) of Code Section 15-11-203,
reasonable efforts shall be made to preserve or reunify families:(1) Prior to
the placement of a child in DFCS custody to prevent the need for removing the
child from the child’s home; or(2) To eliminate the need for removal and make it
possible for a child to return safely to the child’s home at the earliest
possible time.(b) In determining reasonable efforts to be made with respect to a
child and in making such reasonable efforts, the child’s health and safety shall
be the paramount concern.(c) Reasonable efforts are made upon the exercise of
due diligence by DFCS to use appropriate services to meet the needs of the child
and the child’s family. Services may include those provided by DFCS and other
services available in the community.(d) The court shall be required to review
the appropriateness of DFCS’ reasonable efforts at each stage of the
proceedings.(e)(1) At the preliminary protective hearing, DFCS has the burden of
demonstrating that:(A) It has made reasonable efforts to prevent placement of a
child in eligible shelter care;(B) There are no appropriate services or efforts
which could allow the child to safely remain in the home given the particular
circumstances of the child and family at the time of the child’s removal; or(C)
Reasonable efforts to prevent placement and to reunify the child with the
child’s family are not required because of the existence of one or more of the
circumstances enumerated in subsection (a) of Code Section 15-11-203.(2) At the
adjudication hearing, DFCS has the burden of demonstrating that:(A) It has made
reasonable efforts to eliminate the need for removal of the child from the
child’s home and to reunify the child with the child’s family at the earliest
possible time; or(B) Reasonable efforts to prevent placement and to reunify the
child with the child’s family are not required because of the existence of one
or more of the circumstances enumerated in subsection (a) of Code Section
15-11-203.(3) At every other hearing, DFCS has the burden of demonstrating
that:(A) It has made reasonable efforts to eliminate the need for removal of the
child from the child’s home and to reunify the child with the child’s family at
the earliest possible time; or(B) It has made reasonable efforts to finalize an
alternative permanent home for the child.(f) When determining whether reasonable
efforts have been made, the court shall consider whether services to the child
and family were:(1) Relevant to the safety and protection of the child;(2)
Adequate to meet the needs of the child and family;(3) Culturally
appropriate;(4) Available and accessible;(5) Consistent and timely; and(6)
Realistic under the circumstances.(g) A finding that reasonable efforts have not
been made shall not preclude the entry of an order authorizing the child’s
placement when the court finds that placement is necessary for the protection of
the child. When efforts to prevent the need for the child’s placement were
precluded by an immediate threat of harm to the child, the court may find that
the placement of the child in the absence of such efforts was reasonable.(h)
Reasonable efforts to place a child for adoption or with a guardian or legal
custodian may be made concurrently with reasonable efforts to reunify. When DFCS
decides to concurrently make reasonable efforts for both reunification and
permanent placement away from the parent, guardian, or legal custodian, DFCS
shall disclose its decision and both plans to all parties and the court. When
DFCS discloses its decision to proceed on both plans, the court’s review of
reasonable efforts shall include efforts under both plans.(i) An order placing
or continuing the placement of a child in DFCS custody shall contain, but shall
not be limited to, written findings of facts stating:(1) That the child’s
continuation in or return to the child’s own home would be contrary to the
child’s welfare;(2) Whether reasonable efforts have been made to prevent or
eliminate the need for placement of the child, unless the court has determined
that such efforts are not required or shall cease; and(3) Whether reasonable
efforts should continue to be made to prevent or eliminate the need for
placement, unless the court has previously determined that such efforts are not
required or shall cease.

15-11-203.(a) The court may direct that reasonable efforts to eliminate the need
for placement of the child shall not be required or shall cease if the court
determines and makes written findings of fact that:(1) The parent has subjected
the child to aggravated circumstances;(2) The parent has been convicted of the
murder of another child of the parent;(3) The parent has been convicted of the
voluntary manslaughter of another child of the parent;(4) The parent has been
convicted of the voluntary manslaughter of the other parent of the child;(5) The
parent has been convicted of aiding or abetting, attempting, conspiring, or
soliciting to commit murder or voluntary manslaughter of another child of the
parent;(6) The parent has been convicted of aiding or abetting, attempting,
conspiring, or soliciting to commit murder or voluntary manslaughter of the
other parent of the child;(7) The parent has been convicted of committing a
felony assault that results in serious bodily injury to the child or another
child of the parent; or(8) The parental rights of the parent to a sibling have
been terminated involuntarily and the circumstances leading to the termination
of parental rights to that sibling have not been resolved.(b) If the court
determines that one or more of the circumstances enumerated in subsection (a) of
this Code section exist or DFCS has submitted a written report to the court
which does not contain a plan for reunification services then:(1) A permanency
plan hearing shall be held for the child within 30 days; and(2) Reasonable
efforts shall be made to place the child in a timely manner in accordance with
the permanency plan and to complete whatever steps are necessary to finalize the
permanent placement of the child.

15-11-204.(a) If the DFCS report does not contain a plan for reunification
services, the court shall hold a nonreunification hearing to review the report
and the determination that a plan for reunification services is not
appropriate.(b) The nonreunification hearing shall be held no later than 30 days
from the time the DFCS report is filed. Notice of the nonreunification hearing
shall be provided, by summons, to the child if the child is 14 years of age or
older, the child’s parent, guardian, or legal custodian, the child’s attorney,
the child’s guardian ad litem, if any, and specified nonparties entitled to
notice.(c) At the nonreunification hearing:(1) DFCS shall notify the court
whether and when it intends to proceed with termination of parental rights;
and(2) The court shall also hold a permanency plan hearing, at which the court
shall consider in-state and out-of-state permanent placement options for the
child, and shall incorporate a permanency plan for the child in its order.(d)
DFCS shall have the burden of demonstrating by clear and convincing evidence
that a reunification plan is not appropriate considering the health and safety
of the child and the child’s need for permanence. There shall be a presumption
that reunification services are detrimental to the child and should not be
provided if the court finds by clear and convincing evidence that:(1) The parent
has unjustifiably failed to comply with a previously ordered plan designed to
reunite the family;(2) A child has been removed from the home on at least two
previous occasions and reunification services were made available on those
occasions;(3) A ground for terminating parental rights exists; or(4) Any of the
circumstances set out in subsection (a) of Code Section 15-11-203 exist, making
it unnecessary to provide reasonable efforts to reunify.(e) If the court has
entered an order finding that reasonable efforts to reunify a child with his or
her family are not required but the court finds further that referral for
termination of parental rights and adoption is not in the best interests of the
child, the court may, upon proper petition, enter a custody order, which shall
remain in effect until the child’s eighteenth birthday, placing the child in the
custody of a permanent guardian pursuant to the provisions of this article.Part
11

15-11-210.(a) If not held in conjunction with the adjudication hearing, the
disposition hearing shall be held and completed within 30 days after the
conclusion of the adjudication hearing.(b) The court may consider any evidence,
including hearsay evidence, that the court finds to be relevant, reliable, and
necessary to determine the needs of the child and the most appropriate
disposition.(c) Before determining the appropriate disposition, the court shall
receive in evidence:(1) The social study report, if applicable, made by DFCS and
the child’s proposed written case plan. The social study report and case plan
shall be filed with the court not less than 48 hours before the disposition
hearing;(2) Any study or evaluation made by a guardian ad litem appointed by the
court;(3) Any psychological, medical, developmental, or educational study or
evaluation of the child; and(4) Other relevant and material evidence as may be
offered, including, but not limited to, the willingness of the caregiver to
provide legal permanency for the child if reunification is unsuccessful.(d)
Prior to the disposition hearing, and upon request, the parties and their
attorneys shall be afforded an opportunity to examine any written reports
received by the court.(e)(1) Portions of written reports received by the court
which are not relied on by the court in reaching its decision, which if revealed
would be prejudicial to the interests of the child or any party to the
proceeding, may be withheld in the court’s discretion. Confidential sources of
information need not be disclosed.(2) Parties and their attorneys shall be given
the opportunity to controvert written reports received by the court and to
cross-examine individuals making such reports.(f) At the conclusion of the
disposition hearing, the court shall set the time and date for the first
periodic review hearing and the permanency plan hearing.

15-11-211.(a) Before final disposition, a reasonably diligent search for a
parent or relative of the child or other persons who have demonstrated an
ongoing commitment to the child shall be conducted by DFCS.(b) The search
required by subsection (a) of this Code section shall be completed, documented
in writing, and filed with the court within 30 days from the date on which the
child was removed from the home.(c) After the completion of the search required
by subsection (a) of this Code section, DFCS shall have a continuing duty to
search for relatives or other persons who have demonstrated an ongoing
commitment to the child and with whom it may be appropriate to place the child
until such relatives or persons are found or until the child is placed for
adoption unless DFCS is excused from such search by the court.

15-11-212.(a) The court may make any of the following orders of disposition or a
combination of those best suited to the protection and physical, emotional,
mental, and moral welfare of the child:(1) Permit the child to remain with his
or her parent, guardian, or legal custodian subject to conditions and
limitations as the court prescribes, including supervision as directed by the
court for the protection of the child;(2) Grant or transfer temporary legal
custody to any of these persons or entities:(A) Any individual, including a
biological parent, who, after study by the probation officer or other person or
agency designated by the court, is found by the court to be qualified to receive
and care for the child;(B) An agency or other private organization licensed or
otherwise authorized by law to receive and provide care for the child;(C) Any
public agency authorized by law to receive and provide care for the child;
provided, however, that for the purpose of this Code section, the term ‘public
agency’ shall not include DJJ; or(D) An individual in another state with or
without supervision by an appropriate officer pursuant to the requirements of
the Code Section 29-3-2, the Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children;(3)
Transfer jurisdiction over the child in accordance with the requirements of Code
Section 29-3-2, the Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children;(4) Order
the child and such child’s parent, guardian, or legal custodian to participate
in counseling or in counsel and advice as determined by the court. Such
counseling and counsel and advice may be provided by the court, court personnel,
probation officers, professional counselors or social workers, psychologists,
physicians, qualified volunteers, or appropriate public, private, or volunteer
agencies as directed by the court and shall be designed to assist in deterring
future conditions of deprivation or other conduct or conditions which would be
harmful to the child or society;(5) Order the parent, guardian, or legal
custodian of the child to participate in a court approved educational or
counseling program designed to contribute to the ability of the parent,
guardian, or legal custodian to provide proper parental care and supervision of
the child, including, but not limited to, parenting classes;(6) Order DFCS to
implement and the child’s parent, guardian, or legal custodian to cooperate with
any plan approved by the court; or(7) Order temporary child support for a child
to be paid by that person or those persons determined to be legally obligated to
support the child. In determining such temporary child support, the court shall
apply the child support guidelines provided in Code Section 19-6-15 and the
implementation and any review of the order shall be held as provided in Code
Section 19-6-15. Where there is an existing order of a superior court or other
court of competent jurisdiction, the court may order the child support obligor
in the existing order to make payments to the child’s caretaker on a temporary
basis but shall not otherwise modify the terms of the existing order. A copy of
the juvenile court’s order shall be filed in the clerk’s office of the court
that entered the existing order. Temporary child support orders entered pursuant
to this paragraph shall be enforceable by the court’s contempt powers so long as
the court is entitled to exercise jurisdiction over the deprivation case.(b) The
transfer of temporary legal custody may be subject to conditions and limitations
the court may prescribe. Such conditions and limitations shall include a
provision that the court shall approve or direct the return of the physical
custody of the child to the child’s parent, guardian, or legal custodian either
upon the occurrence of specified circumstances or at the direction of the court.
The return of physical custody of the child to the child’s parent, guardian, or
legal custodian may be made subject to conditions and limitations the court may
prescribe including, but not limited to, supervision for the protection of the
child.(c) A child found to be deprived shall not be committed to or confined in
an institution or other facility designed or operated for the benefit of
delinquent children unless the child is also found to be delinquent and the
child’s detention is warranted under the requirements of Article 7 of this
chapter.(d) After transferring temporary legal custody of a child to DFCS, the
court may at any time conduct sua sponte a judicial review of the current
placement plan being provided to the child. After its review, the court may
order DFCS to comply with the current placement plan, order DFCS to devise a new
placement plan, or make any other order relative to placement or custody outside
DFCS as the court finds to be in the best interests of the child. Placement or a
change of custody by the court outside DFCS shall relieve DFCS of further
responsibility for the child except for any provision of services ordered by the
court to ensure the continuation of reunification services to the family when
appropriate.(e) A court shall not be required to make an order of disposition
regarding a child who is discharged from a facility in which the child was
hospitalized or habilitated pursuant to Chapter 3, 4, or 7 of Title 37 unless
the child is to be discharged into the physical custody of any person who had
such custody when the court made its most recent finding that the child was
deprived.(f) If a child is found to be a deprived child and the deprivation is
found to have been the result of alcohol or other drug abuse by a parent,
guardian, or legal custodian and the court orders transfer of temporary legal
custody of the child, the court shall be authorized to further order that legal
custody of the child may not be transferred back to the child’s parent,
guardian, or legal custodian unless the parent, guardian, or legal custodian
undergoes substance abuse treatment and random substance abuse screenings and
those screenings remain negative for a period of no less than six consecutive
months.(g) If the court finds that DFCS preventive or reunification efforts have
not been reasonable but that further efforts could not permit the child to
safely remain at home, the court may nevertheless authorize or continue the
removal of the child.(h) When the case plan requires concurrent permanency plan,
the court shall review the reasonable efforts of DFCS to recruit, identify, and
make a placement in a home in which a relative, foster parent, or other person
who has demonstrated an ongoing commitment to the child has agreed to provide a
legally permanent home for the child in the event reunification efforts are not
successful.

15-11-213.Any order of disposition shall contain written findings of fact to
support the disposition and case plan ordered. Before making an order of
disposition, the court shall consider the following:(1) Why the best interests
and safety of the child are served by the disposition and case plan ordered
including but not limited to:(A) The interaction and interrelationship of the
child with his or her parent, siblings, and any other person who may
significantly affect the child’s best interests;(B) The child’s adjustment to
his or her home, school, and community;(C) The mental and physical health of all
individuals involved;(D) The wishes of the child as to the child’s placement;(E)
The wishes of the child’s parent, guardian, or legal custodian as to the child’s
custody;(F) Whether there exists a relative of the child or other individual
who, after study by DFCS, is found to be qualified to receive and care for the
child; and(G) The ability of the parent, guardian, or legal custodian to care
for the child in the home so that no harm will result to the child;(2) The
availability of services recommended in the case plan;(3) What alternative
dispositions or services under the case plan were considered by the court and
why such dispositions or services were not appropriate in the instant case;(4)
The appropriateness of the particular placement made or to be made by the
placing agency; and(5) Whether reasonable efforts were made to prevent or
eliminate the necessity of the child’s removal and to reunify the family after
removal unless reasonable efforts were not required. The court’s findings should
include a brief description of what preventive and reunification efforts were
made and why further efforts could not have prevented or eliminated the
necessity of removal.

15-11-214.(a) An order of disposition in a deprivation proceeding shall continue
in force for not more than two years except an order:(1) Placing a deprived
child in DFCS custody; or(2) Appointing a guardian of the person or conservator
of the property of a child.(b) An order of disposition placing a deprived child
in DFCS custody shall continue in force for 12 months after the date the child
is considered to have entered foster care.(c) The court may sooner terminate its
order of disposition placing a deprived child in DFCS custody or extend its
duration for further periods.(d) The court may terminate an order of disposition
of a child adjudicated as deprived or an extension of such a disposition order
prior to its expiration, on or without an application of a party, if it appears
to the court that the purposes of the order have been accomplished.(e) Unless a
child remains in DFCS custody or continues to receive services from DFCS, as
allowed by Article 5 of this chapter, when a child adjudicated as deprived
reaches 18 years of age, all orders affecting him or her then in force terminate
and he or she shall be discharged from further obligation or control.

15-11-215.(a) The court which made a disposition or supplemental order granting
temporary custody of a child to DFCS may grant one or more extensions of custody
if:(1) A hearing is held upon DFCS motion prior to the expiration of the
order;(2) Reasonable notice of the factual basis of the motion and of the
hearing and opportunity to be heard are given to the child if the child is 14
years of age or older, the child’s parent, guardian, or legal custodian, the
child’s attorney, the child’s guardian ad litem, if any, and to specified
nonparties entitled to notice;(3) DFCS includes in the motion to extend custody
the specific factual basis for the compelling reason an extension of custody is
needed and how such an extension is in the best interests of the child;(4) The
court finds that there is a compelling reason that the extension is necessary to
accomplish the purposes of the order and such an extension is in the child’s
best interests; and(5) The extension does not exceed 12 months from the
expiration of the prior order.(b) The court which made a disposition or
supplemental order granting temporary custody of a child to a party other than
DFCS may grant one or more extensions of custody if:(1) A hearing is held prior
to the expiration of the order upon motion of a party or on the court’s own
motion;(2) Reasonable notice of the factual basis of the motion to extend
custody and of the hearing and opportunity to be heard are given to the child if
the child is 14 years of age or older, the child’s parent, guardian, or legal
custodian, the child’s attorney, and the child’s guardian ad litem, if any;(3)
The party making the motion to extend custody includes in the motion the
specific factual basis for the compelling reason an extension of custody is
needed and how such an extension is in the best interests of the child;(4) The
court finds that there is a compelling reason that the extension is necessary to
accomplish the purposes of the order and such an extension is in the child’s
best interests; and(5) The extension does not exceed two years from the
expiration of the prior order.(c) The DFCS motion to extend custody shall
include a factual statement indicating the number of times DFCS has requested an
extension of custody, the reasons it has requested such extensions, and the
number of times an extension has been granted.(d) DFCS shall file its motion to
extend custody at least 60 days prior to the expiration date of the order
granting temporary custody.(e) If an order granting temporary custody expires
before DFCS files its motion to extend custody, DFCS may file a new motion to
extend custody within seven days of the order’s expiration date.

15-11-216.(a) Not less than five days in advance of any placement change, DFCS
shall notify the court, a child who is 14 years of age or older, the child’s
parent, guardian, or legal custodian, the person or agency with physical custody
of the child, the child’s attorney, the child’s guardian ad litem, if any, and
any other attorney of record of such change in the location of the child’s
placement while the child is in DFCS custody.(b) If the child’s health or
welfare may be endangered by any delay in changing the child’s placement, the
court and all attorneys of record shall be notified of such placement change
within 24 hours of such change.(c) A child who is 14 years of age or older, the
child’s parent, guardian, or legal custodian, the person or agency with physical
custody of the child, the child’s attorney or guardian ad litem, if any, and any
attorney of record may request a hearing with regard to the child’s case plan or
the permanency plan in order for the court to consider the change in the
location of the child’s placement and any changes to the case plan or permanency
plan resulting from the child’s change in placement location. The hearing shall
be held within five days of receiving notice of a change in the location of the
child’s placement and prior to any such placement change, unless the child’s
health or welfare may be endangered by any delay in changing the child’s
placement.(d) At the hearing to consider the child’s case plan and permanency
plan, the court shall consider the case plan and permanency plan recommendations
made by DFCS, including a recommendation as to the location of the placement of
the child, and shall make findings of fact upon which the court relied in
determining to reject or accept the case plan or permanency plan and the
recommendations made by DFCS, including the location of the child’s
placement.(e) If the court rejects DFCS recommendations, the court shall
demonstrate that DFCS recommendations were considered and explain why it did not
follow such recommendations. If the court rejects DFCS case plan and permanency
plan recommendations, including the change in the location of the placement of
the child, the court may order DFCS to devise a new case plan and permanency
plan recommendation, including a new recommendation as to the location of the
child within the resources of the department, or make any other order relative
to placement or custody outside the department as the court finds to be in the
best interests of the child and consistent with the policy that children in DFCS
custody should have stable placements.(f) Placement or a change of legal custody
by the court outside the department shall relieve the department of further
responsibility for the child except for any provision of services ordered by the
court to ensure the continuation of reunification services to the family when
appropriate.

15-11-217.(a) All cases of children in DFCS custody shall be initially reviewed
within 75 days following the child’s removal from his or her home and shall be
conducted by the court. An additional periodic review shall be held within four
months following the initial review and shall be conducted by the court or by
judicial citizen review panels established by the court, as the court directs,
meeting such standards and using such procedures as are established by court
rule by the Supreme Court of Georgia, with the advice and consent of the Council
of Juvenile Court Judges. The court shall have the discretion to schedule any
subsequent review hearings as necessary.(b) At any periodic review hearing, the
paramount concern shall be the health and safety of the child.(c) At the initial
75 day periodic review, the court shall approve the completion of the relative
search, schedule the subsequent four month review to be conducted by the court
or a citizen judicial review panel, and shall determine:(1) Whether the child
continues to be a deprived child;(2) Whether the existing case plan is still the
best case plan for the child and the child’s family and whether any changes need
to be made to the case plan including whether a concurrent case plan for
nonreunification is appropriate;(3) The extent of compliance with the case plan
by all participants;(4) The appropriateness of any recommended changes to the
child’s placement;(5) Whether appropriate progress is being made on the
permanency plan;(6) Whether all legally required services are being provided to
the child, the foster parents if there are foster parents, and the child’s
parent, guardian, or legal custodian;(7) Whether visitation is appropriate and,
if so, approve and establish a reasonable visitation schedule consistent with
the age and developmental needs of the child;(8) Whether, for a child who is 14
years of age or older, the services needed to assist the child to make a
transition from eligible shelter care to independent living are being provided;
and(9) Whether reasonable efforts continue to be made to prevent or eliminate
the necessity of the child’s removal and to reunify the family after removal,
unless reasonable efforts were not required.(d) If at any review subsequent to
the initial 75 day review the court finds that there is a lack of substantial
progress towards completion of the case plan, the court shall order DFCS to
develop a case plan for nonreunification.(e) At the time of each review of a
child in DFCS custody, DFCS shall notify the court whether and when it intends
to proceed with the termination of parental rights.

15-11-218.(a) In the event the periodic review of a case is conducted by a
judicial citizen review panel, the panel shall transmit and its report and that
of DFCS, including its findings and recommendations together with DFCS proposed
revised plan for reunification or other permanency plan, if necessary, to the
court and the parent within five days after the review.(b) DFCS shall provide
the caregiver of the child, the foster parents of the child if there are foster
parents, and any preadoptive parents or relatives providing care for the child
with a copy of those portions of the report of the judicial citizen review panel
that involve the recommended permanency goal and the recommended services to be
provided to the child.(c) Any party may request a hearing on the proposed
revised plan in writing within five days after receiving a copy of the plan.(d)
If no hearing is requested or scheduled by the court on its own motion, the
court shall review the proposed revised plan and enter a supplemental order
incorporating a revised plan as part of its disposition in the case. In the
event that a hearing is held, the court shall, after hearing evidence, enter a
supplemental order incorporating all elements that the court finds essential in
the proposed revised plan.(e) Notwithstanding subsections (c) and (d) of this
Code section, if the judicial citizen review panel finds that there is a lack of
substantial progress towards completion of the case plan, the court shall
schedule a hearing within 30 days of such finding to determine whether a case
plan for nonreunification is appropriate.(f) If the judicial citizen review
panel determines that the parent has unjustifiably failed to comply with the
ordered plan designed to reunite the family and that such failure is significant
enough to warrant consideration of termination of parental rights, the panel may
make a recommendation to DFCS and the child’s attorney that a petition for
termination of parental rights should be prepared.

15-11-219.(a) At the conclusion of a periodic review hearing, or upon review of
a report by a judicial citizen review panel, the court shall issue written
findings of fact that include:(1) Why the child continues to be a deprived
child;(2) Whether the existing case plan is still the best case plan for the
child and the child’s family and whether any changes need to be made to the case
plan including whether a concurrent case plan for nonreunification is
appropriate;(3) The extent of compliance with the case plan by all
participants;(4) The basis for any changes to the child’s placement;(5) Whether
visitation is or continues to be appropriate;(6) A description of progress being
made on the permanency plan;(7) Whether all legally required services are being
provided to the child, the foster parents if there are foster parents, and the
child’s parent, guardian, or legal custodian;(8) Whether, for a child who is 14
years of age or older, the services needed to assist the child to make a
transition from eligible shelter care to independent living are being provided;
and(9) Whether reasonable efforts continue to be made to prevent or eliminate
the necessity of the child’s removal and to reunify the family after removal,
unless reasonable efforts were not required.(b) At the conclusion of a periodic
review hearing, or upon review of a report by a judicial citizen review panel,
the court shall order one of the following dispositions:(1) Return the child to
the home of his or her parent, guardian, or legal custodian with or without
court imposed conditions;(2) Allow the child to continue in the current
custodial placement because the current placement is appropriate for the child’s
needs;(3) Allow the child to continue in the current custodial placement
although the current placement is no longer appropriate for the child’s needs
and direct DFCS to devise another plan which shall:(A) Be submitted within ten
days for court approval;(B) Be furnished to all parties after court approval of
the revised plan; and(C) Be provided to the caregiver of the child, the foster
parents of the child if there are foster parents , and any preadoptive parents
or relative providing care for the child with a copy of those portions of the
court approved revised plan that involve the permanency goal and the services to
be provided to the child; or(4) Make additional orders regarding the treatment
plan or placement of the child to protect the child’s best interests if the
court determines DFCS has failed in implementing any material provision of the
case plan or abused its discretion in the placement or proposed placement of the
child.

Part 12

15-11-230.(a) The court shall hold a permanency plan hearing to determine the
future permanent legal status of each child in DFCS custody.(b) The permanency
plan hearing, which considers in-state and out-of-state placement options for
the child, shall be held:(1) No later than 30 days after DFCS has submitted a
written report to the court which does not contain a plan for reunification
services;(2) For children under seven years of age at the time a petition is
filed, no later than nine months after the child has entered eligible shelter
care;(3) For children seven years of age and older at the time a petition is
filed, no later than 12 months after the child has entered eligible shelter
care; or(4) For a child in a sibling group whose members were removed from the
home at the same time and in which one member of the sibling group was under
seven years of age at the time a petition for deprivation was filed, the
permanency plan hearing shall be held no later than nine months after the child
has entered eligible shelter care.(c) After the initial permanency plan hearing
has occurred, a permanency plan hearing shall be held not less frequently than
every six months during the time the child continues in DFCS custody or more
frequently as deemed necessary by the court until the court determines that the
child’s permanency plan and goal have been achieved.(d) The child, the child’s
parent, guardian, or legal custodian, the child’s attorney, the child’s guardian
ad litem, if any, the foster parents of the child if there are foster parents,
any preadoptive parent or relatives providing care for the child, and other
parties shall be given written notice of a permanency plan hearing at least five
days in advance of such hearing and shall be advised that the permanency plan
recommended by DFCS will be submitted to the court for consideration as the
order of the court.(e) The court shall consult with the child, in an
age-appropriate manner, regarding the proposed permanency plan for the child.

15-11-231.At least five days prior to the permanency plan hearing, DFCS shall
submit for the court’s consideration a report recommending a permanency plan for
the child. The report shall include documentation of the steps to be taken by
DFCS to finalize the permanent placement for the child and shall include, but
shall not be limited to:(1) The name, address, and telephone number of the
child’s parent, guardian, and legal custodian;(2) The date on which the child
was removed from his or her home and the date on which the child was placed in
eligible shelter care;(3) The location and type of home or facility in which the
child is currently held or placed and the location and type of home or facility
in which the child will be placed;(4) The basis for the decision to hold the
child in protective custody or to place the child outside of his or her home;(5)
A statement as to the availability of a safe and appropriate placement with a
fit and willing relative of the child or other person who has demonstrated an
ongoing commitment to the child or a statement as to why placement with the
relative or other person is not safe or appropriate;(6) If as a result of the
placement the child has been or will be transferred from the school in which the
child is or most recently was enrolled, documentation that a placement that
would maintain the child in that school is unavailable, inappropriate, or that
the child’s transfer to another school would be in the child’s best
interests;(7) A plan for ensuring the safety and appropriateness of the
placement and a description of the services provided to meet the needs of the
child and family, including a discussion of services that have been investigated
and considered and are not available or likely to become available within a
reasonable time to meet the needs of the child or, if available, why such
services are not safe or appropriate;(8) The goal of the permanency plan which
shall include:(A) Whether and, if applicable, when the child shall be returned
to the child’s parent;(B) Whether and, if applicable, when the child shall be
referred for termination of parental rights and adoption;(C) Whether and, if
applicable, when the child shall be placed with a permanent guardian; or(D) In
the case in which DFCS has documented a compelling reason that none of the
foregoing options would be in the best interests of the child, whether, and if
applicable, when the child shall be placed in another planned permanent living
arrangement;(9) If the child is 14 years of age or older, a description of the
programs and services that are or will be provided to assist the child in
preparing for the transition from eligible shelter care to independent living.
The description shall include all of the following:(A) The anticipated age at
which the child will be discharged from eligible shelter care;(B) The
anticipated amount of time available in which to prepare the child for the
transition from eligible shelter care to independent living;(C) The anticipated
location and living situation of the child on discharge from eligible shelter
care;(D) A description of the assessment processes, tools, and methods that have
been or will be used to determine the programs and services that are or will be
provided to assist the child in preparing for the transition from eligible
shelter care to independent living; and(E) The rationale for each program or
service that is or will be provided to assist the child in preparing for the
transition from eligible shelter care to independent living, the time frames for
delivering such programs or services, and the intended outcome of such programs
or services; and(10) When the recommended permanency plan is referral for
termination of parental rights and adoption or placement in another home, a
description of specific recruitment efforts such as the use of state, regional,
and national adoption exchanges, including electronic exchange systems, to
facilitate orderly and timely in-state and interstate placements.

15-11-232.(a) At the permanency plan hearing, the court shall make written
findings of fact that include the following:(1) Whether DFCS has made reasonable
efforts to finalize the permanency plan which is in effect at the time of the
hearing;(2) The continuing necessity for and the safety and appropriateness of
the placement;(3) Compliance with the permanency plan by DFCS and any other
service providers, the child’s parent, and the child’s guardian or legal
custodian, if any;(4) Efforts to involve appropriate service providers in
addition to DFCS staff in planning to meet the special needs of the child and
the child’s parent, guardian, or legal custodian;(5) Efforts to eliminate the
causes for the child’s placement outside of his or her home and toward returning
the child safely to his or her home or obtaining a permanent placement for the
child;(6) The date by which it is likely that the child will be returned to his
or her home, placed for adoption, or placed with a permanent guardian or in some
other alternative permanent placement;(7) Whether, in the case of child placed
out-of-state, the out-of-state placement continues to be appropriate and in the
best interests of the child; and(8) In the case of a child who is 14 years of
age or older, the services needed to assist the child to make a transition from
foster care to independent living.(b) The permanency plan incorporated in the
court’s order shall include:(1) Whether and, if applicable, when the child shall
be returned to the child’s parent;(2) Whether and, if applicable, when the child
shall be referred for termination of parental rights and adoption; or(3) Whether
and, if applicable, when the child shall be placed with a permanent guardian.(c)
If the court finds that there is a compelling reason that it would not be in the
child’s best interests to be returned to the parent, referred for termination of
parental rights and adoption, or placed with a permanent guardian, then the
court’s order shall document the compelling reason and provide that the child
should be placed in another planned permanent living arrangement as defined in
the court’s order.(d) A supplemental order of the court adopting the permanency
plan shall be entered within 30 days after the court has determined that
reunification efforts shall not be made by DFCS.

15-11-233.(a) Except as provided in subsection (b) of this Code section, DFCS
shall file a petition to terminate the parental rights of the child’s parent or,
if such a petition has been filed by another party, seek to be joined as a party
to the petition, and, concurrently, to identify, recruit, process, and approve a
qualified family for an adoption if:(1) A child has been in foster care under
the responsibility of DFCS for 15 of the most recent 22 months;(2) The court has
made a determination that the parent has subjected the child to aggravated
circumstances;(3) The court has made a determination that the child is an
abandoned infant; or(4) The court has made a determination that the parent has
been convicted of:(A) The murder of another child of the parent;(B) Voluntary
manslaughter of another child of the parent;(C) Voluntary manslaughter of the
other parent of the child;(D) Aiding or abetting, attempting, conspiring, or
soliciting to commit murder or voluntary manslaughter of another child of the
parent;(E) Aiding or abetting, attempting, conspiring, or soliciting to commit
murder or voluntary manslaughter of the other parent of the child; or(F)
Committing felony assault that has resulted in serious bodily injury to the
child or to another child of the parent.(b) Termination of parental rights may
not be in the best interests of the child when:(1) The child is being cared for
by a relative;(2) The case plan documents a compelling reason for determining
that filing such a petition would not be in the best interests of the child.
Such compelling reasons may include, but shall not be limited to:(A) The parent
is successfully participating in services that will make it possible for the
child to safely return home;(B) Another permanency plan is better suited to meet
the health and safety needs of the child. Documentation that another permanent
plan is better suited to meet the health and safety needs of the child may
include documentation that:(i) The child is 14 years of age or older and objects
to termination of parental rights. Prior to accepting a child’s objection, the
court shall personally question the child in chambers to determine whether the
objection is the voluntary and knowing choice of the child;(ii) The child is 16
years of age or older and specifically requests that emancipation be established
as his or her permanent plan;(iii) The parent and the child have a significant
bond, but the parent is unable to care for the child because of an emotional or
physical disability, and the child’s caregiver has committed to raising the
child to the age of majority and facilitating visitation with the disabled
parent;(iv) The child is in a residential treatment facility that provides
services specifically designed to address the child’s treatment needs, and the
court determines that the child’s needs could not be served by a less
restrictive placement;(C) The child is living with a relative who is unable or
unwilling to adopt the child, but who is willing and capable of providing the
child with a stable and permanent home environment, and the removal of the child
from the physical custody of his or her relative would be detrimental to the
child’s emotional well-being;(D) The court or judicial citizen review panel, in
a prior hearing or review, determined that while the case plan was to reunify
the family, DFCS did not make reasonable efforts;(E) The child is an
unaccompanied refugee or there are international legal obligations or foreign
policy reasons that would preclude terminating parental rights; or(3) DFCS has
not provided to the family of the child services deemed necessary for the safe
return of the child to the child’s home, consistent with the specific time
frames for the accomplishment of the case plan goals.(c) The recommendation by
DFCS that termination of parental rights is not in the best interests of the
child shall be based on the present family circumstances of the child and shall
not preclude a different recommendation at a later date if the child’s family
circumstances change.

Part 13

15-11-240.(a) In addition to the jurisdiction to appoint guardians pursuant to
Code Section 15-11-13, the juvenile court shall be vested with jurisdiction to
appoint a permanent guardian for a child whose custody is a subject of
controversy before the court as a result of an adjudication that the child is
deprived in accordance with this article. Prior to the entry of such an order,
the court shall:(1) Find that reasonable efforts to reunify the child with his
or her parents would be detrimental to the child or find that the living parents
of the child have consented to the permanent guardianship;(2) Find that
termination of parental rights and adoption is not in the best interests of the
child;(3) Find that the proposed permanent guardian can provide a safe and
permanent home for the child;(4) Find that the appointment of a permanent
guardian for the child is in the best interests of the child and that the
individual chosen as the child’s permanent guardian is the individual most
appropriate to be the child’s permanent guardian taking into consideration the
best interests of the child; and(5) If the child is 14 years of age or older,
find that the appointment of a permanent guardian for the child is in the best
interests of the child and that the individual chosen by such child as the
child’s permanent guardian is the individual most appropriate to be the child’s
permanent guardian taking into consideration the best interests of the child.(b)
The court may enter an order of support on behalf of the child against the
parents of the child in accordance with paragraph (7) of subsection (a) of Code
Section 15-11-212.

15-11-241The petition for the appointment of a permanent guardian pursuant to
this part shall set forth:(1) The facts upon which the court’s jurisdiction is
based;(2) The name and date of birth of the child;(3) The name, address, and
county of domicile of the petitioner and the petitioner’s relationship to the
child, if any, and, if different from the petitioner, the name, address, and
county of domicile of the individual nominated by the petitioner to serve as
guardian and that individual’s relationship to the child, if any;(4) A statement
that:(A) Reasonable efforts to reunify the child with his or her parents would
be detrimental to the child;(B) Termination of parental rights and adoption is
not in the best interests of the child;(C) The proposed guardian can provide a
safe and permanent home for the child;(D) The appointment of a permanent
guardian for the child is in the best interests of the child and that the
individual chosen as the child’s guardian is the individual most appropriate to
be the child’s permanent guardian taking into consideration the best interests
of the child; and(E) If the child is 14 years of age or older, that the
appointment of a permanent guardian for the child is in the best interests of
the child and that the individual chosen by such child as the child’s permanent
guardian is the most appropriate individual to be the child’s permanent guardian
taking into consideration the best interests of the child;(5) Whether the child
was born out of wedlock and, if so, the name and address of the biological
father, if known;(6) Whether, to the petitioner’s knowledge, there exists any
notarized or witnessed document made by a parent of the child that deals with
the guardianship of the child and the name and address of any designee named in
the document;(7) In addition to the petitioner and the nominated guardian and,
if the parent has not consented to the permanent guardianship, the names and
addresses of the following relatives of the child whose whereabouts are
known:(A) The adult siblings of the child; provided however, that not more than
three adult siblings need to be listed;(B) If there is no adult sibling of the
child, the grandparents of the child; provided, however, that not more than
three grandparents need to be listed; or(C) If there is no grandparent of the
child, any three of the nearest adult relatives of the child determined
according to Code Section 53-2-1 of the ‘Revised Probate Code of 1998’;(8)
Whether a temporary guardian has been appointed for the child or a petition for
the appointment of a temporary guardian has been filed or is being filed; and(9)
The reason for any omission in the petition for appointment of a permanent
guardian for the child in the event full particulars are lacking.

15-11-242.(a) Permanent guardianship orders entered pursuant to Code Section
15-11-240 shall:(1) Remain in effect until the child reaches the age of 18 or
becomes emancipated;(2) Not be subject to review by the court except as provided
in Code Section 15-11-244; and(3) Establish a reasonable visitation schedule
which allows the child to maintain meaningful contact with his or her parents
through personal visits, telephone calls, letters, or other forms of
communication or specifically include any restriction on a parent’s right to
visitation.(b) A permanent guardian shall have the rights and duties of a
permanent guardian as provided in Code Sections 29-2-21, 29-2-22, and 29-2-23
and shall take the oath required of a guardian as provided in Code Section
29-2-24.

15-11-243.(a) Notice of a guardianship petition pursuant to this part shall be
given in accordance with subsection (c) of Code Section 29-2-17 except that, if
the parents have consented to the guardianship, notice of the petition shall not
be required to be given to:(1) The adult siblings of the child;(2) The
grandparents of the child; or(3) The nearest adult relatives of the child as
determined in accordance with Code Section 53-2-1 of the ‘Revised Probate Code
of 1998.'(b) The hearing shall be conducted in accordance with Code Section
29-2-18, to determine the best interests of the child, and in reaching its
determination the court shall consider Code Section 15-11-240.

15-11-244.(a) The court shall retain jurisdiction over a guardianship action
under this part for the sole purpose of entering an order following the filing
of a petition to modify, vacate, or revoke the guardianship and appoint a new
guardian.(b) The superior courts shall have concurrent jurisdiction for
enforcement or modification of any child support or visitation order entered
pursuant to Code Section 15-11-240.(c) The guardianship shall be modified,
vacated, or revoked based upon a finding, by clear and convincing evidence, that
there has been a material change in the circumstances of the child or the
guardian and that such modification, vacation, or revocation of the guardianship
order and the appointment of a new guardian is in the best interests of the
child. Appointment of a new guardian shall be subject to the provisions of Code
Sections 15-11-240 and 15-11-241.

ARTICLE 4
Part 1

15-11-260.(a) The purpose of this article is:(1) To protect a child whose parent
is unwilling or unable to provide safety and care adequate to meet his or her
physical, emotional, and mental health needs by providing a judicial process for
the termination of all parental rights and responsibilities;(2) To eliminate the
need for a child to wait unreasonable periods of time for his or her parent to
correct the conditions which prevent a return to the family;(3) To ensure that
the continuing needs of a child for proper physical, mental, and emotional
growth and development are the decisive considerations in all proceedings;(4) To
ensure that the constitutional rights of all parties are recognized and enforced
in all proceedings conducted pursuant to this article while ensuring that the
fundamental needs of a child are not subjugated to the interests of others;
and(5) To encourage stability in the life of a child who has been adjudicated
deprived and has been removed from his or her home by ensuring that all
proceedings are conducted expeditiously to avoid delays in resolving the status
of the parent and in achieving permanency for a child.(b) Nothing in this
article shall be construed as affecting the rights of a parent other than the
parent who is the subject of the proceedings.

15-11-261.(a) An order terminating the parental rights of a parent shall be
without limit as to duration and shall divest the parent and the child of all
legal rights, powers, privileges, immunities, duties, and obligations with
respect to each other, except:(1) The right of the child to receive child
support from his or her parent until a final order of adoption is entered;(2)
The right of the child to inherit from and through his or her parent. The right
of inheritance of the child shall be terminated only by a final order of
adoption;(3) The right of the child to benefits due to him or her from any third
person, agency, state, or the United States based on the child’s status as a
child of his or her parent. This right shall be terminated only by a final order
of adoption; and(4) The right of the child to pursue any civil action against
his or her parent.(b) When an order terminating the parent and child
relationship has been issued, the parent whose right has been terminated shall
not thereafter be entitled to notice of proceedings for the adoption of the
child by another, nor has the parent any right to object to the adoption or
otherwise to participate in such proceedings.(c) The relationship between the
child and his or her siblings shall not be severed until that relationship is
terminated by final order of adoption.(d) A relative whose relationship to the
child is derived through the parent whose parental rights are terminated shall
be considered to be a relative of the child for purposes of placement of, and
permanency plan for, the child until such relationship is terminated by final
order of adoption.

15-11-262.(a) The child and any other party to a proceeding under this article
shall have the right to a qualified and independent attorney at all stages of
the proceedings under this article.(b) The court shall appoint an attorney for
the child in a termination of parental rights proceeding. The appointment shall
be made as soon as practicable to ensure adequate representation of the child
and, in any event, before the first court hearing that may substantially affect
the interests of the child.(c) A child’s attorney owes to the child the duties
imposed by the law of this state in an attorney-client relationship.(d) The
court shall appoint a guardian ad litem for the child in a termination
proceeding:(1) At the request of the child’s attorney; or(2) Upon the court’s
own motion if it determines that a guardian ad litem is necessary to assist the
court in determining the best interests of the child.(e) The role of a guardian
ad litem in a termination of parental rights proceeding shall be the same role
as provided for in all deprivation proceedings under Article 3 of this
chapter.(f) A person appointed as a child’s attorney shall have received
training that is administered or approved by the Office of the Child Advocate
for the Protection of Children prior to being appointed. Such preappointment
training shall be satisfied within an attorney’s existing continuing legal
education obligations and shall not require the attorney to complete additional
training hours in addition to those currently required by the State Bar of
Georgia.(g) If an attorney has been appointed to represent a child in a prior
proceeding under this chapter, the court, when possible, shall appoint the same
attorney to represent the child in any subsequent proceeding.(h) An attorney
appointed to represent a child in a deprivation proceeding shall continue the
representation in any subsequent appeals unless excused by the court.(i) Neither
the child nor a representative of the child may waive the right to an attorney
in a termination proceeding.(j) A party other than a child shall be informed of
his or her right to an attorney prior to the adjudication hearing and prior to
any other hearing at which a party could be subjected to the loss of residual
parental rights. A party other than a child shall be given an opportunity to:(1)
Obtain and employ an attorney of the party’s own choice;(2) To obtain a court
appointed attorney if the court determines that the party is indigent; or(3)
Waive the right to an attorney.

15-11-263.(a) Upon motion of any party or the court, the court may require a
physical or mental evaluation of any parent, stepparent, guardian, legal
custodian, or child.(b) The cost of any ordered evaluation shall be paid by the
moving party unless apportioned by the court, in its discretion, to any other
party or parties.

15-11-264.Chapter 11 of Title 9, the ‘Georgia Civil Practice Act,’ shall govern
discovery in proceedings in juvenile court, except as otherwise provided in this
Code section as follows:(1) Upon presentation by the child’s attorney and
guardian ad litem, if any, of the order of appointment which contains an order
for exchange of information, any state or local agency, department, authority,
or institution and any school, hospital, physician, or other health or mental
health care provider shall permit the child’s attorney and guardian ad litem, if
any, to inspect and copy any records relating to the child involved in the case
without the consent of the child or the child’s parent, guardian, or legal
custodian;(2) Unless a shorter time frame is ordered by the court, a party
receiving a written request for discovery shall comply with such request within
ten days of such request or provide a written explanation of the reasons for
noncompliance to the parties and the court; and(3) No deposition shall be taken
of a child unless the court orders the deposition, under such conditions as the
court may specify, on the ground that the deposition would further the purposes
of this chapter.

15-11-265.Once a petition to terminate parental rights has been filed, the
parent shall thereafter be without authority to execute an act of surrender or
otherwise to affect the custody of the child except the parent may:(1) Execute
an act of surrender in favor of DFCS; and(2) Consent to a judgment terminating
his or her parental rights.

Part 2

15-11-270.(a) A proceeding under this article may be commenced in the county in
which the child legally resides. When a child is in DFCS custody at the time a
termination petition is filed, the child assumes the residence of the county in
which DFCS is located for purposes of determining the child’s legal
residence.(b) For the convenience of the parties, the court may transfer
proceedings to the county in which the parent legally resides. If a proceeding
is transferred, certified copies of all legal and social documents and records
pertaining to the proceeding on file with the clerk of court shall accompany the
transfer.

Part 3

15-11-280.(a) A petition to terminate parental rights and all subsequent court
documents in such proceeding shall be entitled ‘In the interest of _____, a
child.’, except upon appeal, in which event the anonymity of the child shall be
preserved by use of appropriate initials. The petition shall be in writing.(b)
The petition to terminate parental rights shall be made, verified, and endorsed
by the court as provided in Article 3 of this chapter for a petition alleging
deprivation.(c) The petition to terminate parental rights shall:(1) State
clearly that an order for termination of parental rights is requested and that
the effect of the order will be as stated in Code Section 15-11-260;(2) State
the statutory ground, as provided in Code Section 15-11-310, on which the
petition is based; and(3) Set forth plainly and with particularity:(A) The facts
which bring the child within the jurisdiction of the court, with a statement
that it is in the best interests of the child and the public that the proceeding
be brought;(B) The name, age, date of birth, and residence address of the child
on whose behalf the petition is brought;(C) The name and residence address of
the parent, guardian, or legal custodian of the child; or, if the child’s
parent, guardian, or legal custodian resides or cannot be found within this
state or if such person’s place of residence address is unknown, the name of any
known adult relative residing within the county or, if there is none, the known
adult relative residing nearest to the location of the court;(D) Whether the
child is in protective custody and, if so, the place of his or her eligible
shelter care and the time the child was taken into protective custody; and(E)
Whether any of the matters required by this paragraph are unknown.(d) When a
petition seeks termination of the rights of a biological father who is not the
legal father and who has not surrendered his rights to the child, the petition
shall include a certificate from the putative father registry disclosing the
name, address, and social security number of any registrant acknowledging
paternity of the child or indicating the possibility of paternity of a child of
the child’s mother for a period beginning no later than two years immediately
preceding the child’s date of birth. The certificate shall document a search of
the registry on or after the date of the filing of the petition and shall
include a statement that the registry is current as to filings of registrants as
of the date of the petition or as of a date later than the date of the petition
to terminate parental rights.(e) A copy of any voluntary surrender or written
consent, if any, previously executed by the parent shall be attached to the
petition to terminate parental rights.

15-11-281.(a) The court shall direct the issuance of a summons to the child if
the child is 14 years of age or older, the child’s mother, legal father or
biological father, guardian, legal custodian, the child’s attorney, the child’s
guardian ad litem, if any, and any other persons who appear to the court to be
proper or necessary parties to the proceeding, requiring them to appear before
the court at the time fixed to answer the allegations of the petition to
terminate parental rights. A copy of such petition shall accompany the summons
unless the summons is served by publication, in which case the published summons
shall indicate the general nature of the allegations and where a copy of such
petition can be obtained.(b) The summons shall include the notice of effect of a
termination judgment as set forth in Code Section 15-11-284 and shall state that
a party is entitled to an attorney in the proceedings and that the court will
appoint an attorney if the party is an indigent person.(c) The court may endorse
upon the summons an order directing the parent, guardian, or legal custodian of
the child to appear personally at the hearing or directing the person having the
physical custody or control of the child to bring the child to the hearing.(d) A
party other than the child may waive service of summons by written stipulation
or by voluntary appearance at the hearing.

15-11-282.(a) If a party to be served with a summons is within this state and
can be found, the summons shall be served upon him or her personally as soon as
possible and at least 30 days before the termination of parental rights
hearing.(b) If a party to be served is within this state and cannot be found but
his or her address is known or can be ascertained with reasonable diligence, the
summons shall be served upon such party at least 30 days before the termination
of parental rights hearing by mailing him or her a copy by registered or
certified mail or statutory overnight delivery, return receipt requested.(c) If
a party to be served is outside this state but his or her address is known or
can be ascertained with reasonable diligence, service of the summons shall be
made at least 30 days before the termination of parental rights hearing either
by delivering a copy to such party personally or by mailing a copy to him or her
by registered or certified mail or statutory overnight delivery, return receipt
request.(d) If, after reasonable effort, a party to be served with a summons
cannot be found and such party’s address cannot be ascertained, whether he or
she is within or outside this state, the court may order service of the summons
upon him or her by publication. The termination of parental rights hearing shall
not be earlier than 31 days after the date of the last publication.(e)(1)
Service by publication shall be made once a week for four consecutive weeks in
the official organ of the county where the petition to terminate parental rights
has been filed. Service shall be deemed complete upon the date of the last
publication.(2) When served by publication, the notice shall contain the names
of the parties, except that the anonymity of the child shall be preserved by the
use of appropriate initials, and the date the petition to terminate parental
rights was filed. The notice shall indicate the general nature of the
allegations and where a copy of the petition to terminate parental rights can be
obtained and require the party to be served by publication to appear before the
court at the time fixed to answer the allegations of the petition to terminate
parental rights.(3) A free copy of the petition to terminate parental rights
shall be available to the parent from the court during business hours or, upon
request, shall be mailed to the parent.(4) Within 15 days after the filing of
the order of service by publication, the clerk of court shall mail a copy of the
notice, a copy of the order of service by publication, and a copy of the
petition to terminate parental rights to the absent parent’s last known
address.(f) Service of the summons may be made by any suitable person under the
direction of the court.(g) The court may authorize the payment from county funds
of the costs of service and of necessary travel expenses incurred by persons
summoned or otherwise required to appear at the hearing.

15-11-283.(a) Unless he has surrendered all parental rights to the child, a
summons shall be served on:(1) A biological father who is the legal father of
the child;(2) A biological father whose paternity has been previously
established in a judicial proceeding to which the father was a party;(3) A
biological father whose identity is known to the petitioner or the petitioner’s
attorney;(4) A biological father who is a registrant on the putative father
registry and has acknowledged paternity of the child;(5) A biological father who
is a registrant on the putative father registry who has indicated possible
paternity of a child born to the child’s mother during a period beginning two
years immediately preceding the child’s date of birth; or(6) A biological father
who, if the court finds from the evidence including but not limited to the
affidavit of the child’s mother, has performed any of the following acts:(A)
Lived with the child;(B) Contributed to the child’s support;(C) Made any attempt
to legitimate the child; or(D) Provided support or medical care for the mother
either during her pregnancy or during her hospitalization for the birth of the
child.(b) Notice shall be given to a biological father by the following
methods:(1) If a biological father is within this state and can be found, the
summons shall be served upon him personally as soon as possible and least 30
days before the termination of parental rights hearing;(2) If a biological
father is outside this state but his address is known or can be ascertained with
reasonable diligence, service of summons shall be made at least 30 days before
the termination of parental rights hearing either by delivering a copy to him
personally or by mailing a copy to him by registered or certified mail or
statutory overnight delivery, return receipt requested; or(3) If, after
reasonable effort, a biological father to be served with summons cannot be found
and his address cannot be ascertained, whether he is within or outside this
state, the court may order service of summons upon him by publication. The
termination of parental rights hearing shall not be earlier than 31 days after
the date of the last publication. Service by publication shall be as follows:(A)
Service by publication shall be made once a week for four consecutive weeks in
the official organ of the county where the petition to terminate parental rights
has been filed and of the county of the biological father’s last known address.
Service shall be deemed complete upon the date of the last publication;(B) When
served by publication, the notice shall contain the names of the parties, except
that the anonymity of the child shall be preserved by the use of appropriate
initials, and the date the petition to terminate parental rights was filed. The
notice shall indicate the general nature of the allegations and where a copy of
the petition to terminate parental rights can be obtained and require the
biological father to appear before the court at the time fixed to answer the
allegations of the petition to terminate parental rights;(C) A free copy of the
petition to terminate parental rights shall be available to the biological
father from the court during business hours or, upon request, shall be mailed to
the biological father; and(D) Within 15 days after the filing of the order of
service by publication, the clerk of court shall mail a copy of the notice, a
copy of the order of service by publication, and a copy of the petition to
terminate parental rights to the biological father’s last known address.(c) The
notice shall advise the biological father who is not the legal father that he
shall lose all rights to the child and will not be entitled to object to the
termination of his rights to the child unless, within 30 days of receipt of
notice, he files:(1) A petition to legitimate the child; and(2) Notice of the
filing of the petition to legitimate with the court in which the termination of
parental rights proceeding is pending.(d) If the identity of the biological
father is not known to the petitioner or the petitioner’s attorney and the
biological father would not be entitled to notice in accordance with subsection
(a) of this Code section, then it shall be rebuttably presumed that he is not
entitled to notice of the proceedings. The court shall be authorized to require
the mother to execute an affidavit supporting the presumption or show cause
before the court if she refuses. Absent evidence rebutting the presumption, no
further inquiry or notice shall be required by the court, and the court shall
enter an order terminating the rights of the father.(e) The court shall enter an
order terminating all the parental rights of a biological father, including any
right to object thereafter to such proceedings:(1) Who fails to file a timely
petition to legitimate the child and notice in accordance with subsection (c) of
this Code section;(2) Whose petition to legitimate is subsequently dismissed for
failure to prosecute; or(3) Whose petition to legitimate does not result in a
court order finding that he is the legal father of the child.

15-11-284.The notice required to be given to the mother, the biological father,
and legal father of the child shall state:’NOTICE OF EFFECT OF TERMINATION
JUDGMENTGeorgia law provides that you can permanently lose your rights as a
parent. A petition to terminate parental rights has been filed requesting the
court to terminate your parental rights to your child. A copy of the petition to
terminate parental rights is attached to this notice. A court hearing of your
case has been scheduled for the _____ day of __________, _____ at
the_________Court of _______County.If you fail to appear, the court can
terminate your rights despite your absence.If the court at the trial finds that
the facts set out in the petition to terminate parental rights are true and that
termination of your rights will serve the best interests of your child, the
court can enter a judgment ending your rights to your child.If the judgment
terminates your parental rights, you will no longer have any rights to visit or
to have custody of your child or make any decisions affecting your child. Your
child will be legally freed to be adopted by someone else.Even if your parental
rights are terminated:(1) You will still be responsible for providing financial
support (child support payments) for the child’s care unless and until the child
is adopted;(2) The child can still inherit from you unless and until the child
is adopted; and(3) The child can still receive benefits based on his or her
status as your child unless and until the child is adopted.This is a very
serious matter. You should contact an attorney immediately so that you can be
prepared for the court hearing. You have the right to hire an attorney and to
have him or her represent you. If you cannot afford to hire an attorney, the
court will appoint an attorney if the court finds that you are an indigent
person. Whether or not you decide to hire an attorney, you have the right to
attend the hearing of your case, to call witnesses on your behalf, and to
question those witnesses brought against you.If you have any questions
concerning this notice, you may call the telephone number of the clerk’s office
which is __________.’

15-11-285.(a) If any person named in and properly served with summons shall
without reasonable cause fail to appear or, when directed in the summons, to
bring the child before the court, then the court may issue a rule nisi against
the person, directing the person to appear before the court to show cause why he
or she should not be held in contempt of court.(b) If the summons cannot be
served or if the person to whom the summons is directed fails to obey it, the
court may issue an order to take the child into protective custody.

Part 4

15-11-300.(a) In advance of each hearing to terminate parental rights, DFCS
shall give written notice of the date, time, place, and purpose of the hearing
to the caregiver of the child, the foster parents of the child if there are
foster parents, any preadoptive parent, or any relative providing care for the
child, including the right to be heard. The written notice shall be delivered to
the recipient at least 72 hours before the review or hearing by United States
mail, e-mail, or hand delivery at the discretion of DFCS.(b) This Code section
shall not be construed to require a caregiver, foster parent, preadoptive
parent, or relative caring for the child to be made a party to the hearing
solely on the basis of such notice and right to be heard.

15-11-301.(a) If no just cause has been shown for delay, all hearings
contemplated by this article shall be conducted within 90 days of the date a
petition to terminate parental rights is filed.(b) If no just cause for delay
has been shown by written finding of fact by the court, an order of disposition
shall be issued by the juvenile court no later than 30 days after the conclusion
of the hearing on the petition to terminate parental rights.(c) Stenographic
notes or electronic or mechanical recording of all hearings contemplated by this
article shall be required. If no just cause for delay has been shown, the court
reporter shall provide a transcript of the hearings no later than 30 days after
a notice of appeal is filed.(d) This Code section shall not affect the right to
request a rehearing or the right to appeal the juvenile court’s order.

15-11-302.The record of the testimony of the parties adduced in any proceeding
under this article shall not be admissible in any civil, criminal, or any other
cause or proceedings in any court against a person named as respondent for any
purpose whatsoever, except in subsequent deprivation or termination proceedings
involving the same child or deprivation or termination proceedings involving the
same respondent.

15-11-303.In all proceedings under this article, the standard of proof to be
adduced to terminate parental rights shall be by clear and convincing evidence.

Part 5

15-11-310.(a) In considering the termination of parental rights, the court shall
first determine whether one of the following statutory grounds for termination
of parental rights has been met:(1) The parent has given written consent to
termination which has been acknowledged by the court or has voluntarily
surrendered the child for adoption;(2) The parent has subjected the child to
aggravated circumstances;(3) The parent has wantonly and willfully failed to
comply for a period of 12 months or longer with a decree to support the child
that has been entered by a court of competent jurisdiction of this or any other
state;(4) The child is abandoned by the parent; or(5) The child is deprived due
to lack of proper parental care or control by the parent, reasonable efforts to
remedy the circumstances have been unsuccessful or were not required, such cause
of deprivation is likely to continue or will not likely be remedied, and the
continued deprivation will cause or is likely to cause serious physical, mental,
emotional, or moral harm to the child.(b) If one of the statutory grounds for
termination has been met, the court shall then consider whether termination is
in the child’s best interests after considering all the factors set forth in
Code Section 15-11-25 as follows:(1) The physical safety and welfare of the
child, including food, shelter, health, and clothing;(2) The mental and physical
health of all individuals involved;(3) Evidence of domestic violence;(4) The
child’s background and ties, including familial, cultural, and religious;(5) The
child’s sense of attachments, including the child’s sense of security, the
child’s sense of familiarity, and continuity of affection for the child;(6) The
least disruptive placement alternative for the child;(7) The child’s wishes and
long-term goals;(8) The child’s community ties, including church, school, and
friends;(9) The child’s need for permanence which includes the child’s need for
stability and continuity of relationships with a parent, siblings, and other
relatives;(10) The uniqueness of every family and child;(11) The risks attendant
to entering and being in substitute care;(12) The preferences of the persons
available to care for the child; and(13) Any other factors considered by the
court to be relevant and proper to its determination.(c) If the court determines
that the parent has subjected the child to aggravated circumstances because the
parent has committed the murder of the other parent of the child, the court
shall presume that termination of parental rights is in the best interests of
the child.

15-11-311.(a) In determining whether the child is without proper parental care
and control, the court shall consider, without being limited to, the
following:(1) A medically verified deficiency of the parent’s physical, mental,
or emotional health of such duration or nature as to render the parent unable to
provide adequately for the child;(2) Excessive use of or history of chronic
unrehabilitated abuse of alcohol or narcotic or dangerous drugs or controlled
substances with the effect of rendering the parent incapable of providing
adequately for the physical, mental, emotional, or moral condition and needs of
the child;(3) A felony conviction and imprisonment of the parent which has a
demonstrably negative effect on the quality of the parent-child relationship
including, but not limited to, any of the following:(A) Murder of another child
of the parent;(B) Voluntary manslaughter of another child of the parent;(C)
Voluntary manslaughter of the other parent of the child;(D) Aiding or abetting,
attempting, conspiring, or soliciting to commit murder or voluntary manslaughter
of another child of the parent;(E) Aiding or abetting, attempting, conspiring,
or soliciting to commit murder or voluntary manslaughter of the other parent of
the child;(F) Committing a felony assault that results in serious bodily injury
to the child or another child of the parent.(4) Egregious conduct or evidence of
past egregious conduct of a physically, emotionally, or sexually cruel or
abusive nature by the parent toward the child or toward another child of the
parent;(5) Physical, mental, or emotional neglect of the child or evidence of
past physical, mental, or emotional neglect by the parent of the child or
another child of the parent; and(6) Serious bodily injury or death of a sibling
of a child under circumstances which constitute substantial evidence that such
injury or death resulted from parental neglect or abuse.(b) In determining
whether the child who is not in the custody and care of a parent is without
proper parental care and control, the court shall also consider, without being
limited to, whether the parent, without justifiable cause, has failed
significantly for a period of six months prior to the date of the termination
hearing:(1) To develop and maintain a parental bond with the child in a
meaningful, supportive manner;(2) To provide for the care and support of the
child as required by law or judicial decree; and(3) To comply with a court
ordered plan designed to reunite the child with the parent.(c) A parent’s
reliance on prayer or other religious nonmedical means for healing in lieu of
medical care, in the exercise of religious beliefs, shall not be the sole basis
for determining the parent to be unwilling or unable to provide safety and care
adequate to meet the child’s physical, emotional, and mental health needs as
provided in paragraph (1) of subsection (a) of this Code section or as depriving
the child of proper parental care or control for purposes of this Code section
and Code Section 15-11-310.

Part 6

15-11-320.(a) When the court finds that any ground set out in Code Section
15-11-310 is proved by clear and convincing evidence and that termination of
parental rights is in the child’s best interests, it shall order the termination
of the parent’s rights.(b) The court’s order shall:(1) Contain written findings
on which the order is based, including the factual basis for a determination
that grounds for termination of parental rights exist and that termination is in
the best interests of the child;(2) Be conclusive and binding on all parties
from the date of entry;(3) Grant custody of the child in accordance with Code
Section 15-11-321; and(4) Inform the parent of his or her right to use the
services of the Georgia Adoption Reunion Registry although failure to include
such information shall not affect the validity of the judgment.(c) If the court
does not order the termination of parental rights but the court finds that there
is clear and convincing evidence that the child is deprived, the court may enter
a disposition order in accordance with the provisions of Article 3 of this
chapter.(d) The court shall transmit a copy of every final order terminating the
parental rights of a parent to the Office of Adoptions of the department within
15 days of the filing of such order.

15-11-321.(a) A placement may be made only if the court finds that the placement
is in the best interests of the child.(b) A guardian or legal custodian shall
submit to the jurisdiction of the court for purposes of placement.(c) If, upon
the entering of an order terminating the parental rights of a parent, there is
no parent having parental rights, the child shall be placed in the most
appropriate placement for the child in the following order of priority:(1) With
a relative willing to adopt the child if, after study by the probation officer
or other designee of the court, the child’s relative is found by the court to be
qualified to receive and care for the child;(2) In the custody of the department
or to a licensed child-placing agency willing to accept custody for the purpose
of placing the child for adoption;(3) With a relative or other suitable
individual on the condition that the person becomes the guardian of the person
of the child pursuant to the court’s authority under Code Section 15-11-113 if,
after study by the probation officer or other designee of the court, the person
is found by the court to be qualified to receive and care for the child;(4) In
the custody of the department or to a licensed child-placing agency willing to
accept custody for the purpose of placing the child in a foster home.(d) In
addition to its rights as a legal custodian, the department has the authority to
consent to the adoption of the child.

15-11-322.(a) Except in those cases in which the child was placed pursuant to
paragraph (3) or (4) of subsection (c) of Code Section 15-11-321, if a petition
seeking the adoption of the child is not filed within six months after the date
of the disposition order, the court shall then, and at least every six months
thereafter as long as the child remains unadopted, review the circumstances of
the child to determine what efforts have been made to assure that the child will
be adopted. The court shall:(1) Make written findings regarding whether
reasonable efforts have been made to move the child to permanency;(2) Evaluate
whether, in light of any change in circumstances, the permanency plan for the
child remains appropriate; and(3) Enter such orders as it deems necessary to
further adoption or if appropriate, other permanency options, including, but not
limited to, another placement.(b) In those cases in which the child was placed
with a guardian of the child’s person, within 60 days after such appointment and
within 60 days after each anniversary date of such appointment, the guardian
shall file with the court a personal status report of the child which shall
include:(1) A description of the child’s general condition, changes since the
last report, and the child’s needs;(2) All addresses of the child during the
reporting period and the living arrangements of the child for all addresses;
and(3) Recommendations for any modification of the guardianship order.

15-11-323.(a) A child who has not been adopted after the passage of at least
three years from the date the court terminated parental rights and for whom the
court has determined that adoption is no longer the permanent plan may petition
the court to reinstate parental rights pursuant to the modification of orders
procedure prescribed by Code Section 15-11-31. The child may file the petition
to reinstate parental rights prior to the expiration of such three-year period
if the department or licensed child-placing agency that is responsible for the
custody and supervision of the child and the child stipulate that the child is
no longer likely to be adopted. A child 14 years of age or older shall sign the
petition in the absence of a showing of good cause as to why the child could not
do so.(b) If it appears that the best interests of the child may be promoted by
reinstatement of parental rights, the court shall order that a hearing be held
and shall cause notice to be served by United States mail to DFCS, to the
child’s attorney of record, guardian ad litem, if any, foster parents if there
are any, and to the child’s former parent whose parental rights were terminated.
The parent and foster parents if there are any shall have a right to be heard at
the hearing to reinstate parental rights but shall not be parties at such
hearing, and such hearing may be conducted in their absence. The child’s motion
shall be dismissed if the parent cannot be located.(c) The court shall grant the
petition if it finds by clear and convincing evidence that the child is no
longer likely to be adopted and that reinstatement of parental rights is in the
child’s best interests. In determining whether reinstatement is in the child’s
best interests the court shall consider, but shall not be limited to, the
following:(1) Whether the parent whose rights are to be reinstated is a fit
parent and has remedied his or her deficits as provided in the record of the
prior termination proceedings and prior termination order;(2) The age and
maturity of the child and the ability of the child to express his or her
preference;(3) Whether the reinstatement of parental rights will present a risk
to the child’s health, welfare, or safety; and(4) Other material changes in
circumstances, if any, that may have occurred which warrant the granting of the
petition.(d) If the court grants the petition to reinstate parental rights, a
review hearing will be scheduled within six months. During such period, the
court may order that the child be immediately placed in the custody of the
parent or, if the court determines that a transition period is necessary, order
DFCS to provide transition services to the family as appropriate.(e) An order
granted under this Code section reinstates the parental rights to the child.
Such reinstatement shall be a recognition that the situation of the parent and
child has changed since the time of the termination of parental rights and
reunification is now appropriate.(f) This Code section is intended to be
retroactive and applied to any child who is under the jurisdiction of the court
at the time of the hearing regardless of the date parental rights were
terminated.

ARTICLE 5

15-11-350.As used in article, the term:(1) ‘Independent life skills assessment’
means an assessment of a child upon reaching 16 years of age to determine the
specific life skills services that are most appropriate for such child.(2)
‘Independent living assessment’ means a comprehensive assessment conducted
during the month following a child’s seventeenth birthday to determine such
child’s skills and abilities to live independently and become
self-sufficient.(3) ‘Life skills services’ includes, but shall not be limited
to, independent living skills training, including training to develop banking
and budgeting skills, interviewing skills, parenting skills, educational
support, employment training, basic legal skills, and counseling.(4)
‘Preindependent living assessment’ means an initial assessment of a child’s
strengths and needs to determine the preindependent living services that are
most appropriate for such child.(5) ‘Preindependent living services’ includes,
but shall not be limited to, life skills training, educational field trips, and
mentoring.(6) ‘Subsidized independent living services’ means living arrangements
that allow the child to live independently of the daily care and supervision of
an adult in a setting that is not required to be licensed.(7) ‘Young adult’
means a person who has reached the age of 18 but is not yet 23 yeyears of age.

15-11-351.(a) DFCS shall administer a system of independent living transition
services to enable adolescents and young adults in foster care and young adults
who exit foster care at age 18 to make the transition to self-sufficiency as
adults.(b) The goals of independent living transition services shall be to
assist adolescents and young adults in foster care and young adults who were
formerly in foster care to obtain life skills and education for independent
living and employment, to enjoy a quality of life appropriate for their age, and
to assume personal responsibility for becoming self-sufficient adults.(c) In
providing independent living services for children, DFCS shall balance the goals
of normalcy and safety for a child and provide caregivers with as much
flexibility as possible to enable such child to live as normal a life as
possible and participate in age-appropriate extracurricular, enrichment, and
social activities. In turn, caregivers shall take reasonable steps to determine
the appropriateness of the activity in consideration of the child’s age,
maturity, and developmental level.(d) DFCS shall establish a continuum of
services for eligible children in foster care and eligible young adults who were
formerly in foster care which accomplish the goals for the system of independent
living transition services.(e) For children in foster care, independent living
transition services shall not be an alternative to adoption. Independent living
transition services may occur concurrently with continued efforts to locate and
achieve placement in adoptive families for adolescents in foster care.

15-11-352.(a) DFCS shall provide independent living services to children who
have reached 14 years of age but are not yet 18 years of age and who are in
foster care. Children to be served shall meet the eligibility requirements set
forth for specific services as provided in this article.(b) DFCS shall provide
independent living services to young adults who have reached 18 years of age but
are not yet 23 years of age and who were in foster care when they turned 18
years of age. Young adults to be served shall meet the eligibility requirements
set forth for specific services in this article.(c) DFCS shall develop objective
criteria for determining eligibility benefits and services available under this
article.

15-11-353.(a) DFCS shall provide adolescents and young adults with opportunities
to participate in life skills activities in their foster families and
communities which are reasonable and appropriate for their respective ages and
shall provide them with services to build such skills and increase their ability
to live independently and become self-sufficient. DFCS shall:(1) Develop a list
of age-appropriate activities and responsibilities to be offered to all children
involved in independent living transition services and their foster parents;(2)
Provide training for staff and foster parents to address the issues of
adolescents in foster care in transitioning to adulthood, which shall include
information on supporting education and employment and providing opportunities
to participate in appropriate daily activities;(3) Develop procedures to
maximize the authority of foster parents to approve participation in
age-appropriate activities of children in their care;(4) Provide opportunities
for adolescents in foster care to interact with mentors; and(5) Develop and
implement procedures for adolescents to directly access and manage the personal
allowance they receive from DFCS in order to learn responsibility and
participate in age-appropriate life skills activities.(b) Each child in foster
care, his or her foster parents, and DFCS or the community based provider shall
set early achievement and career goals for the child’s postsecondary educational
and work experience. DFCS and community based providers shall implement a model
to help ensure that children in foster care are ready for postsecondary
education and the workplace as follows:(1) A child in foster care entering the
ninth grade, the child’s foster parents, and DFCS or a community based provider
shall be active participants in choosing a postsecondary goal based upon both
the abilities and interests of the child. Such goal shall accommodate the needs
of the child served in exceptional education programs to the extent appropriate
for the child. A child in foster care, with the assistance of the child’s foster
parents, and DFCS or a community based provider shall set a postsecondary goal
including, but not limited to:(A) Attending a four-year college or university, a
community college plus university, or a military academy;(B) Receiving a
two-year postsecondary degree;(C) Attaining a postsecondary career and technical
certificate or credential;(D) Beginning immediate employment after completion of
a high school diploma or its equivalent; or(E) Enlisting in the military;(2) In
order to assist a child in achieving his or her chosen goal, DFCS or a community
based provider shall, with the participation of the child and foster parents,
identify:(A) The core courses necessary to qualify for a chosen goal;(B) Any
elective courses which would provide additional help in reaching a chosen
goal;(C) The grade point requirement and any additional information necessary to
achieve a specific goal; and(D) A teacher, other school staff member, employee
of DFCS or a community based care provider, or community volunteer who would be
willing to work with the child as an academic advocate or mentor if foster
parent involvement is insufficient or unavailable;(3) In order to complement
educational goals, DFCS and community based providers are encouraged to form
partnerships with the business community to support internships,
apprenticeships, or other work related opportunities; and(4) DFCS and community
based providers shall ensure that a child and the child’s foster parents are
made aware of the postsecondary goals available and shall assist in identifying
the coursework necessary to enable the child to reach the chosen goal.(c) A
child in foster care and a young adult formerly in foster care shall be
encouraged to take part in learning opportunities that result from participation
in community service activities.(d) A child in foster care and a young adult
formerly in foster care shall be provided with the opportunity to change from
one postsecondary goal to another, and each postsecondary goal shall allow for
changes in each individual’s needs and preferences. Any change, particularly a
change that will result in additional time required to achieve a goal, shall be
made with the guidance and assistance of DFCS or a community based provider.

15-11-354.DFCS shall provide transition to independence services to children in
foster care who meet prescribed conditions and are determined eligible by DFCS.
The service categories available to children in foster care which facilitate
successful transition into adulthood are:(1) Preindependent living services;(2)
Life skills services; and(3) Subsidized independent living services.

15-11-355.(a) A child who has reached 14 years of age but is not yet 16 years of
age who is in foster care shall be eligible for preindependent living services.
The specific services to be provided to a child shall be determined using a
preindependent living assessment.(b) DFCS shall conduct an annual staffing for
each child who has reached 14 years of age but is not yet 16 years of age to
ensure that the preindependent living training and services to be provided as
determined by the preindependent living assessment are being received and to
evaluate the progress of the child in developing the needed independent living
skills.(c) At the first annual staffing that occurs following a child’s
fourteenth birthday, and at each subsequent staffing, DFCS shall provide to each
child detailed information on any grants, scholarships, and waivers that are
available and should be sought by the child with assistance from DFCS.(d)
Information related to both the preindependent living assessment and all
staffings, which shall be reduced to writing and signed by the child, shall be
included as a part of the written report required to be provided to the court at
each periodic review hearing.

15-11-356.(a) A child who has reached 16 years of age but is not yet 18 years of
age who is in foster care shall be eligible for life skills services.(b)
Children receiving such life skills services shall also be provided with
information related to social security insurance benefits and public assistance.
The specific services to be provided to a child shall be determined using an
independent life skills assessment(c) DFCS shall conduct a staffing at least
once every six months for each child who has reached 16 years of age but is not
yet 18 years of age to ensure that the appropriate independent living training
and services as determined by the independent life skills assessment are being
received and to evaluate the progress of the child in developing the needed
independent living skills.(d) DFCS shall provide to each child in foster care
during the calendar month following the child’s seventeenth birthday an
independent living assessment to determine the child’s skills and abilities to
live independently and become self-sufficient. Based on the results of the
independent living assessment, services and training shall be provided in order
for the child to develop the necessary skills and abilities prior to the child’s
eighteenth birthday.(e) Information related to both the independent life skills
assessment and all staffings, which shall be reduced to writing and signed by
the child, shall be included as a part of the written report required to be
provided to the court at each periodic review hearing.

15-11-357.(a) A child who has reached 17 years of age but is not yet 21 years of
age shall be eligible for subsidized independent living services if:(1) The
child has been adjudicated deprived under Article 3 of this chapter; has been
placed in licensed out-of-home care for at least six months prior to entering
subsidized independent living; and has a permanency goal of independent living
or long-term licensed care; and(2) The child is able to demonstrate independent
living skills, as determined by DFCS using established procedures and
assessments.(b) Independent living arrangements established for a child shall be
part of an overall plan leading to the total independence of the child from DFCS
supervision. Such plan shall include, but shall not be limited to:(1) A
description of the skills of the child and a plan for learning additional
identified skills;(2) The behavior that the child has exhibited which indicates
an ability to be responsible and a plan for developing additional
responsibilities, as appropriate;(3) A plan for future educational, vocational,
and training skills;(4) Present financial and budgeting capabilities and a plan
for improving resources and ability;(5) A description of a proposed
residence;(6) Documentation that the child understands the specific consequences
of his or her conduct in an independent living program;(7) Documentation of
proposed services to be provided by DFCS and other agencies, including the type
of service and the nature and frequency of contact; and(8) A plan for
maintaining or developing relationships with family, other adults, friends, and
the community, as appropriate.(c) Subsidy payments in an amount established by
DFCS may be made directly to a child under the direct supervision of a
caseworker or other responsible adult approved by DFCS.

15-11-358.DFCS shall provide or arrange for the following services to young
adults formerly in foster care who meet the prescribed conditions and are
determined eligible by DFCS:(1) Aftercare support services which are available
to such young adults in their efforts to continue to develop the skills and
abilities necessary for independent living; and(2) Transitional short-term
services.

15-11-359.(a) A young adult who left foster care at 18 years of age but who
requests services prior to reaching 23 years of age shall be eligible for
aftercare support services.(b) Aftercare support services include, but shall not
be limited to:(1) Mentoring and tutoring;(2) Mental health services and
substance abuse counseling;(3) Life skills classes, including, but not limited
to, credit management, preventive health activities, and basic legal skills;(4)
Parenting classes;(5) Job skills training;(6) Counselor consultations; and(7)
Temporary financial assistance.(c) The specific services to be provided under
this Code section shall be determined by an aftercare services assessment and
may be provided by DFCS or through referrals in the community. Temporary
assistance provided to prevent homelessness shall be provided as expeditiously
as possible and within the limitations defined by DFCS.

15-11-360.(a) In addition to any services provided through aftercare support, a
young adult formerly in foster care may receive other appropriate transitional
services, which may include financial, housing, counseling, employment,
education, mental health, disability, and other services, if the young adult
demonstrates that the services are critical to the young adult’s own efforts to
achieve self-sufficiency and to develop a personal support system.(b) A young
adult shall be eligible to apply for transitional support services if he or she
was a deprived child, was living in licensed foster care or in subsidized
independent living at the time of his or her eighteenth birthday, and had spent
at least six months living in foster care before his or her eighteenth
birthday.(c) If at any time transitional support services are no longer critical
to the young adult’s own efforts to achieve self-sufficiency and to develop a
personal support system, the provision of such services may be terminated.

15-11-361.Payment of aftercare or transitional support funds shall be made
directly to the recipient unless the recipient requests in writing to the
community based provider, or DFCS, that the payments or a portion of the
payments be made directly on the recipient’s behalf to a third party in order to
secure services such as housing, counseling, education, or employment training
as part of the young adult’s own efforts to achieve
self-sufficiency.15-11-362.(a) A judicial review of the independent living
services being provided to a child shall be held:(1) For a child who has reached
14 years of age but is not 18 years of age, during the periodic review and
permanency plan hearings under Article 3 of this chapter; or(2) For a young
adult, at least annually.(b) In addition to the periodic review and permanency
plan hearings under Article 3 of this chapter, the court shall hold a hearing to
review the status of the child within 90 days after a child’s seventeenth
birthday. Such hearing may be held concurrently with a periodic review or
permanency plan hearing. If necessary, the court may review the status of the
child more frequently during the year prior to the child’s eighteenth
birthday.(c) At each periodic review, in addition to any information or report
provided to the court, the foster parent, legal custodian, guardian ad litem, if
any, and the child shall be given the opportunity to provide the court with any
information relevant to the child’s best interests as it relates to independent
living transition services. In addition to any information or report provided to
the court, DFCS shall include in its social study report written verification
that the child has been:(1) Provided with a current Medicaid card and has been
provided all necessary information concerning the Medicaid program sufficient to
prepare the child to apply for coverage upon reaching age 18, if such
application would be appropriate;(2) Provided with a certified copy of his or
her birth certificate and, if the child does not have a valid driver’s license,
a valid Georgia identification card;(3) Provided information relating to federal
social security insurance benefits if the child is eligible for such benefits.
If the child has received such benefits and the benefits are being held in trust
for the child, a full accounting of such funds shall be provided and the child
shall be informed about how to access such funds;(4) Provided with information
and training related to budgeting skills, interviewing skills, parenting skills,
and basic legal skills;(5) Provided with essential banking skills including an
open bank account or identification necessary to open an account;(6) Provided
with information on public assistance and how to apply;(7) Provided a clear
understanding of where he or she will be living on his or her eighteenth
birthday, how living expenses will be paid, and what educational program or
school he or she will be enrolled in; and(8) Encouraged to attend all judicial
review hearings occurring after his or her seventeenth birthday.(d) At the first
judicial review hearing held subsequent to a child’s seventeenth birthday, DFCS
shall provide the court with an updated case plan that includes specific
information related to independent living services that have been provided since
the child’s fourteenth birthday or since the date the child came into foster
care, whichever came later.(e) At the time of a periodic review hearing held,
if, in the opinion of the court, DFCS has not complied with its obligations as
specified in the written case plan or in the provision of independent living
services, the court shall issue a show cause order. If cause is shown for
failure to comply, the court shall give DFCS 30 days within which to comply and,
on failure to comply with this or any subsequent order, DFCS may be held in
contempt.

15-11-363.The department shall promulgate regulations to administer this article
and shall follow the requirements of Chapter 13 of Title 50, the ‘Georgia
Administrative Procedure Act.’ The department shall complete the development of
all procedures, systems, assessments, and other items required by this article
by January 1, 2013.

ARTICLE 6
Part 1

15-11-380.The purpose of this article is:(1) To acknowledge that certain
behaviors or conditions occurring within a family or school environment indicate
that a child is experiencing serious difficulties and is in need of services and
corrective action in order to protect the child from the irreversibility of
certain choices and to protect the integrity of the family;(2) To make other
family members aware of their contributions to their family’s problems and to
encourage family members to accept the responsibility to participate in any
program of care ordered by the court;(3) To provide a child with a program of
treatment, care, guidance, counseling, structure, supervision, and
rehabilitation which the child needs to assist him or her in becoming a
responsible and productive member of society; and(4) To ensure the cooperation
and coordination of all agencies having responsibility to supply services to any
member of the family referred to the court.

15-11-381.As used in this article, the term:(1) ‘Habilitation’ means the process
by which a child is helped to acquire and maintain those life skills which will
enable him or her to cope more effectively with the demands of his or her own
person and of his or her environment and to raise the level of his or her
physical, mental, social, and vocational abilities.(2) ‘Home detention’ means
court ordered confinement of a child with his or her parent, guardian, legal
custodian, or in some other specified home for 24 hours a day unless otherwise
prescribed by written court order, under which the child is permitted out of the
residence only at such hours and in the company of persons specified in the
court order establishing the home detention. Home detention shall be monitored
by DJJ or court based probation.(3) ‘Mental health plan’ means an interagency
treatment, habilitation, support, or supervision plan developed at an
interagency meeting of state or local agency representatives, parties, and other
interested persons following a court’s finding that a child is not mentally
competent, as defined in Code Section 15-11-651, to stand trial. A mental health
plan shall be submitted to the court for approval as part of the disposition of
the child’s case.(4) ‘Nonsecure facility’ means a public or private facility
which does not include construction fixtures such as locked rooms and buildings,
fences, or other physical structures designed to physically restrict the
movements and activities of a child in custody.(5) ‘Plan manager’ means a person
who is under the supervision of the court and is appointed by the court to
convene a meeting of all relevant parties for the purpose of developing a mental
health plan. A plan manager shall be responsible for collecting all previous
histories of the child including, but not limited to, evaluations, assessments,
treatment summaries, and school records.(6) ‘Runaway’ means a child who without
just cause and without the consent of his or her parent, guardian, or legal
custodian is absent from his or her home or place of abode for at least 24
hours.(7) ‘Status offense’ means an act prohibited by law which would not be an
offense if committed by an adult.(8) ‘Truant’ means having ten or more days of
unexcused absences from school in the current academic year.(9) ‘Valid court
order’ means a court order issued by a judge to a child alleged or found to have
committed a status offense and:(A) Who was brought before the court and made
subject to the order;(B) Whose future conduct is regulated by the order;(C) Who
was given verbal and written warning of the consequences of violating the order
at the time the order was issued and whose attorney, parent, guardian, or legal
custodian was also provided with written notice of the consequences of violating
the order, and the notice is reflected in the court record; and(D) Who was
afforded due process prior to the issuance of the order.

Part 2

15-11-390.(a) A complaint alleging a child is in need of services may be filed
by a parent, guardian, or legal custodian, DFCS, a school official, a law
enforcement officer, a guardian ad litem, or a prosecuting attorney who has
knowledge of the facts alleged or is informed and believes that such facts are
true.(b) The complaint shall set forth plainly and with particularity:(1) The
name, date of birth, and residence address of the child on whose behalf the
complaint is being filed;(2) The names and residence addresses of the parent,
guardian, or legal custodian, any other family members, or any other individuals
living within the child’s home;(3) The name of any public institution or agency
having the responsibility or ability to supply services alleged to be needed by
the child; and(4) Whether any of the matters required by this subsection are
unknown.(c) When a school official is filing a complaint, information shall be
included which shows that:(1) The legally liable school district has sought to
resolve the expressed problem through available educational approaches; and(2)
The school district has sought to engage the parent, guardian, or legal
custodian in solving the problem but such person has been unwilling or unable to
do so, that the problem remains, and that court intervention is needed.(d) When
a school official is filing a complaint involving a child who is eligible or
suspected to be eligible for services under the federal Individuals with
Disabilities Education Act or Section 504 of the federal Rehabilitation Act of
1973, information shall be included which demonstrates that the legally liable
school district:(1) Has determined that the child is eligible or suspected to be
eligible under the federal Individuals with Disabilities Education Act or
Section 504 of the federal Rehabilitation Act of 1973; and(2) Has reviewed for
appropriateness the child’s current individualized education program (IEP) and
placement and has made modifications where appropriate.(e) The intake officer
shall be responsible for receiving complaints alleging that a child is in need
of services.

15-11-391.(a) Upon the filing of a complaint alleging that a child is in need of
services, the intake officer shall convene a multidisciplinary conference to be
attended by the child, the child’s parent, guardian, or legal custodian, DFCS,
and any other agency or public institution having legal responsibility or
discretionary authority to supply services to the family except in emergencies
or when the court or the intake officer determines it to be inappropriate or
futile.(b) The intake officer shall determine whether a mandatory conference is
inappropriate or futile based on:(1) A screening of the child; and(2) If a
parent, guardian, or legal custodian has filed the complaint, the nature of that
parent, guardian, or legal custodian’s participation in and compliance with
previous mandatory conferences or informal family services plan agreements, if
any.(c) Upon application to the court by the plan manager or upon the motion of
any party or upon the court’s own motion, the court shall issue an order for
good cause to any person determined by the court to be a required participant in
the mandatory multidisciplinary conference and who is required by federal or
state law to protect the privacy of health information in his or her possession
relating to the child alleged to be in need of services or to such child’s
primary caregiver. Such order shall require such person to comply with the
convening of the multidisciplinary conference and to cooperate with the plan
manager by disclosing relevant protected health information as ordered by the
court. The relevant health information required to be disclosed by the court
order shall be used only for the purposes of developing and implementing a
mental health plan that is reasonably related to the promotion of the care,
guidance, counseling, structure, supervision, treatment, or rehabilitation of
the child or the child’s primary caregiver for the benefit of such child. For
the purposes of this subsection, good cause shall exist when the protected
health information being sought is reasonably related to the child alleged to be
in need of services.

15-11-392.(a) After the mandatory multidisciplinary conference, the child, the
child’s parent, guardian, or legal custodian, DFCS, and any other member of the
conference may effect an informal family services plan agreement.(b) An informal
family services plan agreement shall include:(1) The identification of the
conduct of the child, the child’s parent, guardian, or legal custodian, or any
family member which is causing serious harm to the child and the services needed
by that individual to mitigate or eliminate the problems within the family;(2) A
description of the services which are needed for the child, the child’s parent,
guardian, or legal custodian, or other family members, the availability of such
services within the community, and a plan for ensuring that any such services
that are available will be secured and delivered;(3) A description of all
expected action to be taken by the child, the child’s parent, guardian, or legal
custodian, or other family members;(4) The identification of DFCS caseworker
assigned to the case and who is directly responsible for assuring that the
informal family services plan agreement is implemented; and(5) An estimate of
the time anticipated to be necessary in order to accomplish the goals set out in
the informal family services plan agreement.(c) The informal family services
plan agreement shall set forth in writing the terms and conditions agreed to by
the parties as evidenced by their signature thereto.(d) The informal family
services plan agreement shall demonstrate that the child and the child’s parent,
guardian, or legal custodian understand his or her right to an adjudication
hearing on their need for services and shall also demonstrate that they consent
to its terms with knowledge that consent is not obligatory and with knowledge of
the effect of such agreement.(e) The duration of the informal family services
plan agreement shall not exceed six months; however, the court may extend such
agreement for one additional period not to exceed six months.

Part 3

15-11-400.DFCS shall be the lead agency and shall have the primary
responsibility for the monitoring and management of child in need of services
cases under this article.

15-11-401.(a) The continued custody hearing for a child in need of services
shall be held promptly and no later than:(1) Twenty-four hours after a child is
taken into temporary custody if the child is being held in a secure juvenile
detention facility; or(2) Seventy-two hours after the child is placed in
eligible shelter care, provided that, if the 72 hour time frame expires on a
weekend or legal holiday, the hearing shall be held on the next day which is not
a weekend or legal holiday.(b) If a child was never taken into temporary custody
or is released from temporary custody at the continued custody hearing, the
following time frames apply:(1) The petition for a child in need of services
shall be filed:(A) Within 30 days of the intake officer’s determination that a
mandatory conference would be inappropriate or futile;(B) Within 30 days of the
child’s release from temporary custody if the court determines that the
mandatory conference would be inappropriate or futile;(C) Within 30 days of a
court determination that continuing participation in the informal family
services plan procedure would be inappropriate or futile; or(D) Within 30 days
of the conclusion of the period governed by the informal family services plan
agreement if the child and family have not achieved the goals set out in such
agreement and there are reasonable grounds to believe that the child is still in
need of services. If no petition for a child in need of services is filed within
the required time frame, the complaint may be dismissed without prejudice;(2)
Summons shall be served at least 24 hours before the adjudication hearing;(3)
The adjudication hearing shall be scheduled to be held no later than 60 days
after the filing of the petition for a child in need of services; and(4) If not
held in conjunction with the adjudication hearing, the disposition hearing shall
be held and completed within 30 days after the conclusion of the adjudication
hearing.(c) If a child is not released from temporary custody at the continued
custody hearing, the following time frames apply:(1) The petition for a child in
need of services shall be filed within five days of the continued custody
hearing;(2) Summons shall be served at least 72 hours before the adjudication
hearing;(3) The adjudication hearing shall be scheduled to be held no later than
ten days after the filing of the petition for a child in need of services;
and(4) If not held in conjunction with the adjudication hearing, the disposition
hearing shall be held and completed within 30 days after the conclusion of the
adjudication hearing.

15-11-402.(a) A proceeding under this article may be commenced in the county in
which the act complained of took place.(b) If a proceeding is commenced in the
county in which the act complained of took place, the court shall transfer the
case to the county in which the child legally resides for further
proceedings.(c) When a proceeding is transferred, certified copies of all legal
and social documents and records pertaining to the proceeding on file with the
clerk of court shall accompany such transfer.

15-11-403.(a) A child shall have the right to a qualified and independent
attorney at all stages of proceedings under this article.(b) The court shall
appoint an attorney for a child alleged to be a child in need of services.(c)
The court shall appoint a guardian ad litem for a child alleged to be a child in
need of services:(1) At the request of the child’s attorney; or(2) Upon the
court’s own motion if it determines that a guardian ad litem is necessary to
assist the court in determining the best interests of the child.(d) The role of
a guardian ad litem in a proceeding for a child in need of services shall be the
same role as provided for in all deprivation proceedings under Article 3 of this
chapter.(e) If an attorney or a guardian ad litem has previously been appointed
for the child in a deprivation or delinquency proceeding, the court, when
possible, shall appoint the same attorney or guardian ad litem.(f) An attorney
appointed to represent the child in a proceeding for a child in need of services
shall continue the representation in any subsequent appeals unless excused by
the court.(g) Neither the child nor a representative of the child may waive the
right to an attorney in a proceeding for a child in need of services.(h) A child
shall be informed of his or her right to an attorney at or prior to the first
mandatory conference and prior to the first court proceeding for a child in need
of services. A child shall be given an opportunity to:(1) Obtain and employ an
attorney of the child’s own choice; or(2) To obtain a court appointed attorney
if the court determines that the child is indigent.

15-11-404.A continuance shall be granted only upon a showing of good cause and
only for that period of time shown to be necessary by the moving party at the
hearing on such motion. Whenever any continuance is granted, the facts which
require the continuance shall be entered into the court record.15-11-405.If a
child is alleged or found to be a child in need of services and is placed in an
eligible shelter care placement, the child shall be required to have a case
plan. In addition to the case plan requirements of Code Section 15-11-201, a
case plan shall include:(1) A description of the child’s strengths and needs;(2)
A description of specific parental strengths and needs;(3) A description of
other personal, family, or environmental problems that may contribute to the
child’s behaviors;(4) A description of the safety, physical, and mental health
needs of the child;(5) Identification of the least restrictive placement to
safeguard the child’s best interests and protect the community;(6) An assessment
of the availability of community resources to address the child’s and family’s
needs;(7) An assessment of the availability of court diversion services; and(8)
An assessment of the availability of other preventive measures.

15-11-406.Any proceeding or other processes or actions alleging for the first
time that a child is a runaway shall be terminated or dismissed upon the request
of the parent, guardian, or legal custodian of the child.

Part 4

15-11-410.(a) A child may be taken into temporary custody under this article:(1)
Pursuant to a court order; or(2) By a law enforcement officer when there are
reasonable grounds to believe that a child has run away from his or her parent,
guardian, or legal custodian or the circumstances are such as to endanger the
child’s health or welfare unless immediate action is taken.(b) Before entering
an order authorizing temporary custody, the court shall determine whether
continuation in the home is contrary to the child’s welfare and whether there
are available services that would prevent the need for custody. The court shall
make such determination on a case-by-case basis and shall make written findings
of fact referencing any and all evidence relied upon in reaching its
decision.(c) A person taking a child into temporary custody shall deliver the
child, with all reasonable speed and without first taking the child elsewhere,
to a medical facility if the child is believed to suffer from a serious physical
condition or illness which requires prompt treatment and, upon delivery, shall
promptly contact a juvenile court intake officer. Immediately upon being
notified by the person taking a child into custody, the intake officer shall
determine if such child should be released, remain in temporary custody, or be
brought before the court.

15-11-411.(a) A person taking a child into temporary custody shall not exercise
custody over the child except for a period of 12 hours. A child taken into
temporary custody may be placed in a nonsecure facility for a child in need of
services.(b) Counties and municipalities shall be authorized to establish
nonsecure facilities where a child who is suspected of being a child in need of
services may be placed until the parent, guardian, or legal custodian assumes
custody of the child.(c) Immediately after a child is brought into a nonsecure
facility, every effort shall be made to contact the parents, guardian, or legal
custodian of the child.(d) If a parent, guardian, or legal custodian has not
assumed custody of the child in a nonsecure facility at the end of the 12 hour
period, the court shall be notified and shall place the child in the least
restrictive placement consistent with the child’s needs for protection or
control in the following order of priority:(1) In the custody of the child’s
parents, guardian, or legal custodian upon their promise to bring the child
before the court when requested by the court;(2) In the custody of DFCS which
shall promptly arrange for eligible shelter care placement of the child.

15-11-412.(a) For purposes of this Code section, the term ‘separately’ means a
sight and sound separation in holding cells and sleeping quarters and shall not
apply to dining facilities, educational activities, and daily program activities
where adequate adult supervision is provided.(b) A child may be held in a secure
juvenile detention facility until a continued custody hearing is held, provided
that such child is not held in a secure detention facility for more than 24
hours, can be detained separately from children who have been adjudicated
delinquent, and any of the following apply:(1) It is alleged that the child is a
runaway;(2) It is alleged that the child is habitually disobedient of the
reasonable and lawful commands of his or her parent, guardian, or legal
custodian and is ungovernable; or(3) The child has previously failed to appear
at a scheduled hearing.(c) A child placed in a secure detention facility
pursuant to subsection (b) of this Code section shall be appointed an attorney
prior to the continued custody hearing.(d) In no case shall a child in custody
be detained in a jail, adult lock-up, or other adult detention facility.

15-11-413.(a) If the child is being held in a secure juvenile detention
facility, a continued custody hearing shall be held within 24 hours. If such
hearing is not held within the time specified, the child shall be released from
temporary detention in accordance with subsection (d) of Code Section 15-11-411
and with authorization of the detaining authority.(b) If a child is not being
held in a secure juvenile detention facility and has not been released to the
custody of the child’s parent, guardian, or legal custodian, a hearing shall be
held promptly and not later than 72 hours after the child is placed in eligible
shelter care, provided that, if the 72 hour time frame expires on a weekend or
legal holiday, the hearing shall be held on the next day which is not a weekend
or legal holiday.(c) At the commencement of the continued custody hearing, the
court shall inform the parties of:(1) The nature of the allegations;(2) The
nature of the proceedings;(3) The possible consequences or dispositions that may
apply to the child’s case following adjudication; and(4) Due process rights,
including the right to an attorney and to an appointed attorney; the privilege
against self-incrimination; that the child may remain silent and that anything
said may be used against the child; the right to confront anyone who testifies
against the child and to cross-examine any persons who appear against the child;
the right of the child to testify and to compel other witnesses to attend and
testify in his or her own behalf; the right of the child to a speedy
adjudication hearing; and the right to appeal and be provided with a transcript
for such purpose.

15-11-414.(a) At the continued custody hearing, the court shall determine
whether there is probable cause to believe that the child has committed a status
offense or is otherwise a child in need of services and that continued custody
is necessary.(b) If the court determines there is probable cause to believe that
the child has committed a status offense or is otherwise in need of services,
the court may order that the child:(1) Be released to the custody of a parent,
guardian, or legal custodian; or(2) Be placed in the least restrictive
preadjudication placement consistent with the child’s need for protection and
control as authorized by Code Section 15-11-411 and in accordance with Code
Section 15-11-415.(c) If the court determines there is probable cause to believe
that the child has committed a status offense or is otherwise in need of
services, the court shall:(1) Refer the child and the child’s family for a
mandatory conference;(2) Order that a petition for a child in need of services
be filed and set a date for an adjudication hearing if the court determines that
a mandatory conference would be inappropriate or futile; or(3) When a child and
his or her family are already participating in informal family services plan
procedures, order that a petition for a child in need of services be filed and
set a date for an adjudication hearing if the court determines that continuing
participation in the informal family services plan procedures would be
inappropriate or futile.(d) Following the continued custody hearing, the court
may detain a child in a secure juvenile detention facility for up to 24 hours,
excluding weekends and legal holidays, only for the purpose of providing
adequate time to arrange for an appropriate alternative placement pending the
adjudication hearing.(e) All orders shall contain written findings as to the
form or conditions of release. If a child cannot be returned to the custody of
his or her parent, guardian, or legal custodian at the hearing, the court shall
state the facts upon which the continued custody is based. The court shall make
the following findings of fact referencing any and all evidence relied upon to
make its determinations:(1) Whether continuation in the home of the parent,
guardian, or legal custodian is contrary to the child’s welfare; and(2) Whether
reasonable efforts have been made to safely maintain the child in the home of
his or her parent, guardian, or legal custodian and to prevent or eliminate the
need for removal. Such finding shall be made at the continued custody hearing if
possible but in no case later than 60 days following the child’s removal from
the home.

15-11-415.(a) Restraints on the freedom of a child prior to adjudication shall
be imposed only when there is probable cause to believe that the child committed
the act of which he or she is accused, there is clear and convincing evidence
that the child’s freedom should be restrained, that no less restrictive
alternatives will suffice, and:(1) The child’s detention or care is required to
reduce the likelihood that the child may inflict serious bodily harm on others
during the interim period;(2) The child’s detention is necessary to secure the
child’s presence in court to protect the jurisdiction and processes of the
court; or(3) An order for the child’s detention has been made by the court.(b) A
child shall not be detained:(1) To punish, treat, or rehabilitate the child;(2)
To allow a parent, guardian, or legal custodian to avoid his or her legal
responsibilities;(3) To satisfy demands by a victim, law enforcement, or the
community;(4) To permit more convenient administrative access to the child;(5)
To facilitate further interrogation or investigation; or(6) Due to a lack of a
more appropriate facility.(c) Whenever a child cannot be unconditionally
released, conditional or supervised release that results in the least necessary
interference with the liberty of the child shall be favored over more intrusive
alternatives.(d) Whenever the curtailment of a child’s freedom is permitted, the
exercise of authority shall reflect the following values:(1) Respect for the
privacy, dignity, and individuality of the child and his or her family;(2)
Protection of the psychological and physical health of the child;(3) Tolerance
of the diverse values and preferences among different groups and individuals;(4)
Assurance of equality of treatment by race, class, ethnicity, and sex;(5)
Avoidance of regimentation and depersonalization of the child;(6) Avoidance of
stigmatization of the child; and(7) Assurance that the child has been informed
of his or her right to consult with an attorney and that, if the child cannot
afford an attorney, one will be provided.(e) Before entering an order
authorizing detention, the court shall determine whether continuation in the
home is contrary to the child’s welfare and whether there are available services
that would prevent or eliminate the need for detention. The court shall make
such determination on a case-by-case basis and shall make written findings of
fact referencing any and all evidence relied upon in reaching its decision.(f)
If a child can remain in the custody of his or her parent, guardian, or legal
custodian through the provision of services to prevent the need for removal, the
court shall order that such services shall be provided.

15-11-416.(a) A child alleged or found to have committed a status offense may be
held in a secure juvenile detention facility for more than 24 hours if:(1) The
child is alleged to have violated a valid court order; and(2) At the continued
custody hearing, the court finds that there is probable cause to believe that
the child violated the court order.(b) If there is probable cause to believe
that the child violated a valid court order, the child may be held in a secure
juvenile detention facility until a violation hearing is held but in no event
shall a child’s detention prior to a violation hearing exceed 72 hours,
excluding weekends and legal holidays.(c) At a violation hearing, the court may
order that the child be placed in a secure juvenile detention facility if the
court:(1) Affirms that the requirements for a valid court order were met at the
time the original order finding the child to have committed a status offense was
issued;(2) Finds that the child was afforded due process rights; and(3) Received
and reviewed a written report prepared by DFCS that described the behavior of
the child and the circumstances under which the child was brought before the
court and made subject to such order; determined the reasons for the child’s
behavior; and determined whether all dispositions other than secure confinement
have been exhausted or are clearly inappropriate.(d) A child in need of services
who is alleged or found to have violated a valid court order remains a child in
need of services and shall not be considered a delinquent child by virtue of
such conduct.(e) If a child is to be held in secure detention under the valid
court order exception, the report prepared by DFCS in accordance with subsection
(c) of this Code section shall be provided to DJJ as the detention agency.

Part 5

15-11-420.All proceedings seeking an adjudication that a child is in need of
services shall be initiated by a petition filed by the prosecuting attorney.

15-11-421.(a) If a child is not released from temporary custody at the continued
custody hearing, a petition seeking an adjudication that a child is in need of
services shall be filed within five days of the continued custody hearing.(b) If
the child was never taken into temporary custody or is released from temporary
custody at the continued custody hearing, the petition seeking an adjudication
that a child is in need of services shall be filed:(1) Within 30 days of the
intake officer’s determination that a mandatory conference would be
inappropriate or futile;(2) Within 30 days of the child’s release from temporary
custody if the court determines that the mandatory conference would be
inappropriate or futile;(3) Within 30 days of a court determination that
continuing participation in the informal family services plan procedure would be
inappropriate or futile; or(4) Within 30 days of the conclusion of the period
governed by the informal family services plan agreement if the child and family
have not achieved the goals set out in such agreement and there are reasonable
grounds to believe that the child is still in need of services.(c) Upon a
showing of good cause and notice to all parties, the court may grant a requested
extension of time for filing a petition seeking an adjudication that a child is
in need of services in accordance with the best interests of the child. The
court shall issue a written order reciting the facts justifying the
extension.(d) If no petition seeking an adjudication that a child is in need of
services is filed within the required time frame, the complaint may be dismissed
without prejudice.

15-11-422.(a) The petition seeking an adjudication that a child is in need of
services shall be verified and may be on information and belief. It shall set
forth plainly and with particularity:(1) The facts which bring the child within
the jurisdiction of the court, with a statement that it is in the best interests
of the child and the public that the proceeding be brought;(2) The name, date of
birth, and residence address of the child on whose behalf such petition is being
brought;(3) The name and residence address of the parent, guardian, or legal
custodian of the child; or, if the child’s parent, guardian, or legal custodian
resides or cannot be found within the state, the name of any known adult
relative residing within the county or, if there is none, the known adult
relative residing nearest to the location of the court;(4) The name, age, and
residence address of any other family member living within the child’s home;(5)
Whether all available and appropriate attempts to encourage voluntary use of
community services by the family have been exhausted; and(6) Whether any of the
matters required by this subsection are unknown.(b) If a petition seeking an
adjudication that a child is in need of services is based on a complaint filed
by a school official, such petition shall be dismissed unless it includes
information which shows that:(1) The legally liable school district has sought
to resolve the expressed problem through available educational approaches;
and(2) The school district has sought to engage the parent, guardian, or legal
custodian in solving the problem but any such individual has been unwilling or
unable to do so; that the problem remains, and that court intervention is
needed.(c) If a petition seeking an adjudication that a child is in need of
services is based on a complaint filed by a school official involving a child
who is eligible or suspected to be eligible for services under the federal
Individuals with Disabilities Education Act or Section 504 of the federal
Rehabilitation Act, such petition shall be dismissed unless it includes
information which demonstrates that the legally liable school district:(1) Has
determined that the child is eligible or suspected to be eligible under the
federal Individuals with Disabilities Education Act or Section 504 of the
federal Rehabilitation Act; and(2) Has reviewed for appropriateness the child’s
current individualized education program (IEP) and placement and has made
modifications where appropriate.

15-11-423.(a) The court shall direct the issuance of a summons to the child, the
child’s parent, guardian, or legal custodian, DFCS and any other public agencies
or institutions providing services, and any other persons who appear to the
court to be proper or necessary parties to the child in need of services
proceeding requiring them to appear before the court at the time fixed to answer
the allegations of the petition seeking an adjudication that a child is in need
of services. A copy of such petition shall accompany the summons.(b) The summons
shall state that a party is entitled to an attorney in the proceedings and that
the court will appoint an attorney if the party is an indigent person.(c) A
party other than the child may waive service of summons by written stipulation
or by voluntary appearance at the hearing.

15-11-424.(a) If a party to be served with a summons is within this state and
can be found, the summons shall be served upon him or her personally as soon as
possible and at least 24 hours before the adjudication hearing.(b) If a party to
be served is within this state and cannot be found but his or her address is
known or can be ascertained with reasonable diligence, the summons shall be
served upon such party at least five days before the adjudication hearing by
mailing him or her a copy by registered or certified mail or statutory overnight
delivery, return receipt requested.(c) If a party to be served is outside this
state but his or her address is known or can be ascertained with reasonable
diligence, service of the summons shall be made at least five days before the
adjudication hearing either by delivering a copy to such party personally or by
mailing a copy to him or her by registered or certified mail or statutory
overnight delivery, return receipt requested.(d) Service of the summons may be
made by any suitable person under the direction of the court.(e) The court may
authorize payment from county funds of the costs of service and of necessary
travel expenses incurred by persons summoned or otherwise required to appear at
the hearing on the petition seeking an adjudication that a child is in need of
services.

15-11-425.(a) In the event a parent, guardian, or legal custodian of the child
willfully fails to appear personally at a hearing on the petition seeking an
adjudication that a child is in need of services after being ordered to so
appear or the parent, guardian, or legal custodian of the child willfully fails
to bring the child to such hearing after being so directed, the court may issue
a rule nisi against the person directing the person to appear before the court
to show cause why he or she should not be held in contempt of court.(b) If the
parent, guardian, or legal custodian fails to appear in response to an order to
show cause, the court may issue a bench warrant directing that the parent,
guardian, or legal custodian be brought before the court without delay to show
cause why he or she should not be held in contempt and the court may enter any
order authorized by the provisions of Code Section 15-11-30.(c) In the event an
agency representative willfully fails to appear at a mandatory conference or a
hearing on the petition seeking an adjudication that a child is in need of
services after being ordered to so appear, the court may direct the appropriate
agency representative to appear before the court to show cause why a contempt
order should not issue.(d) If a child 16 years of age or older fails to appear
at a hearing on the petition seeking an adjudication that a child is in need of
services after being ordered to so appear, the court may issue a bench warrant
requiring that the child be brought before the court without delay and the court
may enter any order authorized by and in accordance with the provisions of Code
Section 15-11-30.(e) If there is sworn testimony that a child 14 years of age
but not yet 16 years of age willfully refuses to appear at a hearing on the
petition seeking an adjudication that a child is in need of services after being
ordered to so appear, the court may issue a bench warrant requiring that the
child be brought before the court and the court may enter any order authorized
by and in accordance with the provisions of Code Section 15-11-30.

Part 6

15-11-440.The petitioner has the burden of proving the allegations of a child in
need of services petition beyond a reasonable doubt.

15-11-441.(a) If a child is in continued custody but not in secure detention,
the adjudication hearing shall be scheduled to be held no later than ten days
after the filing of the petition seeking an adjudication that a child is in need
of services. If the child is not in continued custody, the adjudication hearing
shall be scheduled to be held no later than 60 days after the filing of such
petition.(b) At the conclusion of the adjudication hearing, the court shall
determine whether the child is a child in need of services.

15-11-442.(a) If the court finds the child is in need of services, a final
disposition hearing shall be held and completed within 30 days of the conclusion
of the adjudication hearing.(b) The court shall order the least restrictive and
most appropriate disposition. Such disposition may include:(1) Permitting the
child to remain with the child’s caregiver without limitations or conditions;(2)
Permitting the child to remain with the child’s caregiver subject to such
limitations and conditions as the court may prescribe, including ordering the
child, the family, or both to undergo physical examination or treatment, accept
individual or family counseling, or submit to psychiatric examination or
treatment or psychological examination or treatment as determined by the
court;(3) Placing the child on probation on such terms and conditions as deemed
in the best interests of the child and the public. An order granting probation
to a child in need of services may be revoked on the ground that the terms and
conditions of the probation have not been observed;(4) Requiring that the child
perform community service in a manner prescribed by the court and under the
supervision of an individual designated by the court;(5) Requiring that the
child make restitution. A restitution order may remain in force and effect
simultaneously with another order of the court. Payment of funds shall be made
by the child or the child’s family or employer directly to the clerk of the
juvenile court entering the order or another employee of that court designated
by the judge, and such court shall disburse such funds in the manner authorized
in the order. While an order requiring restitution is in effect, the court may
transfer enforcement of its order to:(A) The juvenile court of the county of the
child’s residence and its probation staff, if the child changes his or her place
of residence; or(B) A superior court once the child reaches 18 years of age if
the child thereafter comes under the jurisdiction of the superior court;(6)
Imposing a fine on a child who has committed an offense which, if committed by
an adult, would be a violation under the criminal laws of this state or has
violated an ordinance or bylaw of a county, city, town, or consolidated
government. Such fine shall not exceed the fine which may be imposed against an
adult for the same offense;(7) Requiring the child to attend structured
after-school or evening programs or other court approved programs as well as
requiring supervision of the child during the time of the day in which the child
most often used to perform the acts complained of in the petition alleging that
the child is in need of services;(8) Any order authorized for the disposition of
a deprived child;(9) Assigning the child to the custody of a private or public
institution or agency including committing the child to DJJ. A child shall not
be placed in a correctional facility designed and operated exclusively for
delinquent children, nor shall such facility accept the child, unless the child
has violated a valid court order; or(10) Any combination of the dispositions set
forth in paragraphs (1) through (9) of this subsection as the court deems to be
in the best interests of the child and the public.(c) The court may make orders
relative to the support and maintenance of the child during the period after the
child’s eighteenth birthday as permitted by law.(d) All disposition orders shall
include written findings as to the basis for the disposition and such conditions
as the court imposes and a specific plan of the services to be provided.

15-11-443.(a) An order of disposition shall be in effect for the shortest time
necessary to accomplish the purposes of the order and for not more than two
years. A written disposition order shall state the length of time the order is
to be in effect. An order of extension may be made if:(1) A hearing is held
prior to the expiration of the order upon motion of DFCS, DJJ, the prosecuting
attorney, or on the court’s own motion;(2) Reasonable notice of the factual
basis of the motion and of the hearing and opportunity to be heard are given to
the parties affected;(3) The court finds that the extension is necessary to
accomplish the purposes of the order extended; and(4) The extension does not
exceed two years from the expiration of the prior order.(b) The court may
terminate an order of disposition or an extension of such a disposition order
prior to its expiration, on its own motion or an application of a party, if it
appears to the court that the purposes of the order have been accomplished.(c)
When a child reaches 18 years of age, all orders affecting him or her then in
force shall terminate and he or she shall be discharged from further obligation
or control.

15-11-444.(a) An order granting probation to a child found to be a child in need
of services may be revoked on the ground that the conditions of probation have
been violated.(b) Any violation of a condition of probation may be reported to
the prosecuting attorney who may file a motion in court for revocation of
probation. A motion for revocation of probation shall contain specific factual
allegations constituting each violation of a condition of probation.(c) The
motion shall be served upon the child, his or her attorney, and parent,
guardian, or legal custodian in accordance with the provisions of Code Section
15-11-424.(d) If a child is taken into custody because of the alleged violation
of probation, the provisions governing the detention of a child under this
article shall apply.(e) A revocation hearing shall be scheduled to be held no
later than 30 days after the filing of a motion to revoke probation or, if the
child has been detained as a result of the filing of the motion for revocation,
in accordance with Code Section 15-11-416.(f) If the court finds, beyond a
reasonable doubt, that a child violated the terms and conditions of probation,
the court may:(1) Extend probation;(2) Impose additional conditions of
probation; or(3) Make any disposition that could have been made at the time
probation was imposed.

15-11-445.The court shall review the disposition of a child in need of services
at least once within three months after such disposition and at least every six
months thereafter so long as the order of disposition is in effect.

Part 7

15-11-450.The periodic review hearing requirements under Article 3 of this
chapter shall apply to proceedings involving a child alleged or found to be a
child in need of services and placed in an eligible shelter care placement.

15-11-451.(a) The permanency plan requirements under Article 3 of this chapter
shall apply to proceedings involving a child alleged or found to be a child in
need of services and placed in an eligible shelter care placement.(b) In
addition to those compelling reasons set forth in Code Section 15-11-233, a
compelling reason for determining that filing a termination of parental rights
petition is not in the best interests of a child in need of services may
include, but shall not be limited to:(1) The child needs continued out-of-home
placement for an additional number of months and the parent, guardian, or legal
custodian has cooperated with referrals, visitation, and family conferences as
well as therapy;(2) The child is habitually truant and absconds from the home,
the current placement setting has an on-site school with therapeutic
intervention and restricted leave policies, and the child and parent are
cooperative with services and referrals; or(3) The child is uncooperative with
services or referrals.

Part 8

15-11-460.(a) After determining, in accordance with the provisions of Article 8
of this chapter, that a child who has been alleged to have committed a
delinquent act is unrestorably incompetent to stand trial and the court makes a
finding that the child is a child in need of services, the court shall appoint a
plan manager, if one has not already been appointed, to direct the development
of a mental health plan for such child.(b) A mental health plan shall be
developed at a meeting of all relevant parties convened by the plan manager. The
plan manager shall request that the following persons attend such meeting:(1)
The parent, guardian, or legal custodian of the child;(2) The child’s
attorney;(3) The prosecuting attorney;(4) The child’s guardian ad litem, if
any;(5) Mental health or mental retardation representatives;(6) The child’s
caseworker;(7) A representative from the child’s school; and(8) Any family
member of the child who has shown an interest and involvement in the child’s
well-being.(c) The plan manager may request that other relevant persons attend
the mental health plan meeting including but not limited to the following:(1) A
representative from the Division of Public Health;(2) A DFCS caseworker; and(3)
Representatives of the public and private resources to be utilized in the
plan.(d) The plan manager shall be responsible for collecting all previous
histories of the child, including, but not limited to, previous evaluations,
assessments, and school records and for making such histories available for
consideration by the persons at the mental health plan meeting.(e) Unless a time
extension is granted by the court, the plan manager shall submit the mental
health plan to the court within 30 days of the entry of the court’s disposition
order for a child found to be unrestorably incompetent to stand trial under
Article 8 of this chapter. The plan shall include the following:(1) An outline
of the specific provisions for supervision of the child for protection of the
community and the child;(2) An outline of a plan designed to provide treatment,
habilitation, support, or supervision services in the least restrictive
environment;(3) If the child’s evaluation recommends treatment in a secure
environment, certification by the plan manager that all other appropriate
community based treatment options have been exhausted; and(4) Identification of
all parties, including the child, agency representatives, and other persons
responsible for each element of the plan.(f) The plan manager shall also be
responsible for:(1) Convening a meeting of all parties and representatives of
all agencies prior to the mental health plan hearing and review hearings;(2)
Identifying to the court any person who should provide testimony at the mental
health plan hearing; and(3) Monitoring the mental health plan, presenting to the
court amendments to the plan as needed, and presenting evidence to the court for
the reapproval of the plan at subsequent review hearings.

15-11-461.(a) The court shall hold a mental health plan hearing within 30 days
after the mental health plan has been submitted to the court for the purpose of
approving the plan. Thereafter, the court shall hold a mental health plan
hearing every six months for the purpose of reviewing the child’s condition and
approving the mental health plan.(b) The persons required to be notified of the
mental health plan hearing and witnesses identified by the plan manager shall be
given at least ten days’ prior notice of the hearing and any subsequent hearing
to review the child’s condition and shall be afforded an opportunity to be heard
at any such hearing. The victim, if any, of the child’s alleged delinquent act
shall also be provided with the same ten days’ prior notice and shall be
afforded an opportunity to be heard and to present a victim impact statement to
the court at the mental health plan hearing. The judge shall make a
determination regarding sequestration of witnesses in order to protect the
privileges and confidentiality rights of the child.(c) At the mental health plan
hearing, the court shall enter an order incorporating a mental health plan as
part of the disposition of the mental health plan hearing. At the time of the
disposition, the child shall be placed in an appropriate treatment setting, as
recommended by the examiner, unless the child has already been placed in an
appropriate treatment setting pursuant to subsection (g) of Code Section
15-11-656.(d) If, during the mental health plan hearing or any subsequent review
hearing, the court determines that the child meets criteria for civil
commitment, the child shall be committed to a secure treatment facility.(e) At
any time, in the event of a change in circumstances regarding the child, the
court on its own motion or on the motion of the attorney representing the child,
any guardian ad litem for the child, the prosecuting attorney, or the plan
manager may set a hearing for review of the mental health plan and any proposed
amendments to such plan. The court may issue an appropriate order incorporating
an amended plan.(f) If a child is under a mental health plan when he or she
reaches the age of 18, the plan manager shall make a referral for appropriate
adult services.

ARTICLE 7
Part 1

15-11-470.The purpose of this article is:(1) Consistent with the protection of
the public interest, to hold a child committing delinquent acts accountable for
his or her actions, taking into account the child’s age, education, mental and
physical condition, background, and all other relevant factors but to mitigate
the adult consequences of criminal behavior;(2) To accord due process of law to
each child who is accused of having committed a delinquent act;(3) To provide
for a child committing delinquent acts programs of supervision, care, and
rehabilitation which ensure balanced attention to the protection of the
community, the imposition of accountability, and the development of competencies
to enable a child to become a responsible and productive member of the
community;(4) To promote a continuum of services for a child and his or her
family from prevention to aftercare, considering, whenever possible, prevention,
diversion, and early intervention, including an emphasis on community based
alternatives;(5) To provide effective sanctions to acts of juvenile delinquency;
and(6) To strengthen families and to successfully reintegrate children into
homes and communities.

15-11-471.As used in this article, the term:(1) ‘AIDS transmitting crime’ means
aggravated child molestation, aggravated sodomy, child molestation, incest,
prostitution, rape, sodomy, solicitation of sodomy, statutory rape, or any
offense involving a violation of Article 2 of Chapter 13 of Title 16 if such
offense involves heroin, cocaine, derivatives of either, or any other controlled
substance in Schedule I, II, III, IV, or V and that other substance is commonly
intravenously injected, as determined by the regulations of the department.(2)
‘Arraignment’ means the formal act of calling the child into open court,
informing him or her of the allegations of the petition alleging delinquency,
and the entry of a preliminary statement, if any, indicating whether the child
shall admit or deny the allegations of such petition.(3) ‘Determined to be
infected with HIV’ means having a confirmed positive human immunodeficiency
virus (‘HIV’) test or having been clinically diagnosed as having AIDS.(4)
‘Electronic recording’ includes motion picture, audiotape, videotape, or digital
recording.(5) ‘HIV test’ means any antibody, antigen, viral particle, viral
culture, or other test to indicate the presence of HIV in the human body, which
test has been approved for such purposes by the regulations of the
department.(6) ‘Intensive supervision’ means the monitoring of a child’s
activities on a more frequent basis than regular aftercare supervision, pursuant
to regulations of the commissioner of juvenile justice.(7) ‘Preadjudication
custody’ begins when an intake officer or other authorized officer of the court
authorizes the placement of a child in a regional youth detention center.

15-11-472.(a) A detention hearing shall be held promptly and no later than:(1)
Two business days after the child is placed in preadjudication custody if the
child is taken into custody without an arrest warrant; or(2) Three business days
after the child is placed in preadjudication custody if the child is taken into
custody pursuant to an arrest warrant.(b) If a child is placed in
preadjudication custody without an arrest warrant and the detention hearing
cannot be held within 48 hours because the expiration of the 48 hours falls on a
weekend or legal holiday, the court shall review the decision to detain a child
and make a finding based on probable cause within 48 hours of the child being
placed in preadjudication custody.(c) If a child is released from
preadjudication custody at the detention hearing or was never taken into
custody, the following time frames apply:(1) If filed, the petition alleging
delinquency shall be filed within 30 days of the filing of the complaint or
within 30 days of the child’s release from preadjudication custody;(2) Summons
shall be served at least 72 hours before the adjudication hearing;(3) The
arraignment hearing shall be scheduled no later than 30 days after the filing of
the petition alleging delinquency;(4) The adjudication hearing shall be held no
later than 60 days from the filing of the petition alleging delinquency; and(5)
The disposition hearing shall be held within 30 days of the adjudication hearing
unless the court makes written findings of fact explaining the delay.(d) If a
child is not released from preadjudication custody at the detention hearing, the
following time frames apply:(1) The petition alleging delinquency shall be filed
within 72 hours of the detention hearing;(2) Summons shall be served at least 72
hours before the adjudication hearing;(3) The adjudication hearing shall be held
no later than ten days after the filing of the petition alleging delinquency;
and(4) The disposition hearing shall be held within 30 days of the adjudication
hearing unless the court makes written findings of fact explaining the delay.

15-11-473.(a) A prosecuting attorney shall conduct delinquency proceedings on
behalf of the state.(b) Except as provided in Article 10 of this chapter, in any
delinquency proceeding, the prosecuting attorney shall be entitled to complete
access to all court files, probation files, hearing transcripts, delinquency
reports, and any other juvenile court records. It shall be the duty of the
clerk, probation officers of the juvenile court, and DJJ to assist the
prosecuting attorney in obtaining any requested items.

15-11-474.(a) The child and the state shall be parties at all stages of
delinquency proceedings.(b) The child’s parent, guardian, or legal custodian
shall have the right to notice, the right to be present in the courtroom, and
the opportunity to be heard at all stages of delinquency proceedings.(c) DJJ
shall receive notice of the disposition hearing.

15-11-475.(a) A child shall have the right to be represented by an attorney at
all proceedings under this article.(b) A child’s parent, guardian, or legal
custodian shall not waive the child’s right to be represented by an attorney.(c)
A child may waive the right to an attorney only after consultation with an
attorney.(d) Prior to the detention hearing, if any, the court shall appoint a
qualified and competent attorney to represent the child unless an attorney has
been retained and appears on behalf of the child. Nothing in this subsection
shall prohibit a judge from releasing a child from detention prior to
appointment of an attorney.(e) Upon presentation by an attorney for the child of
the order of appointment or a court order specifically allowing such access, any
state or local agency, department, authority, or institution and any school,
hospital, physician, or other health or mental health care provider shall permit
the child’s attorney to inspect and copy, without the consent of the child or
the child’s parent, guardian, or legal custodian, any records relating to the
child involved in the case.

15-11-476.(a) The court shall appoint a separate guardian ad litem whenever:(1)
A child appears before the court without a parent, guardian, or legal
custodian;(2) It appears to the court that the child’s parent, guardian, or
legal custodian is incapable or unwilling to make decisions in the best
interests of the child with respect to proceedings under this article such that
there may be a conflict of interest between the child and his or her parent,
guardian, or legal custodian; or(3) The court finds that it is otherwise in the
child’s best interests to do so.(b) The role of a guardian ad litem in a
delinquency proceeding shall be the same role as provided for in all deprivation
proceedings under Article 3 of this chapter.(c) Neither the child’s attorney nor
the child’s parent, guardian, or legal custodian shall prohibit or impede access
to the child by the guardian ad litem.

15-11-477.A continuance shall be granted only upon a showing of good cause and
only for that period of time shown to be necessary by the moving party at the
hearing on the motion. Whenever any continuance is granted, the facts which
require the continuance shall be entered into the court record.

15-11-478.Statements made in the course of intake screening of a child or in the
course of treatment, evaluation, or any other related services shall be
inadmissible and shall not be considered by the court.

15-11-479.(a) When a child enters a denial to the petition alleging delinquency,
jeopardy attaches when the first witness is sworn at the adjudication
hearing.(b) When a child enters an admission to the petition alleging
delinquency, jeopardy attaches when the court accepts the admission.

15-11-480.(a) When a child is alleged to be delinquent and is placed in an
eligible shelter care placement, DJJ shall develop and complete the child’s case
plan. When the child is in DFCS custody, DJJ shall cooperate with DFCS in
developing and completing the child’s case plan.(b) In addition to the case plan
requirements of Code Section 15-11-201, the case plan for a child in delinquency
proceedings shall include:(1) A description of the child’s strengths and
needs;(2) A description of specific parental strengths and needs;(3) A
description of other personal, family, or environmental problems that contribute
to the child’s delinquent behaviors;(4) A description of the safety, physical,
and mental health needs of the child;(5) Identification of the least restrictive
placement to safeguard the child’s best interests and protect the community;(6)
An assessment of the availability of community resources to address the child’s
and family’s needs;(7) An assessment of the availability of court diversion
services; and(8) An assessment of the availability of other preventive measures.

15-11-481.(a) In any delinquency proceeding, the juvenile court shall notify any
victim of the alleged delinquent act that the victim may submit a victim impact
statement if:(1) The child’s alleged conduct would constitute a felony if
committed by an adult and caused physical, psychological, or economic injury to
the victim; or(2) The child’s alleged conduct would constitute a misdemeanor if
committed by an adult and caused serious physical injury or death to the
victim.(b) A victim impact statement shall be attached to the case file and may
be used by the prosecuting attorney or the judge during any stage of the
proceedings against the child after adjudication.(c) A victim impact statement
shall:(1) Identify the victim of the offense and the perpetrator;(2) Itemize any
economic loss suffered by the victim as a result of the offense;(3) Identify any
physical injury suffered by the victim as a result of the offense, along with
its seriousness and permanence;(4) Describe any change in the victim’s personal
welfare or familial relationships as a result of the offense;(5) Identify any
request for physical or psychological services initiated by the victim or the
victim’s family as a result of the offense; and(6) Contain any other information
related to the impact of the offense upon the victim that the court requires.(d)
The victim may complete a victim impact statement and submit it to the juvenile
court. If the victim is unable to do so because of the victim’s mental,
emotional, or physical incapacity, or because of the victim’s age, the victim’s
attorney or a family member may complete a victim impact statement on behalf of
the victim.(e) In the manner prescribed by rule of court, the court shall
provide the child with a copy of the victim impact statement within two business
days prior to any hearing at which it is to be considered and allow the child to
have the opportunity to rebut the victim’s written statements.(f) No disposition
of the child shall be invalidated because of failure to comply with the
provisions of this Code section. This Code section shall not be construed to
create any cause of action or any right of appeal on behalf of any
person.15-11-482.In accordance with Code Sections 15-11-29 and 15-11-31, DJJ may
release a child in DJJ custody in connection with legal holidays and available
resources to transport the child.

Part 2

15-11-490.(a) A proceeding under this article may be commenced:(1) In the county
in which the child legally resides; or(2) In any county in which the alleged
delinquent acts occurred.(b) If the adjudicating court finds that a nonresident
child has committed a delinquent act, the adjudicating court may retain
jurisdiction over the disposition of the nonresident child or may transfer the
proceeding to the county of the child’s residence for disposition. Like transfer
may be made if the residence of the child changes pending the proceeding.(c) If
the adjudicating court retains jurisdiction, prior to making any order for
disposition of the nonresident child, the adjudicating court shall communicate
to the court of the county of the child’s residence the fact that the child has
been found to have committed a delinquent act. Such communication shall state
the date upon which the adjudicating court plans to enter an order for
disposition of the nonresident child and shall request any information or
recommendations relevant to the disposition of the nonresident child. Any such
recommendation shall be considered by but shall not be binding upon the
adjudicating court in making its order for disposition.(d) When any case is
transferred, certified copies of all documents and records pertaining to the
case on file with the clerk of the court shall accompany the transfer.

Part 3

15-11-500.If it appears from a filed affidavit or from sworn testimony before
the court that the conduct, condition, or surroundings of the child are
endangering the child’s health or welfare or those of others or that the child
may abscond or be removed from the jurisdiction of the court or will not be
brought before the court, notwithstanding the service of the summons, the court
may endorse upon the summons an order that a law enforcement officer shall serve
the summons and take the child into immediate custody and bring the child
forthwith before the court.

15-11-501.(a) A child may be taken into custody:(1) Pursuant to an order of the
court under this article, including an order to a DJJ employee to apprehend:(A)
A child who has escaped from an institution or facility operated by DJJ; or(B) A
child who has been placed under supervision and who has violated its
conditions;(2) Pursuant to the laws of arrest; or(3) By a law enforcement
officer or duly authorized officer of the court if there are reasonable grounds
to believe that the child has committed a delinquent act.(b) A law enforcement
officer taking a child into custody shall promptly give notice together with a
statement of the reasons for taking the child into custody to a parent,
guardian, or legal custodian and to the court.(c) When a child who is taken into
custody has committed an act which would constitute a felony if committed by an
adult, the juvenile court, within 48 hours after it learns of the child having
been taken into custody, shall notify the prosecuting attorney of the judicial
circuit in which the juvenile proceedings are to be instituted.

15-11-502.(a) A person taking a child into custody, with all reasonable speed
and without first taking the child elsewhere, shall:(1) Immediately release the
child, without bond, to the child’s parent, guardian, or legal custodian upon
their promise to bring the child before the court when requested by the
court;(2) Immediately deliver the child to a medical facility if the child is
believed to suffer from a serious physical condition or illness which requires
prompt treatment and, upon delivery, shall promptly contact a juvenile court
intake officer. Immediately upon being notified by the person taking a child
into custody, the intake officer shall determine if the child should be
released, remain in protective custody, or be brought before the court; or(3)
Bring the child immediately before the juvenile court or promptly contact a
juvenile court intake officer. The court or intake officer shall determine if
the child should be released or detained. All determinations and court orders
regarding detention shall comply with the requirements of this article and shall
be based on an individual assessment of the child and the child’s circumstances.
Such assessment shall include completion and review of a detention assessment
instrument developed by the Governor’s Office for Children and Families in
consultation with DJJ and the Council of Juvenile Court Judges.(b)
Notwithstanding subsection (a) of this Code section, a law enforcement officer
may detain a child for a reasonable period of time sufficient to conduct
interrogations and perform routine law enforcement procedures including, but not
limited to, fingerprinting, photographing, and the preparation of any necessary
records.(c) Prior to a detention hearing, a child shall be placed in detention,
if necessary, only in such places as are authorized by Code Section 15-11-504.

15-11-503.(a) Restraints on the freedom of a child prior to adjudication shall
be imposed only when there is probable cause to believe that the child committed
the act of which he or she is accused, that there is clear and convincing
evidence that the child’s freedom should be restrained, that no less restrictive
alternatives will suffice, and that:(1) The child’s detention or care is
required to reduce the likelihood that the child may inflict serious bodily harm
on others during the interim period;(2) The child has a demonstrated pattern of
theft or destruction of property such that detention is required to protect the
property of others;(3) The child’s detention is necessary to secure the child’s
presence in court to protect the jurisdiction and processes of the court; or(4)
An order for the child’s detention has been made by the court.(b) All children
who are detained shall be informed of their right to bail as provided by Code
Section 15-11-507.(c) A child shall not be detained:(1) To punish, treat, or
rehabilitate the child;(2) To allow a parent to avoid his or her legal
responsibilities;(3) To satisfy demands by a victim, law enforcement, or the
community;(4) To permit more convenient administrative access to the child;(5)
To facilitate further interrogation or investigation; or(6) Due to a lack of a
more appropriate facility.(d) Whenever a child cannot be unconditionally
released, conditional or supervised release that results in the least necessary
interference with the liberty of the child shall be favored over more intrusive
alternatives.(e) Whenever the curtailment of a child’s freedom is permitted, the
exercise of authority shall reflect the following values:(1) Respect for the
privacy, dignity, and individuality of the child and his or her family;(2)
Protection of the psychological and physical health of the child;(3) Tolerance
of the diverse values and preferences among different groups and individuals;(4)
Assurance of equality of treatment by race, class, ethnicity, and sex;(5)
Avoidance of regimentation and depersonalization of the child;(6) Avoidance of
stigmatization of the child; and(7) Assurance that the child has been informed
of his or her right to consult with an attorney and that, if the child is an
indigent person, an attorney will be provided.(f) Before entering an order
authorizing detention, the court shall determine whether continuation in the
home is contrary to the child’s welfare and whether there are available services
that would prevent or eliminate the need for detention. The court shall make
that determination on a case-by-case basis and shall make written findings of
fact referencing any and all evidence relied upon in reaching its decision.(g)
If the child can remain in the custody of his or her parent, guardian, or legal
custodian, through the provision of services to prevent the need for removal,
the court shall order that such services shall be provided.

15-11-504.(a) A child alleged to be delinquent may be detained only in:(1) A
licensed foster home;(2) A home approved by the court which may be a public or
private home;(3) The home of a noncustodial parent or of a relative;(4) A
facility operated by a licensed child welfare agency; or(5) A detention home or
center for delinquent children which is under the direction or supervision of
the court or other public authority or of a private agency approved by the
court.(b) Placement shall be made in the least restrictive facility available
consistent with the best interests of the child.(c) A child 15 years of age or
older and alleged to be delinquent may be held in a jail or other facility for
the detention of adults for identification or processing procedures or while
awaiting transportation only as long as necessary to complete such activities
for up to six hours, or for up to 24 hours in nonmetropolitan areas, if all of
the following apply:(1) The child is detained for the commission of a crime that
would constitute a designated felony or a serious violent felony as defined in
Code Section 17-10-6.1;(2) The child is awaiting a detention hearing;(3) The
child’s detention hearing is scheduled within 24 hours after being taken into
custody, excluding weekends and legal holidays;(4) There is no existing
acceptable alternative placement for the child; and(5) The jail or other
facility for the detention of adults provides sight and sound separation for
juveniles which includes:(A) Total separation between juveniles and adult
facility spatial areas such that there is no verbal, visual, or physical contact
and there could be no haphazard or accidental contact between juvenile and adult
residents in the respective facilities;(B) Total separation in all juvenile and
adult program activities within the facilities, including recreation, education,
counseling, health care, dining, sleeping, and general living activities;(C)
Continuous visual supervision of the child; and(D) Separate juvenile and adult
staff, specifically direct care staff such as recreation, education, and
counseling, although specialized services staff, such as cooks, bookkeepers, and
medical professionals who are not normally in contact with detainees or whose
infrequent contacts occur under conditions of separation of juvenile and adults,
can serve both.(d) A child shall not be transported with adults who have been
charged with or convicted of a crime. DJJ may transport a child with children
who have been charged with or convicted of a crime in superior court.(e) The
official in charge of a jail or other facility for the detention of adult
offenders or persons charged with crime shall inform the court or the intake
officer immediately when a child, who appears to be under the age of 17 years,
is received at such facility and shall deliver the child to the court upon
request or transfer the child to the facility designated by the intake officer
or the court.(f) All facilities shall maintain data on each child detained and
such data shall be recorded and retained by the facility for three years and
shall be made available for inspection during normal business hours by any court
exercising juvenile court jurisdiction, by DJJ, and by the Council of Juvenile
Court Judges. The required data are:(1) Name;(2) Date of birth;(3) Sex;(4)
Race;(5) Offense or offenses for which being detained;(6) Date of and authority
for confinement;(7) Date of and authority for release or transfer; and(8) Where
transferred or to whom released.

15-11-505.If a child is brought before the court or delivered to a detention or
eligible shelter care facility designated by the court, the intake officer or
other authorized officer of the court shall immediately make an investigation
and release the child unless it appears that the child’s detention is warranted.

15-11-506.(a) A detention hearing shall be held to determine whether
preadjudication custody of a child is required. If such hearing is not held
within the time specified, the child shall be released from detention or
eligible shelter care.(b) If a child is detained and is not released from
preadjudication custody, a detention hearing shall be held promptly and not
later than:(1) Two business days after the child is placed in preadjudication
custody if the child is taken into custody without an arrest warrant; or(2)
Three business days after the child is placed in preadjudication custody if the
child is taken into custody pursuant to an arrest warrant.(c) If the detention
hearing cannot be held within two business days, in accordance with paragraph
(1) of subsection (b) of this Code section, because the date for the hearing
falls on a weekend or legal holiday, the court shall review the decision to
detain a child and make a finding based on probable cause within 48 hours of the
child being placed in preadjudication custody.(d) Reasonable oral or written
notice of the detention hearing, stating the time, place, and purpose of the
hearing, shall be given to the child and to the child’s parent, guardian, or
legal custodian, if he or she can be found. In the event the child’s parent,
guardian, or legal custodian cannot be found, the court shall forthwith appoint
a guardian ad litem for the child.(e) If the child alleged to be delinquent is
not released from preadjudication custody and a parent, guardian, or legal
custodian or guardian ad litem, if any, has not been notified of the hearing and
did not appear or waive appearance at the hearing and thereafter files the
affidavit showing such party was not notified of such hearing, the court shall
rehear the matter without unnecessary delay and shall order the child’s release
unless it appears from the hearing that the child’s detention or eligible
shelter care is required.(f) At the commencement of the detention hearing, the
court shall inform the child of:(1) The contents of the complaint or
petition;(2) The nature of the proceedings;(3) The right to make an application
for bail, as provided by Code Section 15-11-507 and Title 17;(4) The possible
consequences or dispositions that may apply to the child’s case following
adjudication; and(5) Due process rights, including the right to an attorney and
to an appointed attorney; the privilege against self-incrimination; that the
child may remain silent and that anything said may be used against the child;
the right to confront anyone who testifies against the child and to
cross-examine any persons who appear against the child; the right of the child
to testify and to compel other witnesses to attend and testify in his or her own
behalf; the right of the child to a speedy adjudication hearing; and the right
to appeal and be provided with a transcript for such purpose.(g) If the child
can be returned to the custody of his or her parent, guardian, or legal
custodian through the provision of services to eliminate the need for removal,
the court shall release the child to the physical custody of the parent,
guardian, or legal custodian and order that those services shall be provided.(h)
If the child cannot be returned to the custody of the parent, guardian, or legal
custodian, the court shall state the facts upon which the detention is based.
The court shall make the following findings of fact referencing any and all
evidence relied upon to make its determinations:(1) Whether continuation in the
home of the parent, guardian, or legal custodian is contrary to the child’s
welfare; and(2) Whether reasonable efforts have been made to safely maintain the
child in the home of his or her parent, guardian, or legal custodian and to
prevent the need for removal. Such finding shall be made at the detention
hearing if possible but in no case later than 60 days following the child’s
removal from the home.(i) If the child cannot be returned to the custody of the
parent, guardian, or legal custodian, the probation officer shall provide
referrals for services as soon as possible to enable the child’s parent,
guardian, or legal custodian to obtain any assistance that may be needed to
effectively provide the care and control necessary for the child to return home.

15-11-507.(a) All children alleged to be delinquent shall have the same right to
bail as adults.(b) The judge shall admit to bail all children in the same manner
and under the same circumstances and procedures as are applicable to adults
accused of the commission of crimes, with the exception that applying for,
holding a hearing on the application, and granting bail for children alleged to
have committed a delinquent offense may only occur:(1) At intake in accordance
with Code Section 15-11-503; or(2) At the detention hearing in accordance with
Code Section 15-11-506.(c) A court shall be authorized to release a child on
bail if the court finds that the child:(1) Poses no significant risk of fleeing
from the jurisdiction of the court or failing to appear in court when
required;(2) Poses no significant threat or danger to any person, to the
community, or to any property in the community;(3) Poses no significant risk of
committing any felony pending trial; and(4) Poses no significant risk of
intimidating witnesses or otherwise obstructing the administration of
justice.(d) If the child is accused of committing an offense that would be a
serious violent felony, as defined in Code Section 17-10-6.1, if committed by an
adult and the child has previously been adjudicated delinquent for committing an
act that would be a serious violent felony if committed by an adult, there shall
be a rebuttable presumption that no condition or combination of conditions will
reasonably assure the appearance of the child as required or assure the safety
of any other person or the community.(e) Any person having legal custody or an
adult blood relative or stepparent shall be entitled to post bail but shall be
required immediately to return the child to the individual or entity having
legal custody of the child.(f) For the purposes of this Code section, the term
‘bail’ shall include the releasing of a person on such person’s own
recognizance.

Part 4

15-11-510.(a) If a child has not been detained after the filing of a complaint,
he or she shall be promptly referred to intake or given a date for
arraignment.(b) At intake, the court, the intake officer, or other officer
designated by the court shall inform the child of:(1) The contents of the
complaint;(2) The nature of the proceedings;(3) The possible consequences or
dispositions that may apply to the child’s case following adjudication; and(4)
Due process rights, including the right to an attorney and to an appointed
attorney; the privilege against self-incrimination; that the child may remain
silent and that anything said may be used against the child; the right to
confront anyone who testifies against the child and to cross-examine any persons
who appear against the child; the right of the child to testify and to compel
other witnesses to attend and testify in his or her own behalf; the right of the
child to a speedy adjudication hearing; and the right to appeal and be provided
with a transcript for such purpose.(c) An intake officer may elect to pursue a
case through informal adjustment or other nonadjudicatory procedure in
accordance with the provisions of Code Section 15-11-515.(d) If a case is to be
prosecuted further and handled other than by informal adjustment or other
nonadjudicatory procedure, a petition for delinquency shall be filed within 30
days of the filing of a complaint.

15-11-511.(a) At arraignment, the court shall inform the child of:(1) The
contents of the petition for delinquency;(2) The nature of the proceedings;(3)
The possible consequences or dispositions that may apply to the child’s case
following adjudication; and(4) Due process rights, including the right to an
attorney and to an appointed attorney; the privilege against self-incrimination;
that the child may remain silent and that anything said may be used against the
child; the right to confront anyone who testifies against the child and to
cross-examine any persons who appear against the child; the right of the child
to testify and to compel other witnesses to attend and testify in his or her own
behalf; the right of the child to a speedy adjudication hearing; and the right
to appeal and be provided with a transcript for such purpose.(b) The court shall
appoint a qualified and competent attorney to represent the child at arraignment
unless an attorney has been retained and appears on the child’s behalf.(c) At
arraignment the child may make a preliminary statement indicating whether he or
she shall admit or deny the allegations of the complaint at the adjudication
hearing but the court shall not accept an admission at arraignment.

Part 5

15-11-515.(a) Before a petition for informal adjustment is filed, a probation
officer or other officer designated by the court, subject to the court’s
direction, may inform the parties of informal adjustment if it appears that:(1)
The admitted facts bring the case within the jurisdiction of the court;(2)
Counsel and advice without an adjudication would be in the best interests of the
public and the child, taking into account at least the following factors:(A) The
nature of the alleged offense;(B) The age and individual circumstances of the
child;(C) The child’s prior record, if any;(D) Recommendations for informal
adjustment made by the complainant or the victim; and(E) Services to meet the
child’s needs and problems may be unavailable within the formal court system or
may be provided more effectively by alternative community programs; and(3) The
child and the child’s parent, guardian, or legal custodian consent with
knowledge that consent is not obligatory.(b) The giving of counsel and advice
shall not extend beyond three months unless extended by the court for an
additional period not to exceed three months and shall not authorize the
detention of the child if not otherwise permitted by this article.(c) An
incriminating statement made by a participant to the person giving counsel or
advice and in the discussion or conferences incident thereto shall not be used
against the declarant over objection in any hearing except in a hearing on
disposition in a juvenile court proceeding or in a criminal proceeding upon
conviction for the purpose of a presentence investigation.(d) If a child is
alleged to have committed a felony, the case shall not be subject to informal
adjustment, counsel, or advice without the prior consent of the district
attorney or his or her authorized representative.

Part 6

15-11-520.A petition alleging delinquency shall be filed only by the prosecuting
attorney.

15-11-521.(a) If a child is in detention prior to adjudication, the petition
alleging delinquency shall be filed not later than 72 hours after the detention
hearing. If no petition alleging delinquency is filed within the applicable
time, the child shall be released.(b) If the child is not in detention prior to
adjudication, the petition alleging delinquency shall be filed within 30 days of
the filing of the complaint alleging violation of a criminal law or within 30
days of the child’s release pursuant to a determination that detention is not
warranted.

15-11-522.(a) The petition alleging delinquency shall be verified and may be on
information and belief. It shall set forth plainly and with particularity:(1)
The facts which bring the child within the jurisdiction of the court, with a
statement that it is in the best interests of the child and the public that the
proceeding be brought and that the child is in need of supervision, treatment,
or rehabilitation, as the case may be;(2) The name, age, and residence address
of the child on whose behalf such petition is brought;(3) The name and residence
address of the parent, guardian, or legal custodian of the child; or, if neither
the child’s parent nor the child’s guardian nor the child’s legal custodian
resides or can be found within the state or if such place of residence address
is unknown, the name of any known adult relative residing within the county or,
if there is none, the known adult relative residing nearest to the location of
the court;(4) If the child is in custody and, if so, the place of his or her
detention and the time the child was taken into custody; and(5) If the child is
being charged with a designated felony act.(b) The petition alleging delinquency
shall indicate if any of the matters required in this Code section are unknown.

15-11-523.(a) The prosecuting attorney may amend the petition alleging
delinquency at any time to cure defects of form.(b) Prior to the adjudication
hearing, the prosecuting attorney may amend the petition alleging delinquency to
include new charges of delinquency. However, if an amendment is made, the child
may request a continuance of the adjudication hearing. A continuance may be
granted by the court for such period as required in the interest of justice.(c)
When a petition alleging delinquency is amended to include new charges of
delinquency for adjudication, the petition shall be served in accordance with
Code Sections 15-11-530 and 15-11-531.(d) After jeopardy begins, a petition
alleging delinquency shall not be amended to include new charges of delinquency.

Part 7

15-11-530.(a) The court shall direct the issuance of a summons to a child and
the child’s parent, guardian, or legal custodian requiring them to appear before
the court at the time fixed to answer the allegations of the petition. A copy of
the petition shall accompany the summons.(b) The summons shall state that a
party shall be entitled to have an attorney in the proceedings and that the
court will appoint an attorney if the party is an indigent person.

15-11-531.(a) If a party to be served with a summons is within this state and
can be found, the summons shall be served upon him or her personally as soon as
possible and at least 24 hours before the adjudication hearing.(b) If a party to
be served is within this state and cannot be found but his or her address is
known or can be ascertained with reasonable diligence, the summons shall be
served upon such party at least five days before the adjudication hearing by
mailing him or her a copy by registered or certified mail or statutory overnight
delivery, return receipt requested.(c) If an individual to be served is outside
this state but his or her address is known or can be ascertained with reasonable
diligence, notice of the summons shall be made at least five days before the
adjudication hearing either by delivering a copy to such party personally or by
mailing a copy to him or her by registered or certified mail or statutory
overnight delivery, return receipt requested.(d) Service of the summons may be
made by any suitable person under the direction of the court.(e) The court may
authorize payment from county funds of the costs of service and of necessary
travel expenses incurred by persons summoned or otherwise required to appear at
the hearing.

15-11-532.(a) In the event a parent, guardian, or other legal custodian of a
child willfully fails to appear personally at a hearing after being ordered to
so appear or the parent, guardian, or other legal custodian of the child
willfully fails to bring the child to a hearing after being so directed, the
court may issue a rule nisi against the person directing the person to appear
before the court to show cause why he or she should not be held in contempt of
court.(b) If the parent, guardian, or legal custodian fails to appear in
response to an order to show cause, the court may issue a bench warrant
directing that the parent, guardian, or legal custodian be brought before the
court without delay to show cause why he or she should not be held in contempt
and the court may enter any order authorized by and in accordance with the
provisions of Code Section 15-11-30.(c) If a child 16 years of age or older
fails to appear at a hearing after being ordered to so appear, the court may
issue a bench warrant requiring that the child be brought before the court
without delay and the court may enter any order authorized by and in accordance
with the provisions of Code Section 15-11-30.(d) If there is sworn testimony
that a child 14 years of age but not yet 16 years of age willfully refuses to
appear at a hearing after being ordered to so appear, the court may issue a
bench warrant requiring that the child be brought before the court and the court
may enter any order authorized by and in accordance with the provisions of Code
Section 15-11-30.

Part 8

15-11-540.A delinquency petition shall be dismissed by the court upon the motion
of the prosecuting attorney setting forth that there is not sufficient evidence
to warrant further proceedings.

15-11-541.(a) Except as limited by subsection (d) of Code Section 15-11-542, in
all cases in which a child is charged with having committed a delinquent act,
the child shall, upon filing a motion for discovery with the court and serving a
copy of the motion to the prosecuting attorney, have full access to the
following for inspection, copying, or photographing:(1) A copy of the
complaint;(2) A copy of the petition for delinquency;(3) The names and last
known addresses and telephone numbers of each witness to the occurrence which
forms the basis of the charge;(4) A copy of any written statement made by the
child or any witness that relates to the testimony of a person whom the
prosecuting attorney intends to call as a witness;(5) A copy of any written
statement made by any alleged coparticipant which the prosecuting attorney
intends to use at a hearing;(6) Transcriptions, recordings, and summaries of any
oral statement of the child or of any witness, except attorney work product;(7)
Any scientific or other report which is intended to be introduced at the hearing
or that pertains to physical evidence which is intended to be introduced;(8)
Photographs and any physical evidence which are intended to be introduced at the
hearing; and(9) Copies of the police incident report and supplemental report, if
any, regarding the occurrence which forms the basis of the charge.(b) The
prosecuting attorney shall disclose all evidence, known or that may become known
to him or her, favorable to the child and material either to guilt or
punishment.(c) If the child requests disclosure of information pursuant to
subsection (a) of this Code section, it shall be the duty of the child to
promptly make the following available for inspection, copying, or photographing
to the prosecuting attorney:(1) The names and last known addresses and telephone
numbers of each witness to the occurrence which forms the basis of the
defense;(2) Any scientific or other report which is intended to be introduced at
the hearing or that pertains to physical evidence which is intended to be
introduced;(3) Photographs and any physical evidence which are intended to be
introduced at the hearing; and(4) A copy of any written statement made by any
witness that relates to the testimony of a person whom the child intends to call
as a witness.(d) A request for discovery or reciprocal discovery shall be
complied with promptly and not later than 48 hours prior to the adjudication
hearing, except when later compliance is made necessary by the timing of the
request. If the request for discovery is made fewer than 48 hours prior to the
adjudication hearing, the discovery response shall be produced in a timely
manner.(e) Any material or information furnished to the child pursuant to a
discovery request shall remain in the exclusive custody of the child and shall
only be used during the pendency of the case and shall be subject to such other
terms and conditions as the court may provide.

15-11-542.(a) If a request for discovery is refused, application may be made to
the court for a written order granting discovery.(b) Motions to compel discovery
shall certify that a request for discovery was made and was refused.(c) An order
granting discovery shall require reciprocal discovery.(d) Notwithstanding
subsection (a) of Code Section 15-11-541, the court may deny, in whole or in
part, or otherwise limit or set conditions concerning discovery upon sufficient
showing by a person or entity to whom a request for discovery is made that
disclosure of the information would:(1) Jeopardize the safety of a party,
witness, or confidential informant;(2) Create a substantial threat of physical
or economic harm to a witness or other person;(3) Endanger the existence of
physical evidence;(4) Disclose privileged information; or(5) Impede the criminal
prosecution of a child who is being prosecuted as an adult or the prosecution of
an adult charged with an offense arising from the same transaction or
occurrence.

15-11-543.(a) Upon written request by the prosecuting attorney stating the time,
date, and place at which the alleged delinquent act was committed, the child
shall serve upon the prosecuting attorney a written notice of the child’s
intention to offer a defense of alibi.(b) The notice shall state the specific
place or places at which the child claims to have been at the time of the
alleged delinquent act and the names, addresses, dates of birth, and telephone
numbers of the witnesses, if known to the child, upon whom the child intends to
rely to establish the child’s alibi, unless previously supplied.(c) A request
for alibi evidence shall be complied with promptly and not later than 48 hours
prior to the adjudication hearing, except when later compliance is made
necessary by the timing of the request. If the request for alibi evidence is
made fewer than 48 hours prior to the adjudication hearing, the alibi evidence
shall be produced in a timely manner.(d) If the defendant withdraws the notice
of intention to rely upon an alibi defense, the notice and intention to rely
upon an alibi defense shall not be admissible; provided, however, that the
prosecuting attorney or entity prosecuting the case may offer any other evidence
regarding alibi.(e) The prosecuting attorney shall serve upon the child a
written notice stating the names, addresses, dates of birth, and telephone
numbers of the witnesses, if known to the state, upon whom the state intends to
rely to rebut the child’s evidence of alibi, unless previously supplied.

15-11-544.If, subsequent to providing a discovery response, the existence of
additional evidence is found, it shall be promptly provided to the state or
child making the discovery request.

15-11-545.Nothing contained in the provisions governing discovery procedure
under this part shall prohibit the court from ordering the disclosure of any
information that the court deems necessary and appropriate for proper
adjudication.

15-11-546.If at any time during the course of the proceedings it is brought to
the attention of the court that a person or entity has failed to comply with a
discovery request, the court may grant a continuance, prohibit the party from
introducing in evidence the information not disclosed, or enter such other order
as the court deems just under the circumstances.

Part 9

15-11-560.(a) Except as provided in subsection (b) of this Code section, the
court shall have concurrent jurisdiction with the superior court over a child
who is alleged to have committed a delinquent act which would be considered a
crime if tried in a superior court and for which an adult may be punished by
loss of life, imprisonment for life without possibility of parole, or
confinement for life in a penal institution.(b) The superior court shall have
original jurisdiction over the trial of any child 13 to 17 years of age who is
alleged to have committed any of the following offenses:(1) Murder;(2) Voluntary
manslaughter;(3) Rape;(4) Aggravated sodomy;(5) Aggravated child molestation;(6)
Aggravated sexual battery; or(7) Armed robbery if committed with a firearm.(c)
The granting of bail or pretrial release of a child charged with an offense
enumerated in subsection (b) of this Code section shall be governed by the
provisions of Code Section 17-6-1.(d) At any time before indictment, the
district attorney may, after investigation and for cause, decline prosecution in
the superior court of a child 13 to 17 years of age alleged to have committed an
offense specified in subsection (b) of this Code section. Upon declining such
prosecution in the superior court, the district attorney shall immediately cause
a petition to be filed in the appropriate juvenile court for adjudication. Any
case transferred by the district attorney to the juvenile court pursuant to this
subsection shall be subject to the designated felony provisions of Code Section
15-11-602 and the transfer of the case from superior court to juvenile court
shall constitute notice to the child that such case is subject to the designated
felony provisions of Code Section 15-11-602.(e) The superior court may transfer
any case involving a child 13 to 17 years of age alleged to have committed any
offense enumerated in subsection (b) of this Code section and convicted of a
lesser included offense not included in subsection (b) of this Code section to
the juvenile court of the county of the child’s residence for disposition. Upon
such a transfer by the superior court, jurisdiction shall vest in the juvenile
court and jurisdiction of the superior court shall terminate.(f) Within 30 days
of any proceeding in which a child 13 to 17 years of age is convicted of certain
offenses over which the superior court has original jurisdiction as provided in
subsection (b) of this Code section or adjudicated delinquent on the basis of
conduct which if committed by an adult would constitute such offenses, the
superior court shall provide written notice to the school superintendent or his
or her designee of the school in which such child is enrolled or, if the
information is known, of the school in which such child plans to be enrolled at
a future date. Such notice shall include the specific criminal offense that such
child committed. A local school system to which the child is assigned may
request further information from the court’s file.

15-11-561.(a) After a petition alleging delinquency has been filed but before
the adjudication hearing, on its own motion or on a motion by the prosecuting
attorney, the court may convene a hearing to determine whether to transfer the
offense to the appropriate superior court for criminal trial if:(1) The petition
alleges that the child has committed an offense which would be a felony if
committed by an adult and the child was at least 15 years of age at the time of
the commission of the offense; or(2) The court determines that there is probable
cause to believe that the child committed the alleged offense.(b) At least three
days prior to the scheduled transfer hearing, written notice shall be given to
the child and the child’s parent, guardian, or legal custodian. The notice shall
contain a statement that the purpose of the hearing is to determine whether the
child is to be tried in the juvenile court or transferred for trial as an adult
in superior court. The child may request and the court shall grant a continuance
to prepare for the transfer hearing.(c) After consideration of a probation
report and any other evidence the court deems relevant, including any evidence
offered by the child, the court may determine that because of the seriousness of
the offense or the child’s prior record, the welfare of the community requires
that criminal proceedings against the child be instituted.(d) No child, either
before or after reaching age 17 years of age shall be prosecuted in superior
court for an offense committed before the child turned 17, unless the case has
been transferred as provided in this part. In addition, no child shall be
subject to criminal prosecution at any time for an offense arising out of a
criminal transaction for which the juvenile court retained jurisdiction in its
transfer order.

15-11-562.(a) The criteria which the court shall consider in determining whether
to transfer the child to superior court includes, but shall not be limited
to:(1) The age of the child;(2) The seriousness of the alleged offense and
whether the protection of the community requires transfer of jurisdiction;(3)
Whether the alleged offense involved violence or was committed in an aggressive
or premeditated manner;(4) Whether the alleged offense was against persons or
property with greater weight being given to the offense against persons,
especially if personal injury resulted;(5) The culpability of the child
including the child’s level of planning and participation in the alleged
offense;(6) Whether the alleged offense is a part of a repetitive pattern of
offenses which indicates that the child may be beyond rehabilitation in the
juvenile justice system;(7) The record and history of the child, including
experience with the juvenile justice system, other courts, supervision,
commitments to juvenile institutions, and other placements;(8) The
sophistication and maturity of the child as determined by consideration of the
child’s home and environmental situation, emotional condition, and pattern of
living;(9) The program and facilities available to the juvenile court in
considering disposition; and(10) Whether or not the child can benefit from the
treatment or rehabilitative programs available to the juvenile court.(b) The
probation officer shall prepare a written report developing fully all available
information relevant to the transfer criteria. The probation officer shall
submit such report to the court as soon as practicable but not later than 24
hours before the scheduled hearing. The child shall have the right to review
such report and cross-examine the individual making such report.

15-11-563.(a) A transfer hearing shall be conducted in accordance with the
provisions of Code Section 15-11-582, except that only such evidence which
pertains to the transfer criteria set out in Code Section 15-11-562 may be
introduced.(b) Statements made by the child at the transfer hearing shall not be
admissible against the child over objection in the criminal proceedings if
transfer is ordered.

15-11-564.(a) The decision of the court regarding transfer of the case shall
only be an interlocutory judgment which either the child or the prosecuting
attorney, or both, have the right to have reviewed by the court of appeals.(b)
The pendency of an interlocutory appeal shall stay criminal proceedings in
superior court. A child transferred for trial as an adult in superior court
shall be detained only in those places authorized for the preadjudication
detention of a child.

15-11-565.(a) Prior to the entry of a judgment ordering a child’s transfer or
during the pendency of an appeal of a judgment ordering a child’s transfer, the
child shall be detained only in those places authorized for the preadjudication
detention of a child.(b) After the entry of a judgment ordering transfer, a
child shall be detained only in those places authorized for the detention of a
child until the child reaches 17 years of age.

15-11-566.(a) If the court decides to transfer the child for trial in superior
court, it shall dismiss the juvenile court petition alleging delinquency, set
forth the offense or offenses which are being transferred, and make the
following findings of fact in its dismissal order:(1) That the court had
jurisdiction of the cause and the parties;(2) That the child was represented by
an attorney; and(3) That the hearing was held in the presence of the child and
the child’s attorney.(b) The dismissal order shall also recount the reasons
underlying the decision to transfer jurisdiction.(c) A dismissal of the petition
alleging delinquency terminates the jurisdiction of the juvenile court over the
child as to those offenses which are transferred. If the petition alleging
delinquency alleges multiple offenses that constitute a single criminal
transaction, the court shall either retain or transfer all offenses relating to
a single criminal transaction.(d) Once juvenile court jurisdiction is
terminated, the superior court shall retain jurisdiction even though,
thereafter, the child pleads guilty to, or is convicted of, a lesser included
offense. The plea to, or conviction of, a lesser included offense shall not
revest juvenile jurisdiction over the child.(e) A copy of the petition alleging
delinquency and order of dismissal shall be sent to the district attorney of the
judicial circuit in which the proceeding is taking place.(f) If the court
decides not to transfer the child for trial in superior court, it shall set a
date for an adjudication hearing in juvenile court on the petition alleging
delinquency.

15-11-567.(a) Except in those cases in which the superior court has original
jurisdiction or juvenile court jurisdiction has been terminated and the child
has been transferred to superior court, if it appears to any court in a criminal
proceeding or a quasi-criminal proceeding that the accused is a child, the case
shall forthwith be transferred to the juvenile court together with a copy of the
accusatory pleading and all other papers, documents, and transcripts of
testimony relating to the case.(b) The transferring court shall order that the
child be taken forthwith to the juvenile court or to a place of detention
designated by the court or shall release him or her to the custody of his or her
parent, guardian, legal custodian, or other person legally responsible for him
or her to be brought before the juvenile court at a time designated by that
court. The accusatory pleading may not serve in lieu of a petition alleging
delinquency in the juvenile court.

Part 10

15-11-580.(a) At the commencement of the adjudication hearing, the court shall
address the child, in language understandable to the child, and determine
whether the child is capable of understanding statements about his or her rights
under this chapter.(b) If a child is capable, the court shall inquire how the
child responds to the allegations of the delinquency petition. The child may:(1)
Deny the allegations of such petition, in which case the court shall proceed to
hear evidence on such petition; or(2) Admit the allegations of such petition, in
which case the court shall further inquire to determine whether there is a
factual basis for adjudication. If so, the court may then adjudge the child to
have committed a delinquent act.(c) If the child stands mute, refuses to answer,
or answers evasively, the court shall enter a denial of the allegations.

15-11-581.The state shall have the burden of proving the allegations of a
delinquency petition beyond a reasonable doubt.

15-11-582.(a) The court shall fix a time for the adjudication hearing. If the
child is in detention, the hearing shall be scheduled to be held no later than
ten days after the filing of the delinquency petition. If the child is not in
detention, the hearing shall be scheduled to be held no later than 60 days after
the filing of such petition.(b) Adjudication hearings shall be conducted:(1) By
the court without a jury;(2) In accordance with Title 24 and Title 17; and(3) In
language understandable to the child and participants, to the fullest extent
practicable.(c) The court shall determine if the allegations of the petition
alleging delinquency are admitted or denied in accordance with the provisions of
Code Section 15-11-580.(d) After hearing all of the evidence, the court shall
make and record its findings on whether the delinquent acts ascribed to the
child were committed by the child. If the court finds that the allegations of
delinquency have not been established, it shall dismiss the delinquency petition
and order the child released from any detention or legal custody imposed in
connection with the proceedings.(e) The court shall make a finding that the
child has committed a delinquent act based on a valid admission made in open
court of the allegations of the delinquency petition or on the basis of proof
beyond a reasonable doubt. If the court finds that the child has committed a
delinquent act, the court may proceed immediately or at a postponed hearing to
make disposition of the case.

Part 11

15-11-590.(a) After an adjudication that the child has committed a delinquent
act, the court may direct that a written predisposition investigation report be
prepared by the probation officer or other person designated by the court.(b)
The predisposition investigation report shall contain information about the
child’s characteristics, family, environment, and the circumstances affecting
the child’s behavior as may be helpful in determining the need for treatment or
rehabilitation and a proper disposition of the case, including but not limited
to:(1) A summary of the facts with respect to the conduct of the child that led
to the adjudication;(2) The sophistication and maturity of the child;(3) A
summary of the child’s home environment, family relationships, and
background;(4) A summary of the child’s prior contacts with the juvenile court
and law enforcement agencies, including the disposition following each contact
and the reasons therefor;(5) A summary of the child’s educational status,
including, but not limited to, the child’s strengths, abilities, and special
educational needs. The report shall identify appropriate educational and
vocational goals for the child. Examples of appropriate goals include:(A)
Attainment of a high school diploma or its equivalent;(B) Successful completion
of literacy courses;(C) Successful completion of vocational courses;(D)
Successful attendance and completion of the child’s current grade if enrolled in
school; or(E) Enrollment in an apprenticeship or a similar program;(6) A summary
of the results and recommendations of any significant physical and mental
examinations;(7) The seriousness of the offense to the community;(8) The nature
of the offense; and(9) Whether the offense was against persons or against
property with greater weight being given to offenses against persons.(c) If the
court has ordered a physical or mental examination to be conducted, the report
shall include a copy of the results of the examination.(d) All information shall
be presented in a concise and factual manner. The report shall indicate the
sources of information in the report.(e) The original report and any other
material to be disclosed shall be furnished to the court, and copies shall be
furnished to the child’s attorney and to the prosecuting attorney at least five
days prior to the disposition hearing.

Part 12

15-11-600.(a) After a finding that a child has committed a delinquent act, the
court shall conduct a hearing for the purpose of hearing evidence as to whether
the child is in need of treatment, rehabilitation, or supervision and shall make
and file its findings thereon.(b) The court may proceed immediately to the
disposition hearing after the adjudication hearing or conduct the disposition
hearing within 30 days of the adjudication hearing. The hearing may occur later
than 30 days after the adjudication hearing only if the court makes and files
written findings of fact explaining the need for delay.(c) In the absence of
evidence to the contrary, evidence sufficient to warrant a finding that acts
have been committed which constitute a felony shall also be sufficient to
sustain a finding that the child is in need of treatment or rehabilitation.(d)
If the court finds that the child is not in need of treatment, rehabilitation,
or supervision, it shall dismiss the proceeding and discharge the child from any
detention or other restriction previously ordered.(e) If the court finds that
the child is in need of supervision but not of treatment or rehabilitation, it
shall find that the child is a child in need of services and enter any
disposition authorized by Code Section 15-11-442.(f) The court may consider any
evidence, including hearsay evidence, that the court finds to be relevant,
reliable, and necessary to determine the needs of the child and the most
appropriate disposition.(g)(1) Prior to the disposition hearing, and upon
request, the parties and their attorneys shall be afforded an opportunity to
examine any written reports received by the court.(2) Portions of such reports
not relied on by the court in reaching its decision which, if revealed would be
prejudicial to the interests of the child or any party to the proceeding, may be
withheld in the court’s discretion. Confidential sources of information need not
be disclosed.(3) Parties and their attorneys shall be given the opportunity to
controvert written reports received by the court and to cross-examine
individuals making such reports.(h) In scheduling investigations and hearings,
the court shall give priority to proceedings in which a child is in detention or
has otherwise been removed from his or her home.

15-11-601.(a) At the conclusion of the disposition hearing, if the child is
determined to be in need of treatment or rehabilitation, the court shall enter
the least restrictive disposition order appropriate in view of the seriousness
of the delinquent act, the child’s culpability as indicated by the circumstances
of the particular case, the age of the child, the child’s prior record, and the
child’s strengths and needs. The court may make any of the following orders of
disposition, or combination of them, best suited to the child’s treatment,
rehabilitation, and welfare:(1) Any order authorized for the disposition of a
deprived child other than placement in the temporary custody of DFCS unless the
child is also found to be a deprived child;(2) An order requiring the child and
the child’s parent, guardian, or legal custodian to participate in counseling or
in counsel and advice. Such counseling and counsel and advice may be provided by
the court, court personnel, probation officers, professional counselors or
social workers, psychologists, physicians, qualified volunteers, or appropriate
public, private, or volunteer agencies and shall be designed to assist in
deterring future delinquent acts or other conduct or conditions which would be
harmful to the child or society;(3) An order placing the child on probation
under conditions and limitations the court prescribes. The court may place a
child on probation under the supervision of:(A) The probation officer of the
court or the court of another state;(B) Any public agency authorized by law to
receive and provide care for the child; or(C) Any community rehabilitation
center if its chief executive officer has acknowledged in writing its
willingness to accept the responsibility for the supervision of the child;(4) In
any case in which a child who has not achieved a high school diploma or the
equivalent is placed on probation, the court shall consider and may order as a
condition of probation that the child pursue a course of study designed to lead
to achieving a high school diploma or the equivalent;(5) An order requiring that
the child perform community service in a manner prescribed by the court and
under the supervision of an individual designated by the court;(6) An order
requiring that the child make restitution. Such order may remain in force and
effect simultaneously with another order of the court, including, but not
limited to an order of commitment to DJJ. However, no order of restitution shall
be enforced while the child is in placement at a youth development center unless
the commissioner of juvenile justice certifies that a restitution program is
available at such center. Payment of funds shall be made by the child or the
child’s family or employer directly to the clerk of the juvenile court entering
the order or to another employee of such court designated by the judge, and that
court shall disburse such funds in the manner authorized in the order. While an
order requiring restitution is in effect, the court may transfer enforcement of
its order to:(A) DJJ;(B) The juvenile court of the county of the child’s
residence and its probation staff, if the child changes his or her place of
residence; or(C) The superior court once the child reaches 17 years of age if
the child thereafter comes under the jurisdiction of such court;(7) An order
requiring the child remit to the general fund of the county a sum not to exceed
the maximum fine applicable to an adult for commission of any of the following
offenses:(A) Any felony in the commission of which a motor vehicle is used;(B)
Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs;(C) Driving without proof of
minimum required motor vehicle insurance;(D) Fraudulent or fictitious use of a
driver’s license;(E) Hit and run or leaving the scene of an accident;(F)
Homicide by vehicle;(G) Manslaughter resulting from the operation of a motor
vehicle;(H) Possession of controlled substances or marijuana;(I) Racing on
highways or streets;(J) Using a motor vehicle in fleeing or attempting to elude
an officer; or(K) Any violation of the provisions contained in Title 40 which is
properly adjudicated as a delinquent act;(8) An order suspending the child’s
driver’s license for a period not to exceed the date on which the child reaches
18 years of age or, in the case of a child who does not have a driver’s license,
an order prohibiting the issuance of a driver’s license to the child for a
period not to exceed the date on which the child reaches 18 years of age. The
court shall retain the driver’s license during such period of suspension and
return it to the child at the end of such period. The court shall notify the
Department of Driver Services of any actions taken pursuant to this
paragraph;(9) An order placing the child in an institution, camp, or other
facility for delinquent children operated under the direction of the court or
other local public authority; or(10) An order committing the child to DJJ.(b) In
addition to any other treatment or rehabilitation, the court may order the child
to serve up to a maximum of 60 days in a youth development center or, after
assessment and with the court’s approval, in a treatment program provided by DJJ
or the juvenile court. This subsection shall apply to cases involving:(1) An
offense that would be a felony if committed by an adult;(2) An offense that
would be a misdemeanor of a high and aggravated nature if committed by an adult
and involving bodily injury or harm or substantial likelihood of bodily injury
or harm; or(3) A violation of probation involving another adjudicated delinquent
act and upon the court making a finding of fact that the child has failed to
respond to graduated alternative sanctions.(c) A child ordered to a youth
development center under subsection (b) of this Code section and detained after
the adjudication hearing in a secure facility pending placement in a youth
development center shall be given credit for time served in the secured facility
awaiting placement.(d) Notwithstanding the provisions of subsections (a) and (b)
of this Code section, if a child is found to have committed the offense of
driving under the influence, the court may make an order of disposition which,
for purposes of the child’s rehabilitation, imposes the same penalty, period of
confinement, and period of community service which are applicable to an adult
convicted of violating Code Section 40-6-391. The child shall serve any period
of confinement in an institution, camp, or other facility for delinquent
children operated under the direction of the court or other local public
authority or, if no such facility is available, in a regional youth detention
center. A previous finding that the child committed the offense of driving under
the influence shall be deemed a previous conviction for purposes of this
subsection. The court shall have the same authority and discretion regarding
allowing service of confinement on weekends or during nonworking hours as is
provided under subsection (a) of Code Section 17-10-3.1.(e) The child shall be
given adequate information concerning the obligations and conditions imposed
upon him or her by the disposition ordered by the court and the consequences of
failure to meet such obligations and conditions. Such information shall be given
in terms understandable to the child to enable the child to conform his or her
conduct to the requirements of the disposition.

15-11-602.(a) When a child is found to have committed a designated felony act,
the order of disposition shall be made within 20 days of the conclusion of the
disposition hearing. The court may make one of the following orders of
disposition best suited to provide for the rehabilitation of the child and the
protection of the community:(1) Any order authorized by Code Section 15-11-601
if the court finds that restrictive custody is not required; or(2) An order
placing the child in restrictive custody.(b) Every order shall include a
finding, based on a preponderance of the evidence, of whether the child requires
restrictive custody. In determining whether restrictive custody is required, the
court shall consider and make specific written findings of fact as to each of
the following factors:(1) The age of the child;(2) The needs and best interests
of the child;(3) The record and background of the child;(4) The nature and
circumstances of the offense, including whether any injury involved was
inflicted by the child or another participant;(5) The need for protection of the
community; and(6) The age and physical condition of the victim.(c) A restrictive
custody order may provide that:(1) The child be placed in DJJ custody for an
initial period of five years;(2) The child be confined in a youth development
center for a period set by the order, not to be less than six months nor to
exceed 60 months. All time spent in secure detention subsequent to the date of
the disposition hearing and prior to placement in a youth development center
shall be counted toward the period set by the order;(3) After a period of
confinement set by the court, the child may be placed under intensive
supervision not to exceed 12 months; and(4) If the child is confined in a youth
development center, the child may not be released or transferred to a nonsecure
facility unless by court order pursuant to Code Section 15-11-31. Such child may
not be released from intensive supervision unless by court order and with the
written approval of the commissioner of juvenile justice or a designated deputy.
All home visits shall be carefully arranged and monitored while a child is
confined in a youth development center.(d) During the child’s placement order or
any extension of the restrictive custody order:(1) While in a youth development
center, the child shall be permitted to participate in all youth development
center services and programs and shall be eligible to receive special medical
and treatment services, regardless of the time of confinement in the youth
development center. A child may be eligible to participate in programs sponsored
by the youth development center including community work programs and sheltered
workshops under the general supervision of a youth development center staff
outside of the youth development center. In cooperation and coordination with
the department, the child shall be allowed to participate in state sponsored
programs for evaluation and services under the Division of Rehabilitation
Services of the Department of Labor and DMHDDAD;(2) The child shall not be
discharged from restrictive custody unless a motion therefor is granted by the
court. A motion to discharge a child from restrictive custody shall be filed not
more than once every six months and shall be accompanied by a written
recommendation for discharge from the child’s counselor, placement supervisor,
or DJJ;(3) Notwithstanding Code Section 15-11-31, DJJ or any party may move for
release from restrictive custody. In determining whether a motion for release
from restrictive custody should be granted in the child’s best interests due to
changed circumstances, the court shall consider and make specific written
findings of fact as to each of the following factors:(A) The child’s achievement
or progress on the goals of rehabilitation;(B) The disciplinary history of the
child during the period of restrictive custody and subsequent offense
history;(C) The academic progress of the child during the period of restrictive
custody including, if the child is receiving services under the federal
Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, a review of the child’s Individual
Education Plan (IEP) and the child’s progress toward IEP goals; and(D) The
victim’s impact statement submitted for purposes of this proceeding; and(4)
Unless otherwise specified in the order, DJJ shall report in writing to the
court not less than once every six months during the placement on the status,
adjustment, and progress of the child.(e) The period of placement in a youth
development center may be extended on motion by DJJ, after a disposition
hearing, for two additional periods not to exceed 12 months each, provided that
no placement or extension of custody may continue beyond the child’s
twenty-first birthday.(f) The court shall identify the school last attended by
the child and the school which the child intends to attend and shall transmit a
copy of the adjudication to the principals of both schools within 15 days of the
adjudication. Such information shall be subject to notification, distribution,
and requirements as provided in Code Section 20-2-671.15-11-603.(a) As part of
any order of disposition regarding a child adjudged to have committed a
delinquent act constituting an AIDS transmitting crime, the court may in its
discretion and after conferring with the director of the health district, order
that the child submit to an HIV test within 45 days following the adjudication
of delinquency. The court shall mail DJJ a copy of the order within three days
following its issuance.(b) Within 30 days following receipt of the copy of the
order, DJJ shall arrange for the HIV test for the child.(c) Any child placed in
the custody and control of DJJ shall be HIV tested in accordance with DJJ’s
policies and procedures.(d) If a child is determined to be infected with HIV,
that determination and the name of the child shall be deemed to be AIDS
confidential information and shall only be reported to:(1) DJJ and the
department, which may disclose the name of the child if necessary to provide
counseling. The department shall provide counseling to each victim of the AIDS
transmitting crime or to any parent, guardian, or legal custodian of any victim
who is a minor or incompetent person, if DJJ believes the crime posed a
reasonable risk of transmitting HIV to the victim. Counseling shall include
providing the person with information and explanations medically appropriate for
such person which may include all or part of the following: accurate information
regarding AIDS and HIV; an explanation of behaviors that reduce the risk of
transmitting AIDS and HIV; an explanation of the confidentiality of information
relating to AIDS diagnoses and HIV tests; an explanation of information
regarding both social and medical implications of HIV tests; and disclosure of
commonly recognized treatment or treatments for AIDS and HIV;(2) The court which
ordered the HIV test; and(3) Those persons in charge of any facility to which
the child has been confined by order of the court. In addition to any other
restrictions regarding the confinement of a child, a child determined to be an
HIV infected person may be confined separately from any other children in that
facility other than those who have been determined to be infected with HIV
if:(A) That child is reasonably believed to be sexually active while
confined;(B) That child is reasonably believed to be sexually predatory either
during or prior to detention; or(C) The commissioner of juvenile justice
reasonably determines that other circumstances or conditions exist which
indicate that separate confinement would be warranted.15-11-604.(a) A child
found to have committed a delinquent act shall be given credit for each day
spent in secure confinement awaiting adjudication and for each day spent in
secure confinement, in connection with and resulting from a court order entered
in the proceedings for which the sentence was imposed, and in any institution or
facility for treatment or examination of a physical or mental disability. Such
credit shall be applied toward the child’s sentence and shall also be considered
by parole authorities in determining the eligibility of the child for parole.(b)
Subsection (a) of this Code section shall apply to sentences for all offenses,
whether classified as violations, misdemeanors, or felonies.

15-11-605.(a) A graduated alternative sanctions program for children on
probation shall be established in each judicial circuit and shall be developed
and organized at the community level. The graduated alternative sanctions
program shall include a continuum of services for children including, but not
limited to, diversion, early intervention, community alternatives to detention,
appropriate confinement programs, and aftercare programs.(b) The chief or
presiding judge of the juvenile court in each judicial circuit shall develop and
monitor the graduated sanctions program in consultation with an advisory
committee who will serve at the pleasure of the chief or presiding judge.(c) The
chief or presiding judge of the juvenile court shall appoint members of the
advisory committee to ensure appropriate representation from local government,
local and public agencies serving children and their families, and others as may
be appropriate in a particular community. The advisory committee shall consist
of not more than ten members and shall include, if possible:(1) The district
attorney, or that person’s designee;(2) The public defender, or that person’s
designee;(3) A probation officer;(4) A representative from DJJ;(5) A
representative from law enforcement;(6) A representative from DMHDDAD; and(7) A
school superintendent, or that person’s designee.(d) Each member on the advisory
committee shall be appointed for a term of three years, except that the terms of
the initial appointments shall be staggered as determined by the chief or
presiding judge of the juvenile court. Each member shall continue in such
capacity until a successor is appointed. Members shall be eligible for
reappointment, and appointment may be made to fill an unexpired term.(e) The
advisory committee shall annually evaluate and report to the chief or presiding
judge of the juvenile court on the effectiveness and enhancement of existing
graduated sanctions and the identification of new interventions. Such report
shall also address measurable goals and objectives and projected costs.

15-11-606.An order of disposition or adjudication shall not be a conviction of a
crime and shall not impose any civil disability ordinarily resulting from a
conviction nor operate to disqualify the child in any civil service application
or appointment.

15-11-607.(a) Except as otherwise provided in Code Section 15-11-602, an order
of disposition committing a child adjudicated delinquent to DJJ continues in
force for two years or until the child is sooner discharged by DJJ. The court
which made the order may extend its duration for a period not to exceed two
years subject to like discharge, if:(1) A hearing is held upon DJJ’s motion
prior to the expiration of the order;(2) Reasonable notice of the factual basis
of the motion and of the hearing and an opportunity to be heard are given to the
child and the parent, guardian, or legal custodian; and(3) The court finds that
the extension is necessary for the treatment or rehabilitation of the child.(b)
Any other order of disposition except an order of restitution as allowed by
paragraph (6) or (8) of subsection (a) of Code Section 15-11-601 continues in
force for not more than two years. An order of extension may be made if:(1) A
hearing is held prior to the expiration of the order upon motion of DJJ, the
prosecuting attorney, or on the court’s own motion;(2) Reasonable notice of the
factual basis of the motion and of the hearing and opportunity to be heard are
given to the parties affected;(3) The court finds that the extension is
necessary to accomplish the purposes of the order extended; and(4) The extension
does not exceed two years from the expiration of the prior order.(c) The court
may terminate an order of disposition or an extension of such a disposition
order prior to its expiration, on its own motion or an application of a party,
if it appears to the court that the purposes of the order have been
accomplished.(d) When a child reaches 21 years of age, all orders affecting him
or her then in force terminate and he or she is discharged from further
obligation or control.

15-11-608.(a) An order granting probation to a child found to be delinquent may
be revoked on the ground that the conditions of probation have been violated.(b)
Any violation of a condition of probation may be reported to the prosecuting
attorney who may file a motion in the court for revocation of probation. A
motion for revocation of probation shall contain specific factual allegations
constituting each violation of a condition of probation.(c) The motion shall be
served upon the child, his or her attorney, and his or her parent, guardian, or
legal custodian in accordance with the provisions of Code Section 15-11-531.(d)
If a child is taken into custody because of an alleged violation of probation,
the provisions governing the detention of a child shall apply.(e) A revocation
hearing shall be scheduled to be held no later than 30 days after the filing of
such motion or, if the child has been detained as a result of the filing of such
motion for revocation, no later than ten days after the filing of the motion.(f)
If the court finds, beyond a reasonable doubt, that the child violated the terms
and conditions of probation, the court may:(1) Extend probation;(2) Impose
additional conditions of probation;(3) Make any disposition that could have been
made at the time probation was imposed; or(4) Upon finding that graduated
alternative sanctions have failed, order the child to serve up to a maximum of
60 days in a youth development center or, after assessment and with the court’s
approval, in a treatment program provided by DJJ or the juvenile court.(g) In
the case of a designated felony, if the court finds that the child violated the
terms and conditions of probation, the court shall reconsider and make specific
findings of fact as to each of the factors in subsection (b) of Code Section
15-11-602 to determine whether restrictive custody is required.(h) In the case
of a designated felony, if the court finds, beyond a reasonable doubt, that the
child violated the terms and conditions of probation and that the order granting
probation to the child shall be revoked, the child shall be given credit for
time served on probation.

Part 13

15-11-620.(a) When a child is alleged to be both delinquent and deprived, the
date the child is considered to have entered foster care shall be the date of
the first judicial finding that the child has been subjected to child abuse or
neglect or the date that is 60 days after the date on which the child is removed
from his or her home, whichever is earlier.(b) If a child alleged or adjudicated
to be delinquent is first placed in a noneligible placement but is later placed
in an eligible shelter care placement within 60 days of the child’s removal from
the home, then the date of entry into foster care shall be 60 days from the date
of removal.(c) If a child is detained in a facility operated primarily for the
detention of a child determined to be delinquent pending eligible shelter care
placement, and remains detained for more than 60 days, then the date of entry
into foster care shall be the date the child is placed in eligible shelter care.

15-11-621.The periodic review hearing requirements under Code Sections
15-11-217, 15-11-218, and 15-11-219 shall apply to proceedings involving a child
alleged or adjudicated to be delinquent and placed in an eligible shelter care
placement.

15-11-622.(a) The permanency plan requirements under Code Sections 15-11-230,
15-11-231, and 15-11-232 shall apply to proceedings involving a child alleged or
adjudicated to be delinquent and placed in an eligible shelter care
placement.(b) In addition to the compelling reasons set forth in Code Section
15-11-233 under Article 3 of this chapter, a compelling reason for determining
that filing a termination of parental rights petition is not in the best
interests of a child alleged or adjudicated to be delinquent may include but
shall not be limited to:(1) The child’s developmental needs require continued
out-of-home placement for an additional number of months, and the parent,
guardian, or legal custodian has cooperated with referrals, visitation, and
family conferences, as well as therapy;(2) The child is uncooperative with
services or referrals; and(3) The length of the delinquency disposition affects
the permanency plan.

Part 14

15-11-630.(a) A juvenile traffic offense consists of a violation by a child
of:(1) A law or local ordinance governing the operation of a moving motor
vehicle upon the streets or highways of this state or upon the waterways within
or adjoining this state; or(2) Any other motor vehicle traffic law or local
ordinance if the child is taken into custody and detained for its violation or
is transferred to the juvenile court by the court hearing the charge.(b) The
following offenses shall be acts of delinquency and shall not be handled as
juvenile traffic offenses: aggressive driving, reckless driving, a four-point
speeding offense, homicide by vehicle, manslaughter resulting from the operation
of a vehicle, any felony in the commission of which a motor vehicle is used,
racing on highways and streets, using a motor vehicle in fleeing or attempting
to elude an officer, fraudulent or fictitious use of a driver’s license, hit and
run or leaving the scene of an accident, driving under the influence of alcohol
or drugs, and any offense committed by an unlicensed driver under 16 years of
age.(c) A juvenile traffic offense shall not be an act of delinquency unless the
case is transferred to the delinquency calendar.(d) The summons, notice to
appear, or other designation of a citation accusing a child of committing a
juvenile traffic offense constitutes the commencement of the proceedings in the
court of the county in which the alleged violation occurred and serves in place
of a summons and petition under this article. These cases shall be filed and
heard separately from other proceedings of the court. If the child is taken into
custody on the charge, Code Sections 15-11-503 and 15-11-505 shall apply. If the
child is, or after commencement of the proceedings becomes, a resident of
another county of this state, the court in the county where the alleged traffic
offense occurred may retain jurisdiction over the entire case.(e) The court
shall fix a time for a hearing and shall give reasonable notice thereof to the
child and, if his or her address is known, to the parent, guardian, or legal
custodian. If the accusation made in the summons, notice to appear, or other
designation of a citation is denied, a hearing shall be held at which the
parties shall have the right to subpoena witnesses, present evidence,
cross-examine witnesses, and appear by their attorney. The hearing shall be open
to the public.(f) If the court finds on the admission of the child or upon the
evidence that the child committed the offense charged, it may make one or more
of the following orders:(1) Reprimand, counsel, or warn the child and the
child’s parent, guardian, or legal custodian; provided, however, that this
disposition order shall not be available for any act of delinquency;(2) As a
matter of probation or if the child is committed to the custody of the state,
order the Department of Driver Services to suspend the child’s privilege to
drive under stated conditions and limitations for a period not to exceed 12
months;(3) Require the child to attend a traffic school approved by the
Department of Driver Services or a substance abuse clinic or program approved by
either the department or the Council of Juvenile Court Judges for a reasonable
period of time;(4) Assess a fine and order the child to remit to the general
fund of the county a sum not exceeding the maximum applicable to an adult for a
like offense. The fine shall be subject to all additions and penalties as
specified under this title and Title 47;(5) Require the child to participate in
a program of community service as specified by the court;(6) Impose any sanction
authorized by Code Section 15-11-442 or 15-11-601; or(7) Place the child on
probation subject to the conditions and limitations imposed by Title 40
governing probation granted to adults for like offenses, but such probation
shall be supervised by the court.(g) In lieu of the preceding orders, if the
evidence warrants, the court may transfer the case to the delinquency calendar
of the court and direct the filing and service of a summons and delinquency
petition.(h) Upon finding that the child has committed a juvenile traffic
offense or an act of delinquency which would be a violation of Title 40 if
committed by an adult, the court shall forward, within ten days, a report of the
final adjudication and disposition of the charge to the Department of Driver
Services; provided, however, that this procedure shall not be applicable to
those cases which have been dismissed or in which the child and the child’s
parent, guardian, or legal custodian have been reprimanded, counseled, or warned
by the court. The Department of Driver Services shall record the adjudication
and disposition of the offense on the child’s permanent record, and such
adjudication and disposition shall be deemed a conviction for the purpose of
suspending or revoking the individual’s driver’s license. Such record shall also
be available to law enforcement agencies and courts as are the permanent traffic
records of adults.

ARTICLE 8

15-11-650.The purpose of this article is to:(1) Set forth procedures for a
determination of a child’s mental competency to stand trial; and(2) Provide a
mechanism for the development and implementation of competency restoration or
remediation services, when appropriate, including treatment, habilitation,
support, or supervision services.

15-11-651.As used in this article, the term:(1) ‘Mental competency proceedings’
means hearings conducted to determine whether a child is mentally competent to
participate in adjudication, a disposition hearing, or a transfer proceeding.(2)
‘Mental health plan’ shall have the same meaning as set forth in Code Section
15-11-381.(3) ‘Mental retardation’ means a state of significant subaverage
general intellectual functioning existing concurrently with deficits in adaptive
behavior and originating in the developmental period.(4) ‘Mentally competent’
means having sufficient present ability to understand the nature and object of
the proceedings, to comprehend his or her own situation in relation to the
proceedings, and to assist his or her attorney in the preparation and
presentation of his or her case in all adjudication, disposition, or transfer
hearings. The child’s age or immaturity may be used as the basis for determining
a child’s competency.(5) ‘Plan manager’ shall have the same meaning as set forth
in Code Section 15-11-381.(6) ‘Remediation services’ means services or
interventions for a child found to be incompetent to stand trial due to age,
immaturity, or for any reason other than mental illness or mental retardation
including, but not limited to, services or interventions directed at remediating
deficits that exist because a child is at a relatively normal, immature stage of
development.(7) ‘Restoration to competency services’ means services or
interventions directed at restoring the competency of child who has been found
incompetent to stand trial due to mental illness or mental retardation.(8)
‘Treatment facility’ means a facility designated by the department to receive
patients for psychiatric treatment as provided in Code Sections 37-3-80 through
37-3-84 and shall not include a secure detention facility operated by DJJ.

15-11-652.(a) If at any time after the filing of a petition alleging delinquency
the court has reason to believe that the child named in the petition may not be
mentally competent to stand trial, the court on its own motion or on the motion
of the attorney representing the child, any guardian ad litem for the child, the
child’s parent, guardian, or legal custodian, or the prosecuting attorney shall
stay all delinquency proceedings relating to such petition and order a full
competency evaluation of and report on the child’s mental condition.(b) When a
delinquency petition is filed alleging a child under the age of 14 has committed
a serious violent felony, as defined in Code Section 17-10-6.1, the court shall
stay all delinquency proceedings relating to such petition and order a full
competency evaluation and report concerning the child’s mental condition.(c) Any
motion, notice of hearing, order, or other pleading relating to a child’s
competency to stand trial shall be served upon the child, the child’s attorney,
the child’s guardian ad litem, if any, the child’s parent, guardian, or legal
custodian, the prosecuting attorney, and the victim.(d) Prior to the
administration of any evaluation, the court shall appoint an attorney to
represent a child if the child is not yet represented by an attorney.(e) All
time limits set forth in Article 7 of this chapter for adjudication and
disposition of a delinquency proceeding shall be tolled during the evaluation,
adjudication, and disposition phases of the mental competency proceeding.

15-11-653.(a) The court ordered evaluation and report shall be conducted by an
examiner who shall consider whether a child is mentally competent to stand
trial. The court shall provide the examiner with any law enforcement or court
records necessary for understanding the petition alleging delinquency. The
attorney for the child and the prosecuting attorney shall provide the examiner
with any records from any other available sources that are deemed necessary for
the competency evaluation.(b) The competency evaluation shall be performed on an
outpatient basis unless the examiner determines and the court makes specific
findings that hospitalization of the child for evaluation of competency is
clinically appropriate and may occur in the least restrictive environment or the
child is currently hospitalized in a psychiatric hospital. If hospitalization is
warranted, the court may order the child sent to a hospital designated by the
director of DMHDDAD as appropriate for the evaluation of a child.(c) If a child
is hospitalized, the child shall be hospitalized only for such time as the
director of the hospital deems necessary to perform an adequate evaluation of
the child’s competency.(d) An examiner who conducts the evaluation shall submit
a written report to the court within 30 days from receipt of the court order
requiring an evaluation. The court may, in its discretion, grant the examiner an
extension in filing such report. The report shall contain the following:(1) The
specific reason for the evaluation, as provided by the court or the party
requesting the evaluation;(2) The evaluation procedures used, including any
psychometric instruments administered, any records reviewed, and the identity of
any persons interviewed;(3) Any available pertinent background information;(4)
The results of a mental status exam, including the diagnosis and description of
any psychiatric symptoms, cognitive deficiency, or both;(5) A description of the
child’s abilities and deficits in the following mental competency functions:(A)
The ability to understand and appreciate the nature and object of the
proceedings;(B) The ability to comprehend his or her situation in relation to
the proceedings; and(C) The ability to assist his or her attorney in the
preparation and presentation of his or her case;(6) An opinion regarding the
potential significance of the child’s mental competency, strengths, and
deficits;(7) An opinion regarding whether or not the child should be considered
mentally competent to stand trial; and(8) A specific statement explaining the
reasoning supporting the examiner’s final determination.(e) If, in the opinion
of the examiner, the child should not be considered mentally competent to stand
trial, the report shall also include the following:(1) An opinion as to whether
there is a substantial probability that the child will attain the mental
competency necessary to participate in adjudication, a disposition hearing, or a
transfer hearing in the foreseeable future;(2) If the examiner believes that the
child will attain mental competency, recommendations for the general level and
type of remediation necessary for significant deficits;(3) A recommendation as
to the appropriate treatment setting and whether residential or nonresidential
treatment is required or appropriate;(4) When appropriate, recommendations for
modifications of court procedure which may help compensate for mental competency
weaknesses; and(5) If the child is currently receiving medication, how
medication might affect the child in the proceedings.(f) If the examiner
determines that the child is currently competent because of ongoing treatment
with psychotropic medication, the report shall address the necessity of
continuing such treatment and shall include a description of any limitation that
the medication may have on competency.(g) Copies of the written evaluation
report shall be provided by the court to the attorney representing the child,
the prosecuting attorney or a member of his or her staff, and any guardian ad
litem for the child no later than five days after receipt of the report by the
court.(h) Upon a showing of good cause by any party or upon the court’s own
motion, the court may order additional examinations by other examiners. In no
event shall more than one examination be conducted by an examiner employed by
the department.

15-11-654.(a) If at any time following a finding that a child is not mentally
competent to stand trial, the court determines that the child is a resident of a
county of this state other than the county in which the court sits, the court
may transfer the proceeding to the county of the child’s residence unless the
alleged delinquent act would be a felony if committed by an adult.(b) When any
case is transferred, certified copies of all legal, social history, health, or
mental health records pertaining to the case on file with the clerk of the court
shall accompany the transfer. Compliance with this Code section shall terminate
jurisdiction in the sending court and initiate jurisdiction in the receiving
court.(c) If the child’s mental competency is restored, jurisdiction of the case
may be returned to the sending court for the adjudication hearing and any
subsequent proceedings.

15-11-655.(a) A hearing to determine a child’s mental competency to stand trial
shall be conducted within 60 days after the initial court order for evaluation.
The hearing may be continued by the court for good cause shown.(b) Written
notice shall be given to all parties and the victim at least ten days prior to
such hearing.(c) The burden of proving that the child is mentally competent
shall be on the state. The standard of proof necessary for proving mental
competency shall be a preponderance of the evidence.(d) At the hearing to
determine mental competency to stand trial, the child’s attorney and the
prosecuting attorney shall have the right to:(1) Present evidence;(2) Call and
examine witnesses;(3) Cross-examine witnesses; and(4) Present arguments.(e) The
examiner appointed by the court shall be considered the court’s witness and
shall be subject to cross-examination by both the child’s attorney and the
prosecuting attorney.(f) The court’s findings of fact shall be based on any
evaluations of the child’s mental condition conducted by examiners appointed by
the court, any evaluations of the child’s mental condition conducted by
independent evaluators hired by the parties, and any additional evidence
presented.(g) If the court finds that the child is mentally competent, the
proceedings which have been suspended shall be resumed. The time limits under
Article 7 of this chapter for adjudication and disposition of the petition shall
begin to run from the date of the order finding the child mentally competent.(h)
Copies of the court’s findings shall be given to the same individuals to whom
notice of the mental competency hearing was provided and within ten days
following the issuance of such findings.

15-11-656.(a) If the court initially finds that the child is incompetent to
stand trial because of mental illness or mental retardation, but may be restored
to competency, the court shall order that the child undergo an attempt at
restoration to competency.(b) If the court initially finds that the child is
incompetent to stand trial because of age or immaturity, or any other reason
other than mental illness or mental retardation, but the child’s incompetence
may be remediated, the court shall order remediation services for the child.(c)
If the child is determined to be incompetent to stand trial and:(1) The child is
alleged to have committed an act that would be a felony if committed by an
adult, the court shall retain jurisdiction of the child for up to two years
after the date of the order of incompetency, with review hearings at least every
six months to redetermine competency; or(2) The child is alleged to have
committed an act that would be a misdemeanor if committed by an adult, the court
shall retain jurisdiction of the child for up to 120 days after the date of the
order of incompetency.(d) All court orders determining incompetency shall
include specific written findings by the court as to the nature of the
incompetency and whether the child requires secure or nonsecure treatment. A
child may be placed in a secure treatment facility or program if the court makes
a finding by clear and convincing evidence that:(1) The child is mentally ill or
mentally retarded and meets the requirements for civil commitment pursuant to
Chapters 3 and 4 of Title 37; and(2) All available less restrictive
alternatives, including treatment in community residential facilities or
community settings which would offer an opportunity for improvement of the
child’s condition, are inappropriate.(e) A child who is mentally incompetent to
stand trial shall not be subject to transfer to superior court, adjudication,
disposition, or modification of disposition so long as the mental incompetency
exists.(f) If the court determines that a child is mentally incompetent to stand
trial and is alleged to have committed a delinquent act which would be a
misdemeanor if committed by an adult, the court may dismiss the petition without
prejudice.(g) If a child is detained in a secure detention facility and the
court determines that the child is mentally incompetent to stand trial, the
child shall be released from detention and DMHDDAD shall place the child in an
appropriate treatment setting, as recommended by the examiner, within five days
of such determination.

15-11-657.(a) All restoration to competency orders issued by the court shall
contain:(1) The name of the competency restoration or remediation program
provider and the location of the program;(2) A statement of the arrangements for
the child’s transportation to the program site;(3) The length of the competency
restoration or remediation program;(4) A statement of the arrangements for the
child’s transportation after the program ends; and(5) A direction concerning the
frequency of reports required by the court.(b) The competency restoration or
remediation program provider shall file a written report with the court:(1) Not
later than six months after the date the court orders that restoration to
competency or remediation be attempted but prior to the first review hearing;(2)
At the end of any period of extended treatment;(3) At any time DMHDDAD, through
its restoration or remediation program provider, determines the child has
attained competency; or(4) At shorter intervals designated by the court in its
restoration to competency or remediation order.(c) The competency restoration or
remediation program provider’s written report shall include, but shall not be
limited to:(1) Whether the child can be remediated or restored to competency or
whether the child is likely to remain incompetent to stand trial for the
foreseeable future;(2) Whether additional time is needed to remediate or restore
the child to competency; and(3) If the child has attained competency, the
effect, if any, of any limitations that are imposed by any medications used in
the effort to remediate or restore competency.(d) When appropriate, the
provider’s report shall also detail:(1) Whether civil commitment proceedings
pursuant to Chapters 3 and 4 of Title 37 should be initiated;(2) If the child
has reached the age of 18 years at the time of the competency determination,
whether a referral should be made for appropriate adult services; and(3) Whether
the child should be provided other services by the court.

15-11-658.(a) If the court initially finds that a child is unrestorably
incompetent to stand trial, the court shall dismiss the delinquency petition,
find that the child is a child in need of services, appoint a plan manager, and
order that procedures for a mental health plan be initiated. When appropriate,
the court may:(1) Order that civil commitment proceedings pursuant to Chapters 3
and 4 of Title 37 be initiated. Such proceedings shall be instituted not less
than 60 days prior to the dismissal of the delinquency petition; or(2) Order
that referral be made for appropriate adult services if the child has reached
the age of 18 years at the time of the competency determination.(b) If at any
time after the child is ordered to undergo restoration to competency services,
DMHDDAD, through its restoration program provider, determines that the child is
likely to remain incompetent to stand trial for the foreseeable future, DMHDDAD
shall submit a report to the court so stating.(c) Upon receipt of the DMHDDAD
report, the court shall make a competency determination and shall dismiss the
delinquency petition, find that the child is a child in need of services,
appoint a plan manager, and order that procedures for a mental health plan be
initiated. When appropriate, the court may:(1) Order that civil commitment
proceedings pursuant to Chapters 3 and 4 of Title 37 be initiated. Such
proceedings shall be instituted not less than 60 days prior to the dismissal of
the delinquency petition; or(2) Order that referral be made for appropriate
adult services if the child has reached the age of 18 years at the time of the
competency determination.

15-11-659.If at any time after a child is found to be incompetent to stand trial
due to age, immaturity, or for any reason other than mental illness or mental
retardation and is ordered to undergo competence remediation services and
DMHDDAD determines that the child is likely to remain incompetent to stand trial
for the foreseeable future, DMHDDAD shall submit a report and its conclusions to
the court. Upon receipt of the report, the court shall:(1) Make a competency
determination;(2) Order that the delinquency petition be dismissed;(3) Find that
the child is a child in need of services; and(4) Order that a plan manager be
appointed and that the procedures for a mental health plan be initiated.

15-11-660.(a) The court shall hold a hearing to review a child’s progress toward
competency:(1) At least every six months;(2) At any time, on its own motion or
on the motion of the prosecuting attorney, the child’s attorney, or the child’s
guardian ad litem, if any;(3) On receipt of a report submitted by DMHDDAD; or(4)
Not less than three months before the child’s eighteenth birthday.(b) If at a
review hearing the court finds that the child has regained competency, the
suspended proceedings shall be resumed and the time limits under Article 7 of
this chapter for adjudication and disposition of the petition alleging
delinquency shall begin to run from the date of the order finding the child
mentally competent.(c) If at a review hearing held following the court’s receipt
of a DMHDDAD report, the court finds that the child has not been restored to
competency or that the child’s incompetency has not been remediated but that the
child has made substantial progress toward remediation or restoration to
competency, the court may extend the competency remediation or restoration
program period for an additional 60 days if the court determines by clear and
convincing evidence that further participation is likely to lead to remediation
or restoration to competency.(d) If at a review hearing the court finds that the
child is not remediated or restored to competency and is not restorable within
the time left before the child’s eighteenth birthday, the court shall dismiss
the delinquency petition with prejudice if the child is alleged to have
committed a delinquent act which would be a misdemeanor if committed by an
adult.(e) At each review hearing, the court shall also consider whether the
petition alleging delinquency should be withdrawn, maintained, or dismissed,
without prejudice, upon grounds other than the child’s not being mentally
competent. If the court dismisses the petition, the prosecuting attorney may
seek to refile a petition alleging a delinquent act which would be a felony if
committed by an adult if the child is later determined to be mentally competent.
The prosecuting attorney may also seek transfer to superior court if the child
is later determined to be mentally competent and otherwise meets all the
requirements for transfer under Article 7 of this chapter.

ARTICLE 9

15-11-680.This article shall be known and may be cited as the ‘Parental
Notification Act.’

15-11-681.As used in this article, the term:(1) ‘Abortion’ means the use or
prescription of any instrument, medicine, drug, or any other substance or device
with the intent to terminate the pregnancy of a female known to be pregnant. The
term ‘abortion’ shall not include the use or prescription of any instrument,
medicine, drug, or any other substance or device employed solely to increase the
probability of a live birth, to preserve the life or health of the child after
live birth, or to remove a dead unborn child who died as a result of a
spontaneous abortion. The term ‘abortion’ also shall not include the
prescription or use of contraceptives.(2) ‘Proper identification’ means any
document issued by a governmental agency containing a description of the person,
the person’s photograph, or both, including, but not limited to, a driver’s
license, an identification card authorized under Code Sections 40-5-100 through
40-5-104 or similar identification card issued by another state, a military
identification card, a passport, or an appropriate work authorization issued by
the United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement Division of the Department
of Homeland Security.(3) ‘Unemancipated minor’ means any person under the age of
18 who is not or has not been married or who is under the care, custody, and
control of such person’s parent or parents, guardian, or the juvenile court of
competent jurisdiction.

15-11-682.(a) No physician or other person shall perform an abortion upon an
unemancipated minor under the age of 18 years unless:(1)(A) The minor seeking an
abortion shall be accompanied by a parent or guardian who shall show proper
identification and state that the parent or guardian is the lawful parent or
guardian of the minor and that the parent or guardian has been notified that an
abortion is to be performed on the minor;(B) The physician or the physician’s
qualified agent gives at least 24 hours’ actual notice, in person or by
telephone, to a parent or guardian of the pending abortion and the name and
address of the place where the abortion is to be performed; provided, however,
that, if the person so notified indicates that he or she has been previously
informed that the minor was seeking an abortion or if the person so notified has
not been previously informed and he or she clearly expresses that he or she does
not wish to consult with the minor, then in either event the abortion may
proceed in accordance with Chapter 9A of Title 31; or(C) The physician or a
physician’s qualified agent gives written notice of the pending abortion and the
address of the place where the abortion is to be performed, sent by registered
or certified mail or statutory overnight delivery, return receipt requested with
delivery confirmation, addressed to a parent or guardian at the usual place of
abode of the parent or guardian. Unless proof of delivery is otherwise sooner
established, such notice shall be deemed delivered 48 hours after mailing. The
time of mailing shall be recorded by the physician or agent in the minor’s file.
The abortion may be performed 24 hours after the delivery of the notice;
provided, however, that, if the person so notified certifies in writing that he
or she has been previously informed that the minor was seeking an abortion or if
the person so notified has not been previously informed and he or she certifies
in writing that he or she does not wish to consult with the minor, then in
either event the abortion may proceed in accordance with Chapter 9A of Title 31;
and(2) The minor signs a consent form stating that she consents, freely and
without coercion, to the abortion.(b) If the unemancipated minor or the
physician or a physician’s qualified agent, as the case may be, elects not to
comply with any one of the requirements of subparagraph (a)(1)(A), (a)(1)(B), or
(a)(1)(C) of this Code section, or if the parent or legal guardian of the minor
cannot be located, the minor may petition, on the minor’s own behalf or by next
friend, any juvenile court in the state for a waiver of such requirement
pursuant to the procedures provided for in Code Section 15-11-684. The juvenile
court shall assist the minor or next friend in preparing the petition and
notices required pursuant to this Code section. Venue shall be lawful in any
county, notwithstanding Code Section 15-11-29.(c) No abortion shall be performed
unless the requirements of subparagraph (a)(1)(A), (a)(1)(B), or (a)(1)(C) of
this Code section have been met or the minor has obtained a court order waiving
such requirements.

15-11-683.Notwithstanding Code Sections 15-11-38.1, 15-11-39, 15-11-150,
15-11-160, 15-11-281, 15-11-424, and 15-11-531, the unemancipated minor or next
friend shall be notified of the date, time, and place of the hearing in such
proceedings at the time of filing the petition. The hearing shall be held within
three days of the date of filing, excluding weekends and legal holidays. The
parent, guardian, or legal custodian of the unemancipated minor shall not be
served with the petition or with a summons or otherwise notified of the
proceeding. If a hearing is not held within the time prescribed in this Code
section, the petition shall be deemed granted.

15-11-684.(a) An unemancipated minor may participate in proceedings in the court
on such minor’s own behalf and the court shall advise such minor of the right to
court appointed counsel and shall provide such minor with such counsel upon
request or if such minor is not already adequately represented.(b) All court
proceedings under this Code section shall be conducted in a manner to preserve
the complete anonymity of the parties and shall be given such precedence over
other pending matters as is necessary to ensure that a decision is reached by
the court as expeditiously as is possible under the circumstances of the case.
In no event shall the name, address, birth date, or social security number of
such minor be disclosed.(c) The requirement of subparagraph (a)(1)(A),
(a)(1)(B), or (a)(1)(C) of Code Section 15-11-682 shall be waived if the court
finds either:(1) That the unemancipated minor is mature enough and well enough
informed to make the abortion decision in consultation with her physician,
independently of the wishes of such minor’s parent or guardian; or(2) That the
notice to a parent or, if the minor is subject to guardianship, the legal
guardian pursuant to Code Section 15-11-682 would not be in the best interests
of the minor.(d) A court that conducts proceedings under this Code section shall
issue written and specific factual findings and legal conclusions supporting its
decision and shall order that a record of the evidence be maintained. The
juvenile court shall render its decision within 24 hours of the conclusion of
the hearing and a certified copy of same shall be furnished immediately to the
minor. If the juvenile court fails to render its decision within 24 hours after
the conclusion of the hearing, then the petition shall be deemed granted. All
juvenile court records shall be sealed in a manner which will preserve
anonymity.(e) An expedited appeal completely preserving the anonymity of the
parties shall be available to any unemancipated minor to whom the court denies a
waiver of notice. The appellate courts are authorized and requested to issue
promptly such rules as are necessary to preserve anonymity and to ensure the
expeditious disposition of procedures provided by this Code section. In no event
shall the name, address, birth date, or social security number of such minor be
disclosed during the expedited appeal or thereafter.(f) No filing fees shall be
required of any unemancipated minor who uses the procedures provided by this
Code section.

15-11-685.The requirements and procedures of this article shall apply to all
unemancipated minors within this state whether or not such persons are residents
of this state.

15-11-686.This article shall not apply when, in the best clinical judgment of
the attending physician on the facts of the case before him or her, a medical
emergency exists that so complicates the condition of the minor as to require an
immediate abortion. A person who performs an abortion as a medical emergency
under the provisions of this Code section shall certify in writing the medical
indications on which this judgment was based when filing such reports as are
required by law.

15-11-687.Any physician or any person employed or connected with a physician,
hospital, or health care facility performing abortions who acts in good faith
shall be justified in relying on the representations of the unemancipated minor
or of any other person providing the information required under this article. No
physician or other person who furnishes professional services related to an act
authorized or required by this article and who relies upon the information
furnished pursuant to this article shall be held to have violated any criminal
law or to be civilly liable for such reliance, provided that the physician or
other person acted in good faith.

15-11-688.Any person who violates the provisions of this article shall be guilty
of a misdemeanor and any person who intentionally encourages another to provide
false information pursuant to this article shall be guilty of a misdemeanor.

ARTICLE 10

15-11-700.(a) Except as otherwise provided by subsection (b) of this Code
section, the general public shall be excluded from hearings involving
delinquency, deprivation, or a child in need of services. Only the parties,
their attorneys, witnesses, persons accompanying a party for his or her
assistance, and any other persons as the court finds have a proper interest in
the proceeding or in the work of the court may be admitted by the court. The
court has discretion to exclude a child from any part or parts of any proceeding
under Articles 3 and 4 of this chapter if the court determines that it is not in
the child’s best interests to be present. Counsel for the child shall not be
excluded.(b) The general public shall be admitted to:(1) Any proceeding
involving an allegation of a designated felony;(2) Any proceeding involving an
allegation of delinquency brought in the interest of any child who has
previously been adjudicated delinquent; provided, however, the court shall close
any delinquency hearing on an allegation of sexual assault or any delinquency
hearing at which any party expects to introduce substantial evidence related to
matters of deprivation;(3) Any child support hearing;(4) Any hearing in a
legitimation action filed pursuant to Code Section 19-7-22; or(5) At the court’s
discretion, any disposition hearing involving any proceeding.(c) Notwithstanding
subsection (a) of this Code section, a member of public may institute a judicial
proceeding to open a closed hearing. The court shall give a member of the public
an opportunity to present evidence and argument to show that the state’s or
child’s interest in a closed hearing is overridden by the public’s interest in a
public hearing.

15-11-701.(a) Upon dismissal of a petition or complaint alleging delinquency or
that a child is a child in need of services or completion of the process in a
case handled through informal adjustment, mediation, or other nonadjudicatory
procedure, the court shall order the sealing of the files and records in the
case.(b) On application of a person who has been adjudicated delinquent or a
child in need of services or on the court’s own motion, and after a hearing, the
court shall order the sealing of the files and records in the proceeding if the
court finds that:(1) Two years have elapsed since the final discharge of the
person;(2) Since the final discharge of the person he or she has not been
convicted of a felony or of a misdemeanor involving moral turpitude or
adjudicated a delinquent child or a child in need of services and no proceeding
seeking conviction or adjudication is pending against the person; and(3) The
person has been rehabilitated.(c) Reasonable notice of the hearing required by
subsection (b) of this Code section shall be given to:(1) The district
attorney;(2) DJJ, when appropriate;(3) The authority granting the discharge if
the final discharge was from an institution or from parole; and(4) The law
enforcement officers or department having custody of the files and records if
the files and records specified in Code Sections 15-11-702 and 15-11-708 are
included in the application or motion.(d) Upon the entry of the order the
proceeding shall be treated as if it had never occurred. All index references
shall be deleted and the person, the court, the law enforcement officers, and
the departments shall properly reply that no record exists with respect to the
person upon inquiry in any matter. Copies of the order shall be sent to each
agency or designated official and shall also be sent to the deputy director of
the Georgia Crime Information Center. Inspection of the sealed files and records
thereafter may be permitted by an order of the court upon petition by the person
who is the subject of the records and otherwise only by those persons named in
the order or to criminal justice officials upon petition to the court for
official judicial enforcement or criminal justice purposes.

15-11-702.(a)(1) Every child charged with an offense which would be a felony if
committed by an adult, shall be fingerprinted and photographed upon being taken
into custody.(2) Fingerprints and photographs of children shall be taken and
filed separately from those of adults by law enforcement officials to be used in
investigating the commission of crimes and to be made available as provided in
this chapter and as may be directed by the court.(b) Fingerprint files and
photographs of children may be inspected by law enforcement officers when
necessary for criminal justice purposes and for the discharge of their official
duties. Other inspections may be authorized by the court in individual cases
upon a showing that it is necessary in the public interest.(c) If a child has
been charged with an offense that if committed by an adult would be a felony or
if the case is transferred to another court for prosecution, the child’s
fingerprints, personal identification data, and other pertinent information
shall be forwarded to the Georgia Crime Information Center of the Georgia Bureau
of Investigation. The center shall create a juvenile fingerprint file and enter
the data into the computerized criminal history files. The Georgia Bureau of
Investigation shall act as the official state repository for juvenile history
data and shall be authorized to disseminate such data for the purposes specified
in Code Section 15-11-708.(d) Upon application of a child, fingerprints and
photographs of the child shall be removed from the file and destroyed if a
petition alleging delinquency is not filed or the proceedings are dismissed
after either such petition is filed or the case is transferred to the juvenile
court or the child is adjudicated not to be a delinquent child. The court shall
notify the deputy director of the Georgia Crime Information Center when
fingerprints and photographs are destroyed, and the Georgia Bureau of
Investigation shall treat such records in the same manner as expunged records
pursuant to subsection (c) of Code Section 35-3-37.(e) Except as provided in
subsection (a) of this Code section, without the consent of the judge, a child
shall not be photographed after he or she is taken into custody unless the case
is transferred to another court for prosecution.(f) Upon request, the judge or
his or her designee shall release the name of any child with regard to whom a
petition has been filed alleging the child committed a designated felony or
alleging the child committed a delinquent act if the child has previously been
adjudicated delinquent or if the child has previously been before the court on a
delinquency charge and adjudication was withheld.

15-11-703.The disposition of a child and evidence adduced in a hearing in the
juvenile court may not be used against such child in any proceeding in any court
other than for a proceeding for delinquency or a child in need of services,
whether before or after reaching majority, except in the establishment of
conditions of bail, plea negotiations, and sentencing in felony offenses; and,
in such excepted cases, such records of dispositions and evidence shall be
available to prosecuting attorneys and superior court judges and the accused and
may be used in the same manner as adult records.

15-11-704.(a) Except as provided in subsection (b) of this Code section and Code
Sections 15-11-705 and 15-11-706, all files and records of the court in a
proceeding under this chapter shall be open to inspection only upon order of the
court.(b) The general public shall be allowed to inspect court files and records
for any proceeding that was open to the public pursuant to subsection (b) and
(c) of Code Section 15-11-700.(c) The judge may permit authorized
representatives of recognized organizations compiling statistics for proper
purposes to inspect and make abstracts from official records under whatever
conditions upon their use and distribution the judge may deem proper and may
punish by contempt any violation of those conditions.(d) The judge shall permit
authorized representatives of DJJ, the Governor’s Office for Children and
Families, and the Council of Juvenile Court Judges to inspect and extract data
from any court files and records for the purpose of obtaining statistics on
children and to make copies pursuant to the order of the court.(e) Except as
otherwise provided in Code Sections 15-11-701 and 15-11-703, the complaint,
petition, order of adjudication, and order of disposition in any delinquency
case shall be disclosed upon request of the prosecuting attorney or the accused
for use preliminarily to or in conjunction with a subsequent juvenile or
criminal proceeding in a court of record.

15-11-705.(a) Notwithstanding other provisions of this article, the court
records of proceedings under Article 6 of this chapter shall be withheld from
public inspection but shall be open to inspection by the child, juvenile
probation and parole officers, a parent, guardian, or legal custodian, the
child’s attorney, and others entrusted with the supervision of the child.
Additional access to court records may be granted by court order.(b) It shall be
unlawful for any person to disclose court records, or any part thereof, to
persons other than those entitled to access under subsection (a) of this Code
section, except by court order. Any person who knowingly violates this
subsection shall be guilty of contempt and the court may enter any order
authorized by the provisions of Code Section 15-11-30.

15-11-706.(a) When a decision is made to handle a case through informal
adjustment, mediation, or other nonadjudicatory procedure, the intake officer or
other officer designated by the court shall file with the court in the county in
which the child legally resides all of the following information:(1) The child’s
name, address, and date of birth;(2) The act or offense for which the child was
apprehended;(3) The diversion decision made;(4) The nature of the child’s
compliance with an informal adjustment agreement; and(5) If an informal
adjustment agreement is revoked, the fact of and reasons for the revocation.(b)
Notwithstanding subsection (a) of Code Section 15-11-701, the court in the
county in which the child resides shall keep a separate record for that child
which shall be open to the court, the prosecuting attorney, or an officer
designated by the court only for the purpose of deciding whether to handle a
subsequent case through informal adjustment, mediation, or other nonadjudicatory
procedure or for use in disposition of a subsequent proceeding. Any person who
knowingly violates this subsection shall be guilty of contempt and the court may
enter any order authorized by the provisions of Code Section 15-11-30.

15-11-707.Within 30 days of any proceeding in which a child is adjudicated
delinquent for a second or subsequent time or is found to have committed a
designated felony act, the court shall provide written notice to the school
superintendent of the school in which the child is enrolled or his or her
designee or, if the information is known, of the school in which such child
plans to be enrolled at a future date. Such notice shall include the specific
delinquent act or designated felony that the child committed.

15-11-708.(a) Law enforcement records and files concerning a child shall be kept
separate from the records and files of arrests of adults.(b) Unless a charge of
delinquency is transferred for criminal prosecution or the interest of national
security requires or the case is one in which the general public may not be
excluded from the hearings or the court otherwise orders in the interest of the
child, the records and files shall not be open to public inspection nor shall
their contents be disclosed to the public.(c) Inspection of the records and
files shall be permitted by:(1) A juvenile court having the child before it in
any proceeding;(2) The attorney for a party to the proceedings, with the consent
of the court;(3) The officers of public institutions or agencies to whom the
child is committed;(4) Law enforcement officers of this state, the United
States, or any other jurisdiction when necessary for the discharge of their
official duties;(5) A court in which the child is convicted of a criminal
offense, for the purpose of a presentence report or other disposition
proceeding;(6) Officials of penal institutions and other penal facilities to
which the child is committed; or(7) A parole board in considering the child’s
parole or discharge or in exercising supervision over the child.(d) The court
shall allow authorized representatives of DJJ, the Governor’s Office for
Children and Families, and the Council of Juvenile Court Judges to inspect and
copy law enforcement records for the purpose of obtaining statistics on
children.(e) Access to fingerprint records submitted to the Georgia Bureau of
Investigation shall be limited to the administration of criminal justice
purposes as defined in Code Section 15-11-6.

15-11-709.(a) Subject to the earlier sealing of certain records, the juvenile
court shall make and keep records of all cases brought before it and shall
preserve the records pertaining to a child in accordance with the common records
retention schedules for courts approved by the State Records Committee pursuant
to Code Section 50-18-92.(b) Thereafter, the court may destroy such records,
except that the records of cases in which a court terminates the parental rights
of a parent and the records of cases involving a petition for legitimation of a
child shall be preserved permanently.(c) The juvenile court shall make official
minutes consisting of all petitions and orders filed in a case and any other
pleadings, certificates, proofs of publication, summonses, warrants, and other
writs which may be filed and shall make social records consisting of records of
investigation and treatment and other confidential information.(d)
Identification data shall be maintained and shall be disseminated to criminal
justice officials for official judicial enforcement or criminal justice purposes
as provided in Code Section 35-3-33.(e) Nothing in this chapter shall restrict
or otherwise prohibit a juvenile court clerk from electing to store for computer
retrieval any or all records, dockets, indexes, or files; nor shall a juvenile
court clerk be prohibited from combining or consolidating any books, dockets,
files, or indexes in connection with the filing for record of papers of the kind
specified in this chapter or any other law, provided that any automated or
computerized record-keeping method or system shall provide for the systematic
and safe preservation and retrieval of all books, dockets, records, or indexes.
When the clerk of a juvenile court elects to store for computer retrieval any or
all records, the same data elements used in a manual system shall be used, and
the same integrity and security shall be maintained.

ARTICLE 11

15-11-720.(a) Emancipation may occur by operation of law or pursuant to a
petition filed with the court as provided in this article by a child who is at
least 16 years of age.(b) An emancipation occurs by operation of law:(1) When a
child is validly married;(2) When a child reaches the age of 18 years; or(3)
During the period when the child is on active duty with the armed forces of the
United States.(c) An emancipation occurs by court order pursuant to a petition
filed by a child with the juvenile court.15-11-721.A child seeking emancipation
shall file a petition for emancipation in the juvenile court in the county where
the child resides. The petition shall be signed and verified by the child, and
shall include:(1) The child’s full name and birth date and the county and state
where the child was born;(2) A certified copy of the child’s birth
certificate;(3) The name and last known address of the child’s parent, guardian,
or legal custodian and, if no parent, guardian, or legal custodian can be found,
the name and address of the child’s nearest living relative residing within this
state;(4) The child’s present address and length of residency at that
address;(5) A declaration by the child demonstrating the ability to manage his
or her financial affairs together with any information necessary to support the
declaration;(6) A declaration by the child demonstrating the ability to manage
his or her personal and social affairs together with any information necessary
to support the declaration; and(7) The names of individuals who have personal
knowledge of the child’s circumstances and believe that under those
circumstances emancipation is in the best interests of the child. Such
individuals may include any of the following:(A) A licensed physician or
osteopath;(B) A registered professional nurse or licensed practical nurse;(C) A
licensed psychologist;(D) A licensed professional counselor, social worker, or
marriage and family therapist;(E) A school guidance counselor, school social
worker, or school psychologist;(F) A school administrator, school principal, or
school teacher;(G) A member of the clergy;(H) A law enforcement officer; or(I)
An attorney.15-11-722.(a) Upon filing the petition, a copy of the petition for emancipation
and a summons to appear at the hearing shall be served on all persons named in
the petition and upon any individual who provided an affidavit for the
emancipation.(b) A person served with a petition may file an answer in the
juvenile court in which the petition was filed within 30 days of being served.

15-11-723.(a) After a petition for emancipation is filed, the court may:(1)
Appoint a guardian ad litem to investigate the allegations of the petition and
to file a report with the court, including a recommendation as to whether it is
in the best interests of the child that the petition for emancipation be
granted;(2) Appoint an attorney for the child; and(3) Appoint an attorney for
the child’s parent, guardian, or legal custodian if he or she is indigent and if
he or she opposes the petition.(b) After a petition for emancipation is filed,
the court shall seek an affidavit from each person identified in the petition
pursuant to paragraph (7) of Code Section 15-11-721 which describes why that
person believes the child should be emancipated.

15-11-724.A child who petitions the court for emancipation shall have the burden
of showing that emancipation should be ordered by a preponderance of evidence.

15-11-725.(a) The court shall issue an emancipation order if, after a hearing,
it determines that emancipation is in the best interests of the child and the
child has established:(1) That the child’s parent, guardian, or legal custodian
does not object to the petition; or, if a parent, guardian, or legal custodian
objects to the petition, that the best interests of the child are served by
allowing the emancipation to occur by court order;(2) That the child is a
resident of this state;(3) That the child has demonstrated the ability to manage
his or her financial affairs, including proof of employment or other means of
support. ‘Other means of support’ shall not include general assistance or aid
received from means-tested public assistance programs such as Temporary
Assistance for Needy Families as provided in Article 9 of Chapter 4 of Title 49
or similar programs under Title IV-A of the federal Social Security Act;(4) That
the child has the ability to manage his or her personal and social affairs,
including, but not limited to, proof of housing; and(5) That the child
understands his or her rights and responsibilities under this article as an
emancipated child.(b) If the court issues an emancipation order, the court shall
retain a copy of the order until the emancipated child becomes 25 years of
age.(c) An emancipation obtained by fraud is voidable. Voiding an emancipation
order shall not affect an obligation, responsibility, right, or interest that
arose during the period of time the order was in effect.(d) The child or the
child’s parent, guardian, or legal custodian may appeal the court’s grant or
denial of an emancipation petition.

15-11-726.(a) A child emancipated by court order may petition the juvenile court
that issued the emancipation order to rescind such order.(b) A copy of the
petition for rescission and a summons shall be served on the child’s parent,
guardian, or legal custodian.(c) The court shall grant the petition and rescind
the order of emancipation if it finds:(1) That the child is indigent and has no
means of support;(2) That the child and the child’s parent, guardian, or legal
custodian agree that the order should be rescinded; or(3) That there is a
resumption of family relations inconsistent with the existing emancipation
order.(d) If a petition for rescission is granted, the court shall issue an
order rescinding the emancipation order and retain a copy of the order until the
child becomes 25 years of age.(e) Rescission of an emancipation order shall not
alter any contractual obligations or rights or any property rights or interests
that arose during the period of time that the emancipation order was in
effect.(f) The child or a parent, guardian, or legal custodian of the child may
appeal the court’s grant or denial of a petition for rescission of an
emancipation order. The appeal shall be filed in the Court of Appeals.

15-11-727.(a) A child emancipated by operation of law or by court order shall be
considered to have the rights and responsibilities of an adult, except for those
specific constitutional and statutory age requirements regarding voting, use of
alcoholic beverages, and other health and safety regulations relevant to the
child because of his or her age. The rights of a child to receive any transfer
of property or money pursuant to ‘The Georgia Transfers to Minors Act’ under
Article 5 of Chapter 5 of Title 44; under the Uniform Transfers to Minors Act,
the Uniform Gift to Minors Act, or other substantially similar act of another
state; or pursuant to a trust agreement shall not be affected by a declaration
of an emancipation under this article.(b) A child shall be considered
emancipated for the purposes of, but not limited to:(1) The right to enter into
enforceable contracts, including apartment leases;(2) The right to sue or be
sued in his or her own name;(3) The right to retain his or her own earnings;(4)
The right to establish a separate domicile;(5) The right to act autonomously,
and with the rights and responsibilities of an adult, in all business
relationships, including, but not limited to, property transactions and
obtaining accounts for utilities, except for those estate or property matters
that the court determines may require a conservator or guardian ad litem;(6) The
right to earn a living, subject only to the health and safety regulations
designed to protect those under the age of 18 regardless of their legal
status;(7) The right to authorize his or her own preventive health care, medical
care, dental care, and mental health care, without parental knowledge or
liability;(8) The right to apply for a driver’s license or other state licenses
for which he or she might be eligible;(9) The right to register for school;(10)
The right to apply for medical assistance programs and for other welfare
assistance, if needed;(11) The right, if a parent, to make decisions and give
authority in caring for his or her own minor child; and(12) The right to make a
will.(c) The parent, guardian, or legal custodian of a child emancipated by
court order shall not be liable for any debts incurred by the child during the
period of emancipation.

15-11-728.(a) The duty to provide support for a child shall continue until an
emancipation order is granted.(b) A child emancipated under this article shall
not be considered a deprived child.(c) The provisions set forth in Code Section
19-3-2 regarding age limitations to contract for marriage shall apply to a child
who has become emancipated under this article.

ARTICLE 12

15-11-740.(a) This article shall be known and may be cited as the ‘Georgia Child
Advocate for the Protection of Children Act.'(b) In keeping with this article’s
purpose of assisting, protecting, and restoring the security of children whose
well-being is threatened, it is the intent of the General Assembly that the
mission of protection of the children of this state should have the greatest
legislative and executive priority. Recognizing that the needs of children must
be attended to in a timely manner and that more aggressive action should be
taken to protect children from abuse and neglect, the General Assembly creates
the Office of the Child Advocate for the Protection of Children to provide
independent oversight of persons, organizations, and agencies responsible for
providing services to or caring for children who are victims of child abuse and
neglect, or whose domestic situation requires intervention by the state. The
Office of the Child Advocate for the Protection of Children will provide
children with an avenue through which to seek relief when their rights are
violated by state officials and agents entrusted with their protection and care.

15-11-741.As used in this article, the term:(1) ‘Advocate’ or ‘child advocate’
means the Child Advocate for the Protection of Children established under Code
Section 15-11-742.(2) ‘Agency’ shall have the same meaning and application as
provided for in paragraph (1) of subsection (a) of Code Section 50-14-1.(3)
‘Child’ or ‘children’ means an individual receiving protective services from
DFCS, for whom DFCS has an open case file, or who has been, or whose siblings,
parents, or other caretakers have been the subject of a report to DFCS within
the previous five years.

15-11-742.(a) There is created the Office of the Child Advocate for the
Protection of Children. The Governor, by executive order, shall create a
nominating committee which shall consider nominees for the position of the
advocate and shall make a recommendation to the Governor. Such person shall have
knowledge of the child welfare system, the juvenile justice system, and the
legal system and shall be qualified by training and experience to perform the
duties of the office as set forth in this article.(b) The advocate shall be
appointed by the Governor from a list of at least three names submitted by the
nominating committee for a term of three years and until his or her successor is
appointed and qualified and may be reappointed. The salary of the advocate shall
not be less than $60,000.00 per year, shall be fixed by the Governor, and shall
come from funds appropriated for the purposes of the advocate.(c) The Office of
the Child Advocate for the Protection of Children shall be assigned to the
Office of Planning and Budget for administrative purposes only, as described in
Code Section 50-4-3.(d) The advocate may appoint such staff as may be deemed
necessary to effectively fulfill the purposes of this article, within the
limitations of the funds available for the purposes of the advocate. The duties
of the staff may include the duties and powers of the advocate if performed
under the direction of the advocate. The advocate and his or her staff shall
receive such reimbursement for travel and other expenses as is normally allowed
to state employees from funds appropriated for the purposes of the advocate.(e)
The advocate shall have the authority to contract with experts in fields
including but not limited to medicine, psychology, education, child development,
juvenile justice, mental health, and child welfare, as needed to support the
work of the advocate, utilizing funds appropriated for the purposes of the
advocate.(f) Notwithstanding any other provision of state law, the advocate
shall act independently of any state official, department, or agency in the
performance of his or her duties.(g) The advocate or his or her designee shall
be an ex officio member of the State-wide Child Abuse Prevention Panel.

15-11-743.The advocate shall perform the following duties:(1) Identify, receive,
investigate, and seek the resolution or referral of complaints made by or on
behalf of children concerning any act, omission to act, practice, policy, or
procedure of an agency or any contractor or agent thereof that may adversely
affect the health, safety, or welfare of the children;(2) Refer complaints
involving abused children to appropriate regulatory and law enforcement
agencies;(3) Coordinate and supervise the work of the Georgia Child Fatality
Review Panel created by Code Section 19-15-4 and provide such staffing and
administrative support to the panel as may be necessary to enable the panel to
carry out its statutory duties;(4) Report the death of any child to the
chairperson of the child fatality review subcommittee of the county in which
such child resided at the time of death, unless the advocate has knowledge that
such death has been reported by the county medical examiner or coroner, pursuant
to Code Section 19-15-3, and to provide such subcommittee access to any records
of the advocate relating to such child;(5) Provide periodic reports on the work
of the Office of the Child Advocate for the Protection of Children, including
but not limited to an annual written report for the Governor and the General
Assembly and other persons, agencies, and organizations deemed appropriate. Such
reports shall include recommendations for changes in policies and procedures to
improve the health, safety, and welfare of children and shall be made
expeditiously in order to timely influence public policy;(6) Establish policies
and procedures necessary for the Office of the Child Advocate for the Protection
of Children to accomplish the purposes of this article including without
limitation providing DFCS with a form of notice of availability of the Office of
the Child Advocate for the Protection of Children. Such notice shall be posted
prominently, by DFCS, in DFCS offices and in facilities receiving public moneys
for the care and placement of children and shall include information describing
the Office of the Child Advocate for the Protection of Children and procedures
for contacting that office; and(7) Convene quarterly meetings with
organizations, agencies, and individuals who work in the area of child
protection to seek opportunities to collaborate and improve the status of
children in Georgia.

15-11-744.(a) The advocate shall have the following rights and powers:(1) To
communicate privately, by mail or orally, with any child and with each child’s
parent, guardian, or legal custodian;(2) To have access to all records and files
of DFCS concerning or relating to a child, and to have access, including the
right to inspect, copy, and subpoena records held by clerks of the various
courts, law enforcement agencies, service providers, including medical and
mental health, and institutions, public or private, with whom a particular child
has been either voluntarily or otherwise placed for care or from whom the child
has received treatment within the state. To the extent any such information
provides the names and addresses of individuals who are the subject of any
confidential proceeding or statutory confidentiality provisions, such names and
addresses or related information which has the effect of identifying such
individuals shall not be released to the public without the consent of such
individuals. The Office of the Child Advocate for the Protection of Children
shall be bound by all confidentiality safeguards provided in Code Sections
49-5-40 and 49-5-44. Anyone wishing to obtain records held by the Office of the
Child Advocate shall petition the original agency of record where such records
exist;(3) To enter and inspect any and all institutions, facilities, and
residences, public and private, where a child has been placed by a court or DFCS
and is currently residing. Upon entering such a place, the advocate shall notify
the administrator or, in the absence of the administrator, the person in charge
of the facility, before speaking to any children. After notifying the
administrator or the person in charge of the facility, the advocate may
communicate privately and confidentially with children in the facility,
individually or in groups, or the advocate may inspect the physical plant. To
the extent possible, entry and investigation provided by this Code section shall
be conducted in a manner which will not significantly disrupt the provision of
services to children;(4) To apply to the Governor to bring legal action in the
nature of a writ of mandamus or application for injunction pursuant to Code
Section 45-15-18 to require an agency to take or refrain from taking any action
required or prohibited by law involving the protection of children;(5) To apply
for and accept grants, gifts, and bequests of funds from other states, federal
and interstate agencies, independent authorities, private firms, individuals,
and foundations for the purpose of carrying out the lawful responsibilities of
the Office of the Child Advocate for the Protection of Children;(6) When less
formal means of resolution do not achieve appropriate results, to pursue
remedies provided by this article on behalf of children for the purpose of
effectively carrying out the provisions of this article; and(7) To engage in
programs of public education and legislative advocacy concerning the needs of
children requiring the intervention, protection, and supervision of courts and
state and county agencies.(b)(1) Upon issuance by the advocate of a subpoena in
accordance with this article for law enforcement investigative records
concerning an ongoing investigation, the subpoenaed party may move a court with
appropriate jurisdiction to quash said subpoena.(2) The court shall order a
hearing on the motion to quash within five days of the filing of the motion to
quash, which hearing may be continued for good cause shown by any party or by
the court on its own motion. Subject to any right to an open hearing in contempt
proceedings, such hearing shall be closed to the extent necessary to prevent
disclosure of the identity of a confidential source; disclosure of confidential
investigative or prosecution material which would endanger the life or physical
safety of any person or persons; or disclosure of the existence of confidential
surveillance, investigation, or grand jury materials or testimony in an ongoing
criminal investigation or prosecution. Records, motions, and orders relating to
a motion to quash shall be kept sealed by the court to the extent and for the
time necessary to prevent public disclosure of such matters, materials,
evidence, or testimony.(c) The court shall, at or before the time specified in
the subpoena for compliance therewith, enter an order:(1) Enforcing the subpoena
as issued;(2) Quashing or modifying the subpoena if it is unreasonable and
oppressive; or(3) Conditioning enforcement of the subpoena on the advocate
maintaining confidential any evidence, testimony, or other information obtained
from law enforcement or prosecution sources pursuant to the subpoena until the
time the criminal investigation and prosecution are concluded. Unless otherwise
ordered by the court, an investigation or prosecution shall be deemed to be
concluded when the information becomes subject to public inspection pursuant to
Code Section 50-18-72. The court shall include in its order written findings of
fact and conclusions of law.

15-11-745.(a) No person shall discriminate or retaliate in any manner against
any child, parent, guardian, or legal custodian of a child, employee of a
facility, agency, institution or other type of provider, or any other person
because of the making of a complaint or providing of information in good faith
to the advocate or willfully interfere with the advocate in the performance of
his or her official duties.(b) Any person violating subsection (a) of this Code
section shall be guilty of a misdemeanor.

15-11-746.The advocate shall be authorized to request an investigation by the
Georgia Bureau of Investigation of any complaint of criminal misconduct
involving a child.

15-11-747.(a) There is established a Child Advocate Advisory Committee. The
advisory committee shall consist of:(1) One representative of a not for profit
children’s agency appointed by the Governor;(2) One representative of a for
profit children’s agency appointed by the Lieutenant Governor;(3) One
pediatrician appointed by the Speaker of the House of Representatives;(4) One
social worker with experience and knowledge of child protective services who is
not employed by the state appointed by the Governor;(5) One psychologist
appointed by the Lieutenant Governor;(6) One attorney appointed by the Speaker
of the House of Representatives from the Children and the Courts Committee of
the State Bar of Georgia; and(7) One juvenile court judge appointed by the Chief
Justice of the Supreme Court of Georgia.Each member of the advisory committee
shall serve a two-year term and until the appointment and qualification of such
member’s successor. Appointments to fill vacancies in such offices shall be
filled in the same manner as the original appointment.(b) The advisory committee
shall meet a minimum of three times a year with the advocate and his or her
staff to review and assess the following:(1) Patterns of treatment and service
for children;(2) Policy implications; and(3) Necessary systemic improvements.The
advisory committee shall also provide for an annual evaluation of the
effectiveness of the Office of the Child Advocate for the Protection of
Children.”SECTION 2.Article 1 of Chapter 5 of Title 49 of the Official Code of
Georgia Annotated, relating to children and youth services, is amended by adding
two new Code sections to read as follows:”49-5-24.(a) The department shall adopt
a procedure by which a child or young adult as such terms are defined in Code
Sections 15-11-2 and 15-11-350, respectively, formerly in foster care may appeal
an eligibility determination or the failure of the Division of Family and
Children Services of the department to provide aftercare or transitional support
services, as set forth in Article 5 Chapter 11 of Title 15, or the termination
of such services.(b) The appeal procedure developed by the department shall be
readily available to a child or a young adult formerly in foster care, shall
provide timely decisions, and shall provide for an administrative appeal and
judicial review of the administrative decision.

40-5-25.The department shall develop outcome and other performance measures for
the independent living skills program, as set forth in Article 5 Chapter 11 of
Title 15, in order to maintain oversight of such program.”

SECTION 3.Code Section 1-2-8 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, relating
to rights of minors, is revised as follows:”1-2-8.The law prescribes certain
ages at which persons shall be considered of sufficient maturity to discharge
certain civil functions, to make contracts, and to dispose of property. Prior to
those ages they are minors and are, on account of that disability, unable to
exercise these rights as citizens unless such minor becomes emancipated by
operation of law or pursuant to Article 6 11 of Chapter 11 of Title 15.”

SECTION 4.Code Section 5-7-1 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, relating
to orders, decisions, or judgments appealable by the state, is amended by
revising paragraph (6) of subsection (a) as follows:”(6) From an order,
decision, or judgment of a superior court transferring a case to the juvenile
court pursuant to subparagraph (b)(2)(B) of Code Section 15-11-28 15-11-567;”

SECTION 5.Code Section 13-3-20 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated,
relating to minors and contracts for property or valuable consideration and
contracts for necessities, is revised as follows:”13-3-20.(a) Generally the
contract of a minor is voidable. If in a contractual transaction a minor
receives property or other valuable consideration and, after arrival at the age
of 18, retains possession of such property or continues to enjoy the benefit of
such other valuable consideration, the minor shall have thereby ratified or
affirmed the contract and it shall be binding on him or her. Such contractual
transaction shall also be binding upon any minor who becomes emancipated by
operation of law or pursuant to Article 6 11 of Chapter 11 of Title 15.(b) The
contract of a minor for necessaries shall be binding on the minor as if the
minor were 18 years of age except that the party furnishing them to the minor
shall prove that the parent or guardian of such minor had failed or refused to
supply sufficient necessaries for the minor, that the minor was emancipated by
operation of law, or the minor was emancipated pursuant to Article 6 11 of
Chapter 11 of Title 15.”

SECTION 6.Said title is further amended by revising subsection (e) of Code
Section 15-23-7, relating to collection of additional legal costs in civil
actions for purposes of providing court-connected or court-referred alternative
dispute resolution programs, as follows:”(e) Juvenile court supervision fees
collected pursuant to Code Section 15-11-71 15-11-36 may be used for mediation
services provided by court programs pursuant to this chapter.”

SECTION 7.Title 16 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, relating to crimes
and offenses, is amended by revising paragraph (3) of subsection (a) of Code
Section 16-5-45, relating to interference with custody, as follows:”(3) ‘Lawful
custody’ means that custody inherent in the natural parents, that custody
awarded by proper authority as provided in Code Section 15-11-45 15-11-133, or
that custody awarded to a parent, guardian, or other person by a court of
competent jurisdiction.”

SECTION 8.Said title is further amended by revising paragraph (3) of subsection
(a) of Code Section 16-10-52, relating to escape, as follows:”(3) Having been
adjudicated of a delinquent or unruly act or a juvenile traffic offense, or as a
child in need of services subject to lawful custody or lawful confinement,
intentionally escapes from lawful custody or from any place of lawful
confinement;”

SECTION 9.Said title is further amended by revising paragraph (3) of subsection
(c) of Code Section 16-11-101.1, relating to furnishing a pistol or revolver to
a person under the age of 18 years, as follows:”(3) In addition to any other act
which violates this subsection, a parent or legal guardian shall be deemed to
have violated this subsection if such parent or legal guardian furnishes to or
permits possession of a pistol or revolver by any minor who has been convicted
of a forcible felony or forcible misdemeanor, as defined in Code Section 16-1-3,
or who has been adjudicated delinquent under the provisions of Article 1 7 of
Chapter 11 of Title 15 for an offense which would constitute a forcible felony
or forcible misdemeanor, as defined in Code Section 16-1-3, if such minor were
an adult.”

SECTION 10.Said title is further amended by revising subsection (b) of Code
Section 16-11-127.1, relating to carrying weapons within school safety zones, at
school functions, or on school property, as follows:”(b) Except as otherwise
provided in subsection (c) of this Code section, it shall be unlawful for any
person to carry to or to possess or have under such person’s control while
within a school safety zone or at a school building, school function, or school
property or on a bus or other transportation furnished by the school any weapon
or explosive compound, other than fireworks the possession of which is regulated
by Chapter 10 of Title 25. Any person who violates this subsection shall be
guilty of a felony and, upon conviction thereof, be punished by a fine of not
more than $10,000.00, by imprisonment for not less than two nor more than ten
years, or both; provided, however, that upon conviction of a violation of this
subsection involving a firearm as defined in paragraph (2) of subsection (a) of
Code Section 16-11-131, or a dangerous weapon or machine gun as defined in Code
Section 16-11-121, such person shall be punished by a fine of not more than
$10,000.00 or by imprisonment for a period of not less than five nor more than
ten years, or both. A child who violates this subsection shall be subject to the
provisions of Code Section 15-11-63 15-11-601.”

SECTION 11.Said title is further amended by revising subsection (d) of Code
Section 16-11-132, relating to possession of a pistol or revolver by a person
under the age of 18 years, as follows:”(d) Subsection (c) of this Code section
shall not apply to any person under the age of 18 years who has been convicted
of a forcible felony or forcible misdemeanor, as defined in Code Section 16-1-3,
or who has been adjudicated delinquent under the provisions of Article 1 7 of
Chapter 11 of Title 15 for an offense which would constitute a forcible felony
or forcible misdemeanor, as defined in Code Section 16-1-3, if such person were
an adult.”

SECTION 12.Said chapter is further amended by revising subsections (a) through
(d) of Code Section 16-12-1, relating to contributing to the delinquency,
unruliness, or deprivation of a minor, as follows:”(a) As used in this Code
section, the term:(1) ‘Delinquent act’ means a delinquent act as defined in Code
Section 15-11-2.(2) ‘Felony’ means any act which constitutes a felony under the
laws of this state, the laws of any other state of the United States, or the
laws of the United States.(3) ‘Minor’ means any individual who is under the age
of 17 years who is alleged to have committed a delinquent act or any individual
under the age of 18 years who is alleged to be a deprived child as such is
defined in Code Section 15-11-2, relating to juvenile proceedings.(4) ‘Serious
injury’ means an injury involving a broken bone, the loss of a member of the
body, the loss of use of a member of the body, the substantial disfigurement of
the body or of a member of the body, an injury which is life threatening, or any
sexual abuse of a child under 16 years of age by means of an act described in
subparagraph (a)(4)(A), (a)(4)(G), or (a)(4)(I) of Code Section 16-12-100.(b) A
person commits the offense of contributing to the delinquency, unruliness, or
deprivation of a minor or causing a child to be in need of services when such
person:(1) Knowingly and willfully encourages, causes, abets, connives, or aids
a minor in committing a delinquent act as such is defined in Code Section
15-11-2, relating to juvenile proceedings;(2) Knowingly and willfully
encourages, causes, abets, connives, or aids a minor in committing an act which
would cause such minor to be found to be an unruly child a child in need of
services as such is defined in Code Section 15-11-2, relating to juvenile
proceedings;(3) Willfully commits an act or acts or willfully fails to act when
such act or omission would cause a minor to be found to be a deprived child as
such is defined in Code Section 15-11-2, relating to juvenile proceedings;(4)
Knowingly and willfully hires, solicits, engages, contracts with, conspires
with, encourages, abets, or directs any minor to commit any felony which
encompasses force or violence as an element of the offense or delinquent act
which would constitute a felony which encompasses force or violence as an
element of the offense if committed by an adult; or(5) Knowingly and willfully
provides to a minor any weapon as defined in paragraph (2) of subsection (a) of
Code Section 16-11-127.1 or any weapon as defined in Code Section 16-11-121 to
commit any felony which encompasses force or violence as an element of the
offense or delinquent act which would constitute a felony which encompasses
force or violence as an element of the offense if committed by an adult.(c) It
shall not be a defense to the offense provided for in this Code section that the
minor has not been formally adjudged to have committed a delinquent act or has
not been found to be unruly or deprived or a child in need of services.(d) A
person convicted pursuant to paragraph (1) or (2) of subsection (b) of this Code
section shall be punished as follows:(1) Upon conviction of the first or second
offense, the defendant shall be guilty of a misdemeanor and shall be fined not
more than $1,000.00 or shall be imprisoned for not more than 12 months, or both
fined and imprisoned; and(2) Upon the conviction of the third or subsequent
offense, the defendant shall be guilty of a felony and shall be fined not less
than $1,000.00 nor more than $5,000.00 or shall be imprisoned for not less than
one year nor more than three years, or both fined and imprisoned.”

SECTION 13.Said title is further amended by revising subsections (c), (e), and
(g) of Code Section 16-12-141.1, relating to disposal of aborted fetuses, as
follows:”(c) Within 90 days after May 10, 2005, the Department of Human
Resources shall prepare a reporting form for physicians which shall include:(1)
The number of females whose parent or guardian was provided the notice required
in paragraph (1) of subsection (a) of Code Section 15-11-112 15-11-682 by the
physician or such physician’s agent; of that number, the number of notices
provided personally under subparagraphs (a)(1)(A) and (a)(1)(B) of Code Section
15-11-112 15-11-682 and the number of notices provided by mail under
subparagraph (a)(1)(C) of Code Section 15-11-112 15-11-682; and, of each of
those numbers, the number of females who, to the best of the reporting
physician’s information and belief, went on to obtain the abortion;(2) The
number of females upon whom the physician performed an abortion without
providing to the parent or guardian of a minor the notice required by subsection
(a) of Code Section 15-11-112 15-11-682 ; and of that number, the number of
females for which subsection (b) of Code Section 15-11-112 15-11-682 and Code
Section 15-11-116 15-11-686 were applicable;(3) The number of abortions
performed upon a female by the physician after receiving judicial authorization
pursuant to subsection (b) of Code Section 15-11-112 15-11-682 and Code Section
15-11-114 15-11-684; and(4) The same information described in paragraphs (1),
(2), and (3) of this subsection with respect to females for whom a guardian or
conservator has been appointed.””(e) By February 28 of each year following a
calendar year in any part of which this subsection was in effect, each physician
who provided, or whose agent provided, the notice described in subsection (a) of
Code Section 15-11-112 15-11-682 and any physician who knowingly performed an
abortion upon a female or upon a female for whom a guardian or conservator had
been appointed because of a finding of incompetency during the previous calendar
year shall submit to the Department of Human Resources a copy of the form
described in subsection (c) of this Code section with the requested data entered
accurately and completely.””(g) By June 30 of each year, the Department of Human
Resources shall issue a public report providing statistics for the previous
calendar year compiled from all the reports covering that year submitted in
accordance with this Code section for each of the items listed in subsection (c)
of this Code section. The report shall also include statistics which shall be
obtained by the Administrative Office of the Courts giving the total number of
petitions or motions filed under subsection (b) of Code Section 15-11-112
15-11-682 and, of that number, the number in which the court appointed a
guardian ad litem, the number in which the court appointed counsel, the number
in which the judge issued an order authorizing an abortion without notification,
the number in which the judge denied such an order, and, of the last, the number
of denials from which an appeal was filed, the number of such appeals that
resulted in the denials being affirmed, and the number of such appeals that
resulted in reversals of such denials. Each report shall also provide the
statistics for all previous calendar years for which such a public statistical
report was required to be issued, adjusted to reflect any additional information
from late or corrected reports. The Department of Human Resources shall ensure
that none of the information included in the public reports could reasonably
lead to the identification of any individual female or of any female for whom a
guardian or conservator has been appointed.”SECTION 14.Title 17 of the Official
Code of Georgia Annotated, relating to criminal procedure, is amended by
revising subsection (a) of Code Section 17-7-50.1, relating to time for
presentment of child’s case to a grand jury, as follows:”(a) Any child who is
charged with a crime that is within the jurisdiction of the superior court, as
provided in Code Section 15-11-28 15-11-560 or 15-11-30.2 15-11-561, who is
detained shall within 180 days of the date of detention be entitled to have the
charge against him or her presented to the grand jury. The superior court shall,
upon motion for an extension of time and after a hearing and good cause shown,
grant one extension to the original 180 day period, not to exceed 90 additional
days.”

SECTION 15.Said title is further amended by revising subsection (e) of Code
Section 17-10-1, relating to fixing of sentence, as follows:”(e) In any case
involving a felony in which the defendant previously appeared before a juvenile
court, the records of the dispositions of the defendant as well as any evidence
used in any juvenile court hearing shall be available to the district attorney,
the defendant, and the superior court judge in determining sentencing as
provided in Code Section 15-11-79.1 15-11-703.”

SECTION 16.Said title is further amended by revising subsections (b) and (c) of
Code Section 17-10-14, relating to committal of person under 17 convicted of a
felony, as follows:”(b) If a child is transferred to superior court according to
subsection (b) of Code Section 15-11-30.2 15-11-561 and convicted of aggravated
assault as defined in Chapter 5 of Title 16, the court may sentence such child
to the Department of Corrections. Such child shall be housed in a designated
youth confinement unit until such person is 17 years of age, at which time such
person may be housed in any other unit designated by the Department of
Corrections.(c) In any case where a child 13 to 17 years of age is convicted of
a felony provided under subparagraph (b)(2)(A) of Code Section 15-11-28, such
child shall be committed to the custody of the Department of Corrections and
shall be housed in a designated youth confinement unit until such person is 17
years of age, at which time such person may be housed in any other unit
designated by the Department of Corrections.”

SECTION 17.Said title is further amended by revising paragraph (5) of Code
Section 17-14-2, relating to definitions regarding restitution, as follows:”(5)
‘Parent’ means a person who is the legal mother as defined in paragraph (10.2)
of Code Section 15-11-2, the legal father as defined in paragraph (10.1) of Code
Section 15-11-2, or the legal guardian. Such term shall not include a foster
parent.”

SECTION 18.Said title is further amended by revising subsection (d) of Code
Section 17-15-13, relating to debt to state created, as follows:”(d) When a
child is adjudicated delinquent in a juvenile court proceeding involving a crime
upon which a claim under this chapter can be made, the juvenile court in its
discretion may order that the child pay the debt to the state as an adult would
have to pay had an adult committed the crime. Any assessments so ordered may be
made a condition of probation as provided in paragraph (2) of subsection (a) of
Code Section 15-11-66 15-11-601.”

SECTION 19.Said title is further amended by revising subsection (c) of Code
Section 17-16-2, relating to applicability of rules of discovery, as
follows:”(c) This article shall be deemed to have been automatically invoked,
without the written notice provided for in subsection (a) of this Code section,
when a defendant has sought discovery pursuant to Chapter 11 of Title 9, the
‘Georgia Civil Practice Act,’ pursuant to Code Section 15-11-75 Part 8 of
Article 7 of Chapter 11 of Title 15, or pursuant to the Uniform Rules for the
Juvenile Courts of Georgia where such discovery material is the same as the
discovery material that may be provided under this article when a written notice
is filed pursuant to subsection (a) of this Code section.”

SECTION 20.Said title is further amended by revising subsection (d) of Code
Section 19-7-22, relating to petition for legitimation of a child, as
follows:”(d) A legitimation petition may be filed, pursuant to paragraph (2) of
subsection (e) of Code Section 15-11-28 15-11-11, in the juvenile court of the
county in which a deprivation proceeding regarding the child is pending.”

SECTION 21.Said title is further amended by revising paragraph (4) of subsection
(a) of Code Section 19-8-10, relating to when surrender or termination of
parental rights not required, as follows:”(4) Parent has failed to exercise
proper parental care or control due to misconduct or inability, as set out in
paragraph (2), (3), or (4), or (5) of subsection (b) (a) of Code Section
15-11-94 15-11-310,”

SECTION 22.Said title is further amended by revising subparagraph (a)(3)(D) of
Code Section 19-8-11, relating to petitioning superior court to terminate
parental rights, as follows:”(D) Parent has failed to exercise proper parental
care or control due to misconduct or inability, as set out in paragraph (2),
(3), or (4), or (5) of subsection (b) (a) of Code Section 15-11-94 15-11-310,”

SECTION 23.Said title is further amended by revising subsection (g) of Code
Section 19-8-13, relating to petition for adoption, as follows:”(g)
Notwithstanding the provisions of Code Sections 19-8-5 and 19-8-7 and this Code
section which require obtaining and attaching a written voluntary surrender and
acknowledgment thereof and affidavits of the legal mother and a representative
of the petitioner, where the adoption is sought under subsection (a) of Code
Section 19-8-5 or 19-8-7 following the termination of parental rights and the
placement of the child by the juvenile court pursuant to paragraph (1) of
subsection (a) of Code Section 15-11-103 15-11-321, obtaining and attaching to
the petition a certified copy of the order terminating parental rights of the
parent shall take the place of obtaining and attaching those otherwise required
surrenders, acknowledgments, and affidavits.”

SECTION 24.Said title is further amended by revising Code Section 19-10A-4,
relating to no criminal prosecution for leaving a child in the custody of a
medical facility, as follows:”19-10A-4.A mother shall not be prosecuted for the
crimes of cruelty to a child, as provided in Code Section 16-5-70; contributing
to the delinquency, unruliness, or deprivation of a child or causing a child to
be in need of services, as provided in Code Section 16-12-1; or abandonment of a
dependent child, as provided in Code Section 19-10-1, because of the act of
leaving her newborn child in the physical custody of an employee, agent, or
member of the staff of a medical facility who is on duty, whether there in a
paid or volunteer position, provided that the newborn child is no more than one
week old and the mother shows proof of her identity, if available, to the person
with whom the newborn is left and provides her name and address.”

SECTION 25.Said title is further amended by revising Code Section 19-10A-6,
relating to reimbursement of medical costs, as follows:”19-10A-6.A medical
facility which accepts for inpatient admission a child left pursuant to Code
Section 19-10A-4 shall be reimbursed by the Department of Human Resources for
all reasonable medical and other reasonable costs associated with the child
prior to the child being placed in the care of the department. A medical
facility shall notify the Department of Human Resources at such time as the
child is left and at the time the child is medically ready for discharge. Upon
notification that the child is medically ready for discharge, the Department of
Human Resources shall take physical custody of the child within six hours. The
Department of Human Resources upon taking physical custody shall promptly bring
the child before the juvenile court as required by Code Section 15-11-47
15-11-145.”

SECTION 26.Said title is further amended by revising Code Section 19-13-20,
relating to definitions regarding family violence shelters, as follows:”(5)
‘Family violence shelter’ means a facility approved by the department for the
purpose of receiving, on a temporary basis, persons who are subject to family
violence. Family violence shelters are distinguished from shelters operated for
detention or placement of children only, as provided in subsection (a) of Code
Section 15-11-48 15-11-504 and subsection (c) of Code Section 15-11-135.”

SECTION 27.Title 20 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, relating to
education, is amended by revising subsection (b) of Code Section 20-2-670,
relating to requirements for transferring students beyond sixth grade, as
follows:”(b) In lieu of complying with the provision of subsection (a) of this
Code section, a transferring student may be admitted on a conditional basis if
he or she and his or her parent or legal guardian executes a document providing
the name and address of the school last attended and authorizing the release of
all academic and disciplinary records to the school administration. The parent
or guardian shall be notified of the transfer of such records and shall, upon
written request made within ten days of such notice, be entitled to receive a
copy of such records. Within five days of the receipt of a copy of such records,
the parent or guardian may make a written request for and shall be entitled to a
hearing before the principal of the school or his or her designee which is the
custodian of such records for the purpose of challenging the content of the
records. The student or his or her parent or legal guardian shall also disclose
on the same document as the release whether the child has ever been adjudicated
guilty of the commission of a designated felony act as defined in Code Section
15-11-63 15-11-2 and, if so, the date of such adjudication, the offense
committed, the jurisdiction in which such adjudication was made, and the
sentence imposed. Any form document to authorize the release of records which is
provided by a school to a transferring student or such student’s parent or legal
guardian shall include a list of designated felony acts. The student or his or
her parent or legal guardian shall also disclose on the document whether the
student is currently serving a suspension or expulsion from another school, the
reason for such discipline, and the term of such discipline. If a student so
conditionally admitted is found to be ineligible for enrollment pursuant to the
provisions of Code Section 20-2-751.2, or is subsequently found to be so
ineligible, he or she shall be dismissed from enrollment until such time as he
or she becomes so eligible.”

SECTION 28.Said title is further amended by revising Code Section 20-2-671,
relating to transfer students who have committed felony acts, as
follows:”20-2-671.If any school administrator determines from the information
obtained pursuant to Code Section 15-11-63 15-11-602 or 20-2-670 or from any
other source that a student has committed a designated felony act, such
administrator shall so inform all teachers to whom the student is assigned that
they may review the information in the student’s file provided pursuant to
subsection (b) of Code Section 20-2-670 received from other schools or from the
juvenile courts. Such information shall be kept confidential.”

SECTION 29.Said title is further amended by revising paragraph (14) of
subsection (c) and subsection (g) of Code Section 20-2-690.2, relating to
establishment of student attendance protocol committee, membership and protocol,
summary of penalties for failure to comply, and reporting, as follows:”(14) The
court approved community based risk reduction program established by the
juvenile court in accordance with Code Section 15-11-10 15-11-37, if such a
program has been established.””(g) The committee shall write the summary of
possible consequences and penalties for failing to comply with compulsory
attendance under Code Section 20-2-690.1 for children and their parents,
guardians, or other persons who have control or charge of children for
distribution by schools in accordance with Code Section 20-2-690.1. The summary
of possible consequences for children shall include possible dispositions for
unruly children in need of services and possible denial or suspension of a
driver’s license for a child in accordance with Code Section 40-5-22.”

SECTION 30.Said title is further amended by revising subsection (d) of Code
Section 20-2-751.2, relating to students subject to disciplinary orders of other
school systems, as follows:”(d) If any school administrator determines from the
information obtained pursuant to this Code section or from Code Section 15-11-28
or 15-11-80 15-11-599, 15-11-602, or 15-11-707 that a student has been convicted
of or has been adjudicated to have committed an offense which is a designated
felony act under Code Section 15-11-63 15-11-2, such administrator shall so
inform all teachers to whom the student is assigned and other school personnel
to whom the student is assigned. Such teachers and other certificated
professional personnel as the administrator deems appropriate may review the
information in the student’s file provided pursuant to this Code section that
has been received from other schools or from the juvenile courts or superior
courts. Such information shall be kept confidential.”

SECTION 31.Said title is further amended by revising Code Section 20-2-766.1,
relating to proceeding against parents for failure to cooperate in educational
programs, as follows:”20-2-766.1.The local board of education may, by petition
to the juvenile court, proceed against a parent or guardian as provided in this
Code section. If the court finds that the parent or guardian has willfully and
unreasonably failed to attend a conference requested by a principal pursuant to
Code Section 20-2-765 or 20-2-766, the court may order the parent or guardian to
attend such a conference, order the parent or guardian to participate in such
programs or such treatment as the court deems appropriate to improve the
student’s behavior, or both. After notice and opportunity for hearing, the court
may impose a fine, not to exceed $500.00, on a parent or guardian who willfully
disobeys an order of the court entered under this Code section. The court may
use its contempt and other powers specified in Code Section 15-11-5 15-11-30 to
enforce any order entered under this Code section.”

SECTION 32.Said title is further amended by revising subsection (a) of Code
Section 20-2-768, relating to expulsion or suspension of students for felonies,
as follows:”(a) Each local board of education is authorized to refuse to readmit
or enroll any student who has been suspended or expelled for being convicted of,
being adjudicated to have committed, being indicted for, or having information
filed for the commission of any felony or any delinquent act under Code Section
15-11-28 Sections 15-11-602 and 15-11-707 which would be a felony if committed
by an adult. If refused readmission or enrollment, the student or the student’s
parent or legal guardian has the right to request a hearing pursuant to the
procedures provided for in Code Section 20-2-754.”

SECTION 33.Said title is further amended by revising subparagraph (B) of
paragraph (1) of Code Section 20-3-660, relating to program of grants for foster
children created, as follows:”(B) The student is currently committed to the
Division of Family and Children Services within the Department of Human
Resources under Code Section 15-11-55 15-11-212 and placed in a family foster
home or is placed in accordance with subparagraph (a)(2)(C) of Code Section
15-11-2 15-11-212;”

SECTION 34.Said title is further amended by revising subsection (q) of Code
Section 24-9-47, relating to disclosure of AIDS confidential information, as
follows:”(q) A public safety agency or district attorney may obtain the results
from an HIV test to which the person named in the request has submitted under
Code Section 15-11-66.1 15-11-603, 17-10-15, 42-5-52.1, or 42-9-42.1,
notwithstanding that the results may be contained in a sealed record.”

SECTION 35.Code Section 31-22-9.2 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated,
relating to HIV tests and reports of positive results, is amended by revising
subsection (c) as follows:”(c) Unless exempted under this Code section, each
health care provider who orders an HIV test for any person shall do so only
after counseling the person to be tested. Unless exempted under this subsection,
the person to be tested shall have the opportunity to refuse the test. The
provisions of this subsection shall not be required if the person is required to
submit to an HIV test pursuant to Code Section 15-11-66.1 15-11-603, 17-10-15,
31-17-4.2, 31-17A-3, 42-5-52.1, or 42-9-42.1. The provisions of this subsection
shall not be required if the person is a minor or incompetent and the parent or
guardian thereof permits the test after compliance with this subsection. The
provisions of this subsection shall not be required if the person is
unconscious, temporarily incompetent, or comatose and the next of kin permits
the test after compliance with this subsection. The provisions of this
subsection shall not apply to emergency or life-threatening situations. The
provisions of this subsection shall not apply if the physician ordering the test
is of the opinion that the person to be tested is in such a medical or emotional
state that disclosure of the test would be injurious to the person’s health. The
provisions of this subsection shall only be required prior to drawing the body
fluids required for the HIV test and shall not be required for each test
performed upon that fluid sample.”

SECTION 36.Title 35 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, relating to law
enforcement officers and agencies, is amended by revising subsection (c) of Code
Section 35-3-33, relating to powers and duties of the Georgia Crime Information
Center, as follows:”(c) The provisions of this article notwithstanding,
information and records of children shall only be inspected and disclosed as
provided in Code Sections 15-11-82 15-11-702 and 15-11-83 15-11-708. Such
records and information shall be sealed or destroyed according to the procedures
outlined in Code Sections 15-11-79.2 15-11-701 and 15-11-81 15-11-709.”

SECTION 37.Said title is further amended by revising subparagraph (B) of
paragraph (7) of Code Section 35-8-2, relating to definitions regarding peace
officers, as follows:”(B) The Office of Permits and Enforcement of the
Department of Transportation, the Department of Juvenile Justice and its
institutions and facilities for the purpose of personnel who are authorized to
exercise the power of arrest and who are employed or appointed by said
department or institutions, and the office or section in the Department of
Juvenile Justice in which persons are assigned who have been designated by the
commissioner to investigate and apprehend unruly and delinquent children and any
child with a pending juvenile court case alleging the child to be in need of
services; and”

SECTION 38.Code Section 36-32-10 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated,
relating to jurisdiction in cases of furnishing alcoholic beverages, is amended
by revising subsection (e) as follows:”(e) Nothing in this Code section shall
affect the original and exclusive jurisdiction of the juvenile court as set
forth in Code Section 15-11-28 15-11-10.”SECTION 39.Title 40 of the Official
Code of Georgia Annotated, relating to motor vehicles and traffic, is amended by
revising subsection (g) of Code Section 40-5-75, relating to suspension of
licenses by operation of law, as follows:”(g) Notwithstanding the provisions of
Code Section 15-11-72 15-11-606 and except as provided in subsection (c) of this
Code section, an adjudication of a minor child as a delinquent child or an
unruly child for any offense listed in subsection (a) of this Code section shall
be deemed a conviction for purposes of this Code section.”

SECTION 40.Said title is further amended by revising subsection (l) of Code
Section 40-6-391, relating to driving under the influence of alcohol, drugs, or
other intoxicating substances, as follows:”(l) A person who violates this Code
section while transporting in a motor vehicle a child under the age of 14 years
is guilty of the separate offense of endangering a child by driving under the
influence of alcohol or drugs. The offense of endangering a child by driving
under the influence of alcohol or drugs shall not be merged with the offense of
driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs for the purposes of prosecution
and sentencing. An offender who is convicted of a violation of this subsection
shall be punished in accordance with the provisions of subsection (d) of Code
Section 16-12-1, relating to the offense of contributing to the delinquency,
unruliness, or deprivation of a child.”

SECTION 41.Code Section 44-5-41 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated,
relating to voidance and ratification of conveyance to or by a minor, is revised
as follows:”44-5-41.A deed, security deed, bill of sale to secure debt, or any
other conveyance of property or interest in property to or by a minor is
voidable unless such minor has become emancipated by operation of law or
pursuant to Article 6 11 of Chapter 11 of Title 15. If a minor has conveyed
property or an interest in property, the minor may void the conveyance upon
arrival at the age of 18; and, if the minor makes another conveyance at that
time, it will void the first conveyance without reentry or repossession. If
property or an interest in property has been conveyed to a minor and, after
arrival at the age of 18, the minor retains the possession or benefit of the
property or interest in property, the minor shall have thereby ratified or
affirmed the conveyance.”

SECTION 42.Title 45 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, relating to
public officers and employees, is amended by revising paragraph (7) of Code
Section 45-9-81, relating to definitions regarding certain indemnification, as
follows:”(7) ‘Law enforcement officer’ means any agent or officer of this state,
a political subdivision or municipality of this state, or an authority of this
state or a political subdivision of this state who, as a full-time or part-time
employee, is vested either expressly by law or by virtue of public employment or
service with authority to enforce the criminal or traffic laws with the power of
arrest and whose duties include the preservation of public order, the protection
of life and property, or the prevention, detection, or investigation of crime.
Such term also includes the employees designated by the commissioner of juvenile
justice of the Department of Juvenile Justice pursuant to paragraph (2) of
subsection (i) of Code Section 49-4A-8, which employees have the duty to
investigate and apprehend delinquent and unruly children who have escaped from a
facility under the jurisdiction of the Department of Juvenile Justice or who
have broken the conditions of supervision. Such term also includes members of
the Georgia National Guard, the composition of which is set forth in Code
Section 38-2-3, who have been called into active state service by the Governor.”

SECTION 43.Said title is further amended by revising paragraph (7) of Code
Section 45-9-101, relating to definitions regarding certain compensation, as
follows:”(7) ‘Law enforcement officer’ means any agent or officer of this state,
or a political subdivision or municipality thereof, who, as a full-time or
part-time employee, is vested either expressly by law or by virtue of public
employment or service with authority to enforce the criminal or traffic laws and
whose duties include the preservation of public order, the protection of life
and property, or the prevention, detection, or investigation of crime. Such term
also includes the employees designated by the commissioner of juvenile justice
of the Department of Juvenile Justice pursuant to paragraph (2) of subsection
(i) of Code Section 49-4A-8, which employees have the duty to investigate and
apprehend delinquent and unruly children and any child with a pending juvenile
court case alleging the child to be in need of services who have escaped from a
facility under the jurisdiction of the Department of Juvenile Justice or who
have broken the conditions of supervision. Such term also includes members of
the Georgia National Guard, the composition of which is set forth in Code
Section 38-2-3, who have been called into active state service by the Governor.”

SECTION 44.Said title is further amended by revising subsection (a) of Code
Section 45-20-1, relating to purposes and principles of the merit system, as
follows:”(a) It is the purpose of this article to establish in the state a
system of personnel administration which will attract, select, and retain the
best employees based on merit, free from coercive political influences, with
incentives in the form of equal opportunities for all; which will provide
technically competent and loyal personnel to render impartial service to the
public at all times and to render such service according to the dictates of
ethics and morality; and which will remove unnecessary and inefficient
employees. It is specifically the intent of the General Assembly to promote this
purpose by allowing agencies greater flexibility in personnel management so as
to promote the overall effectiveness and efficiency of state government. To this
end, and in accordance with Code Sections 45-20-2 and 45-20-6, all positions
filled after July 1, 1996, shall be included in the unclassified service of the
state merit system, except as provided in Code Section 15-11-24.3 15-11-68. It
is also specifically the intent of the General Assembly that employees in the
classified service prior to July 1, 1996, shall continue to be employees in the
classified service so long as they remain in classified positions or as
otherwise provided by law. It is further specifically the intent of the General
Assembly that state government operate within a framework of consistent core
personnel policies and practices across all state agencies and entities and that
the state’s most valued resource, its employees, be managed in a manner to
promote work force productivity and sound business practices.”

SECTION 45.Said title is further amended by revising subsection (a) of Code
Section 45-20-6, relating to composition of classified and unclassified service,
as follows:”(a) The classified service as defined by Code Section 45-20-2 shall
consist of only those employees who were in the classified service on June 30,
1996, and who have remained in a classified position without a break in service
since that date. Any officer or employee who occupies a classified position
under the state merit system prior to July 1, 1996, or as provided in Code
Section 15-11-24.3 15-11-68 shall remain in the classified service so long as
such officer or employee shall remain in a classified position or as otherwise
provided by law. Employees in the classified service shall have, upon completing
a working test period, appeal rights as provided in Code Sections 45-20-8 and
45-20-9.”

SECTION 46.Title 49 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, relating to
social services, is amended by revising paragraph (3) of Code Section 49-4A-1,
relating to definitions regarding the Department of Juvenile Justice, as
follows:”(3) ‘Delinquent or unruly child or youth or a child to be in need of
services’ means any person so adjudged under Article 1 7 of Chapter 11 of Title
15.”

SECTION 47.Said title is further amended by revising subsection (b) of Code
Section 49-4A-2, relating to the creation of the Board of Juvenile Justice, as
follows:”(b) The board shall provide leadership in developing programs to
successfully rehabilitate juvenile delinquents and unruly children adjudicated
delinquent or in need of services committed to the state’s custody and to
provide technical assistance to private and public entities for prevention
programs for children at risk.”

SECTION 48.Said title is further amended by revising Code Section 49-4A-4,
relating to purpose of chapter, as follows:”49-4A-4.It is the purpose of this
chapter to establish the department as the agency to administer, supervise, and
manage juvenile detention facilities. Except for the purposes of administration,
supervision, and management as provided in this chapter, juvenile detention
facilities shall continue to be detention care facilities for delinquent and
unruly children and youth and children in need of services who have violated a
valid court order for the purposes of Article 1 7 of Chapter 11 of Title 15,
relating to juvenile courts and juvenile proceedings.”

SECTION 49.Said title is further amended by revising paragraphs (1) and (2) of
subsection (a) and the introductory language of subsection (b) of Code Section
49-4A-7, relating to powers and duties of the department, as follows:”(1) Accept
for detention in a youth development center or other juvenile detention facility
any child who is committed to the department under Article 1 7 of Chapter 11 of
Title 15;(2) Provide probation and parole and other court services for children
and youth pursuant to a request from a court under Article 1 7 of Chapter 11 of
Title 15;””(b) When given legal custody over a child or youth for detention in a
youth development center or other facility under court order under Article 1 7
of Chapter 11 of Title 15, the department shall have:”

SECTION 50.Said title is further amended by revising Code Section 49-4A-8,
relating to commitment of delinquent or unruly children, as follows:”49-4A-8.(a)
When any child or youth is adjudged to be in a state of delinquency or
unruliness or a child in need of services who has violated a valid court order
under Article 1 7 of Chapter 11 of Title 15 and the court does not release such
child or youth unconditionally or place him or her on probation or in a suitable
public or private institution or agency, the court may commit him such child to
the department as provided in said Article 1 7 of Chapter 11 of Title 15;
provided, however, that no delinquent or unruly child or youth or a child in
need of services who has violated a valid court order shall be committed to the
department until the department certifies to the Governor that it has facilities
available and personnel ready to assume responsibility for delinquent or unruly
children and youths and children in need of services who have violated a valid
court order.(b) When the court commits a delinquent or unruly child or a child
in need of services who has violated a valid court order to the department, it
may order the child conveyed forthwith to any facility designated by the
department or direct that the child be left at liberty until otherwise ordered
by the department under such conditions as will ensure his or her availability
and submission to any orders of the department. If such delinquent or unruly
child or a child in need of services who has violated a valid court order is
ordered conveyed to the department, the court shall assign an officer or other
suitable person to convey such child to any facility designated by the
department, provided that the person assigned to convey a girl must be a female.
The cost of conveying such child committed to the department to the facility
designated by the department shall be paid by the county from which such child
is committed, provided that no compensation shall be allowed beyond the actual
and necessary expenses of the party conveying and the child conveyed.(c) When a
court commits a delinquent or unruly child or a child in need of services who
has violated a valid court order to the department, the court shall at once
forward to the department a certified copy of the order of commitment and the
court, the probation officer, the prosecuting and police authorities, the school
authorities, and other public officials shall make available to the department
all pertinent information in their possession with respect to the case. Such
reports shall, if the department so requests, be made upon forms furnished by
the department or according to an outline provided by the department.(d)(1) When
a delinquent or unruly child has been committed to the department, the
department shall, under rules and regulations established by the board,
forthwith examine and study the child and investigate all pertinent
circumstances of his or her life and behavior. The department shall make
periodic reexaminations of all delinquent or unruly such children within its
control, except those on release under supervision of the department. Such
reexaminations may be made as frequently as the department considers desirable
and shall be made with respect to every child at intervals not exceeding one
year. Failure of the department to examine a delinquent or unruly child such a
child committed to it or to reexamine him or her within one year of a previous
examination shall not of itself entitle the child to discharge from control of
the department but shall entitle the child to petition the committing court for
an order of discharge; and the court shall discharge him or her unless the
department, upon due notice, satisfies the court of the necessity of further
control.(2) The department shall keep written records of all examinations and
reexaminations, of conclusions based thereon, and of all orders concerning the
disposition or treatment of every delinquent or unruly child and every child in
need of services who has violated a valid court order subject to its control.
Records as may be maintained by the department with respect to a delinquent or
unruly child or a child in need of services who has violated a valid court order
committed to the department shall not be public records but shall be privileged
records and may be disclosed by direction of the commissioner pursuant to
federal law in regard to disseminating juvenile criminal history records only to
those persons having a legitimate interest therein; provided, however, that the
commissioner shall permit the Council of Juvenile Court Judges to inspect and
copy such records for the purposes of obtaining statistics on juveniles.(e)
Except as provided by subsection (e.1) of this Code section and subsection (b)
(c) of Code Section 15-11-70 15-11-602, when a delinquent or unruly child or a
child in need of services who has violated a valid court order has been
committed to the department for detention and a diagnostic study for the purpose
of determining the most satisfactory plan for the child’s care and treatment has
been completed, the department may:(1) Permit the child liberty under
supervision and upon such conditions as the department may believe conducive to
acceptable behavior;(2) Order the child’s confinement under such conditions as
the department may believe best designed to serve the child’s welfare and as may
be in the best interest of the public;(3) Order reconfinement or renewed release
as often as conditions indicate to be desirable;(4) Revoke or modify any order
of the department affecting the child, except an order of final discharge, as
often as conditions indicate to be desirable; or(5) Discharge the child from
control of the department pursuant to Code Section 15-11-31 and subsection (a)
(c) of Code Section 15-11-70 15-11-607 when it is satisfied that such discharge
will best serve the child’s welfare and the protection of the public.(e.1)(1)
When a child who has been adjudicated delinquent for the commission of a
designated felony act as defined in Code Section 15-11-63 15-11-2 is released
from confinement or custody of the department, it shall be the responsibility of
the department to provide notice to any person who was the victim of the child’s
delinquent acts that the child is being released from confinement or custody.(2)
As long as a good faith attempt to comply with paragraph (1) of this subsection
has been made, the department and employees of the department shall not be
liable for damages incurred by reason of the department’s failure to provide the
notice required by paragraph (1) of this subsection.(3) When a child convicted
of a felony offense in a superior court is released from confinement or custody
of the department, the department shall provide written notice, including the
delinquent or designated felony act committed, to the superintendent of the
school system in which such child was enrolled or, if the information is known,
the school in which such child was enrolled or plans to be enrolled.(4) As long
as a good faith attempt to comply with paragraph (3) of this subsection has been
made, the department and employees of the department shall not be liable for
damages incurred by reason of the department’s failure to provide notice
required by paragraph (3) of this subsection.(f) As a means of correcting the
socially harmful tendencies of a delinquent or unruly child committed to it, the
department may:(1) Require participation by youth in moral, academic,
vocational, physical, and correctional training and activities, and provide
youth the opportunity for religious activities where practicable in the
institutions under the control and supervision of the department;(2) Require
such modes of life and conduct as may seem best adapted to fit and equip him or
her for return to full liberty without danger to the public;(3) Provide such
medical, psychiatric, or casework treatment as is necessary; or(4) Place him or
her, if physically fit, in a park, maintenance camp, or forestry camp or on a
ranch owned by the state or by the United States and require any child so housed
to perform suitable conservation and maintenance work, provided that the
children shall not be exploited and that the dominant purpose of such activities
shall be to benefit and rehabilitate the children rather than to make the camps
self-sustaining.(g) When funds are available, the department may:(1) Establish
and operate places for detention and diagnosis of all delinquent or unruly
children or children in need of services who have violated a valid court order
committed to it;(2) Establish and operate additional treatment and training
facilities, including parks, forestry camps, maintenance camps, ranches, and
group residences necessary to classify and handle juvenile delinquents of
different ages and habits and different mental and physical conditions,
according to their needs; and(3) Establish parole or aftercare supervision to
aid children given conditional release to find homes and employment and
otherwise to assist them to become reestablished in the community and to lead
socially acceptable lives.(h) Whenever the department finds that any delinquent
or unruly child committed to the department is mentally ill or mentally
retarded, the department shall have the power to return such delinquent or
unruly child to the court of original jurisdiction for appropriate disposition
by that court or may, if it so desires, request the court having jurisdiction in
the county in which the youth development center or other facility is located to
take such action as the condition of the child may require.(i)(1) A child who
has been committed to the department as a delinquent or unruly child for
detention in a youth development center or who has been otherwise taken into
custody and who has escaped therefrom or who has been placed under supervision
and broken the conditions thereof may be taken into custody without a warrant by
a sheriff, deputy sheriff, constable, police officer, probation officer, parole
officer, or any other officer of this state authorized to serve criminal
process, upon a written request made by an employee of the department having
knowledge of the escape or of the violation of conditions of supervision. Before
a child may be taken into custody for violation of the conditions of
supervision, the written request mentioned above must be reviewed by the
commissioner or his or her designee. If the commissioner or his or her designee
finds that probable cause exists to believe that the child has violated his or
her conditions of supervision, he or she may issue an order directing that the
child be picked up and returned to custody.(2) The commissioner may designate as
a peace officer who is authorized to exercise the power of arrest any employee
of the department whose full-time duties include the preservation of public
order, the protection of life and property, the detection of crime, or the
supervision of delinquent and unruly children or children in need of services
who have violated a valid court order in its institutions, facilities, or
programs, or any employee who is a line supervisor of any such employee. The
commissioner also may designate as a peace officer who is authorized to exercise
the power of arrest any employee of a person or organization which contracts
with the department pertaining to the management, custody, care, and control of
delinquent children or children in need of services who have violated a valid
court order retained by the person or organization, if that employee’s full-time
duties include the preservation of public order, the protection of life and
property, the detection of crime, or the supervision of delinquent and unruly
children or children in need of services who have violated a valid court order
in the department’s institutions, facilities, or programs, or any employee who
is a line supervisor of such employee. The commissioner may designate one or
more employees of the department to investigate and apprehend delinquent and
unruly children or children in need of services who have violated a valid court
order who have escaped from an institution or facility or who have broken the
conditions of supervision; provided, however, that the employees so designated
shall only be those with primary responsibility for the security functions of
youth development centers or whose primary duty consists of the apprehension of
youths who have escaped from such institutions or facilities or who have broken
the conditions of supervision. An employee of the department so designated shall
have the police power to investigate, to apprehend such children, and to arrest
any person physically interfering with the proper apprehension of such children.
An employee of the department so designated in the investigative section of the
department shall have the power to obtain a search warrant for the purpose of
locating and apprehending such children. Additionally, such employee, while on
the grounds or in the buildings of the department’s institutions or facilities,
shall have the same law enforcement powers, including the power of arrest, as a
law enforcement officer of the local government with police jurisdiction over
such institutions or facilities. Such employee shall be authorized to carry
weapons, upon written approval of the commissioner, notwithstanding Code
Sections 16-11-126, 16-11-128, and 16-11-129. The commissioner shall also be
authorized to designate any person or organization with whom the department
contracts for services pertaining to the management, custody, care, and control
of delinquent and unruly children or children in need of services who have
violated a valid court order detained by the person or organization as a law
enforcement unit under paragraph (7) of Code Section 35-8-2. Any employee or
person designated under this subsection shall be considered to be a peace
officer within the meaning of Chapter 8 of Title 35 and must be certified under
that chapter.(3) For the purposes of investigation of delinquent or unruly
children or children in need of services who have violated a valid court order
who have escaped from institutions or facilities of the department or of
delinquent or unruly children or children in need of services who have violated
a valid court order who are alleged to have broken the conditions of
supervision, the department is empowered and authorized to request and receive
from the Georgia Crime Information Center, established by Chapter 3 of Title 35,
any information in the files of the Georgia Crime Information Center which will
aid in the apprehension of such children.(4) An employee designated pursuant to
paragraph (2) of this subsection may take a child into custody without a warrant
upon personal knowledge or written request of a person having knowledge of the
escape or violation of conditions of supervision, or a child may be taken into
custody pursuant to Code Section 15-11-45 15-11-501. When taking a child into
custody pursuant to this paragraph, a designated employee of the department
shall have the power to use all force reasonably necessary to take the child
into custody.(5) The child shall be kept in custody in a suitable place
designated by the department and there detained until such child may be returned
to the custody of the department.(6) Such taking into custody shall not be
termed an arrest; provided, however, that any person taking a child into custody
pursuant to this subsection shall have the same immunity from civil and criminal
liability as a peace officer making an arrest pursuant to a valid warrant.(j)
The department shall ensure that each delinquent or unruly child or child in
need of services who has violated a valid court order it releases under
supervision or otherwise has suitable clothing, transportation to his or her
home or to the county in which a suitable home or employment has been found for
him or her, and such an amount of money as the rules and regulations of the
board may authorize. The expenditure for clothing and for transportation and the
payment of money to a delinquent or unruly child or a child in need of services
who has violated a valid court order released may be made from funds for support
and maintenance appropriated by the General Assembly to the department or to the
institution from which such child is released or from local funds.(k) Every
child committed to the department as delinquent or unruly, if not already
discharged, shall be discharged from custody of the department when he reaches
his or her twenty-first birthday.(l) Commitment of a delinquent or unruly child
to the custody of the department shall not operate to disqualify such child in
any future examination, appointment, or application for public service under the
government either of the state or of any political subdivision thereof.(m) A
commitment to the department shall not be received in evidence or used in any
way in any proceedings in any court, except in subsequent proceedings for
delinquency or unruliness being in need of services involving the same child and
except in imposing sentence in any criminal proceeding against the same
person.(n) The department shall conduct a continuing inquiry into the
effectiveness of treatment methods it employs in seeking the rehabilitation of
maladjusted children. To this end, the department shall maintain a statistical
record of arrests and commitments of its wards subsequent to their discharge
from the jurisdiction and control of the department and shall tabulate, analyze,
and publish annually these data so that they may be used to evaluate the
relative merits of methods of treatment. The department shall cooperate with
courts and public and private agencies in the collection of statistics and
information regarding juvenile delinquency; arrests made; complaints,
informations, and petitions filed; the disposition made thereof; and other
information useful in determining the amount and causes of juvenile delinquency
in this state. In order to facilitate the collection of such information, the
department shall be authorized to inspect and copy all records of the court and
law enforcement agencies pertaining to juveniles.(o) When a child who is
committed to the department is under court order to make certain restitution as
a part of his or her treatment by the court, the requirement that the
restitution be paid in full shall not cease with the order of commitment. The
provision of the order requiring restitution shall remain in force and effect
during the period of commitment and the department is empowered to enforce said
restitution requirement and to direct that payment of funds or notification of
service completed be made to the clerk of the juvenile court or another employee
of that court designated by the judge.”

SECTION 51.Said title is further amended by revising subsection (b) of Code
Section 45-4A-9, relating to sentence of youthful offenders, as follows:”(b) Any
final order of judgment by the court in the case of any such child shall be
subject to such modification from time to time as the court may consider to be
for the welfare of such child. No commitment of any child to any institution or
other custodial agency shall deprive the court of jurisdiction to change the
form of the commitment or transfer the custody of the child to some other
institution or agency on such conditions as the court may see fit to impose, the
duty being constant upon the court to give to all children subject to its
jurisdiction such oversight and control in the premises as will be conducive to
the welfare of the child and the best interests of the state; provided, however,
that the release or parole of any child committed to the department for
detention in any of its institutions under the terms of this chapter during the
period of one year from the date of commitment shall be had only with the
concurrence and recommendation of the commissioner or the commissioner’s
designated representative; provided, further, that upon releasing or paroling
any child adjudicated delinquent for the commission of a designated felony act
as defined in Code Section 15-11-63 15-11-2 and committed to the department for
detention in any of its institutions under the terms of this chapter, the
department shall provide notice to any person who was the victim of the child’s
delinquent acts that the child is being released or paroled. As long as a good
faith attempt to comply with the notice requirement of this subsection has been
made, the department and employees of the department shall not be liable for
damages incurred by reason of the department’s failure to provide the notice
required by this subsection.”

SECTION 52.Said title is further amended by revising paragraph (12) of Code
Section 49-5-3, relating to definitions regarding services for children and
youth, as follows:”(12) ‘Legal custody’ means a legal status created by court
order embodying the following rights and responsibilities:(A) The right to have
the physical possession of the child;(B) The right and the duty to protect,
train, and discipline the child;(C) The responsibility to provide the child with
food, clothing, shelter, education, and ordinary medical care; and(D) The right
to determine where and with whom the child shall live,provided that these rights
and responsibilities shall be exercised subject to the powers, rights, duties,
and responsibilities of the guardian of the person of the child and subject to
any residual parental rights and responsibilities. These rights shall be subject
to judicial oversight and review pursuant to Code Section 15-11-55 15-11-212.”

SECTION 53.Said title is further amended by revising paragraphs (2) and (3) of
subsection (e) of Code Section 49-5-41, relating to persons and agencies
permitted access to records, as follows:”(2) A child as defined in paragraph (3)
of Code Section 15-11-171 15-11-741; or(3) The subject of an investigation,
report, referral, or complaint under Code Section 15-11-173 15-11-743″

SECTION 54.Said title is further amended by revising paragraph (2) of Code
Section 49-5-131, relating to definitions, as follows:”(2) ‘Child’ means a
person under the age of 17 years who is alleged to have committed a delinquent
act or a person under the age of 18 years who is alleged to be deprived or is
alleged to be a status offender in need of services as those terms are defined
by Code Section 15-11-2.”

SECTION 55.Said title is further amended by revising paragraphs (15) and (18) of
subsection (a) of Code Section 49-5-281, relating to bill of rights for foster
parents, as follows:”(15) The right to participate in the case planning and
decision-making process with the Division of Family and Children Services
regarding the child as provided in Code Section 15-11-58 15-11-201;””(18) The
right to be notified in advance, in writing, by the Division of Family and
Children Services or the court of any hearing or review where the case plan or
permanency of the child is an issue, including initial and periodic reviews held
by the court in accordance with Code Section 15-11-217 or by the Judicial
Citizen Review Panel in accordance with Code Section 15-11-218, hearings
following revocation of the license of an agency which has permanent custody of
a child in accordance with Code Section 31-2-6, permanency plan hearings in
accordance with Code Section 15-11-230, and motions to extend custody, in
accordance with Code Section 15-11-58 15-11-215;”

SECTION 56.Code Section 52-7-12 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated,
relating to operation of watercraft while under the influence of alcohol or
drugs, is amended by revising subsection (l) as follows:”(l) A person who
violates this Code section while transporting in a moving vessel or personal
watercraft or towing on water skis, an aquaplane, a surfboard or similar device
a child under the age of 14 years is guilty of the separate offense of
endangering a child by operating a moving vessel or personal watercraft under
the influence of alcohol or drugs. The offense of endangering a child by
operating a moving vessel or personal watercraft under the influence of alcohol
or drugs shall not be merged with the offense of operating a vessel under the
influence of alcohol or drugs for the purposes of prosecution and sentencing. An
offender who is convicted of a violation of this subsection shall be punished in
accordance with the provisions of subsection (d) of Code Section 16-12-1,
relating to the offense of contributing to the delinquency, unruliness, or
deprivation of a child.”

SECTION 57.This Act shall become effective on January 1, 2011, and this Act
shall apply to all juvenile proceedings commenced on and after such date.

SECTION 58.All laws and parts of laws in conflict with this Act are repealed.
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Created on 3/20/2010 1:45:16 AM

About yvonnemason

Background:  The eldest of five children, Yvonne was born May 17, 1951 in Atlanta, Georgia. Raised in East Point, Georgia, she moved to Jackson County, Ga. until 2006 then moved to Port St. Lucie, Florida where she currently makes her home.  Licensed bounty hunter for the state of Georgia. Education:  After a 34 year absence, returned to college in 2004. Graduated with honors in Criminal Justice with an Associate’s degree from Lanier Technical College in 2006. Awards:  Nominated for the prestigious GOAL award in 2005 which encompasses all of the technical colleges. This award is based not only on excellence in academics but also leadership, positive attitude and the willingness to excel in one’s major. Affiliations:  Beta Sigma Phi Sorority  Member of The Florida Writer’s Association – Group Leader for St Lucie County The Dream:  Since learning to write at the age of five, Yvonne has wanted to be an author. She wrote her first novel Stan’s Story beginning in 1974 and completed it in 2006. Publication seemed impossible as rejections grew to 10 years. Determined, she continued adding to the story until her dream came true in 2006. The Inspiration:  Yvonne’s brother Stan has been her inspiration and hero in every facet of her life. He was stricken with Encephalitis at the tender age of nine months. He has defied every roadblock placed in his way and has been the driving force in every one of her accomplishments. He is the one who taught her never to give up The Author: Yvonne is currently the author of several novels, including:  Stan’s Story- the true story of her brother’s accomplishments, it has been compared to the style of Capote, and is currently being rewritten with new information for re-release.  Tangled Minds - a riveting story about a young girl’s bad decision and how it taints everyone’s life around her yet still manages to show that hope is always possible. This novel has been compared to the writing of Steinbeck and is currently being written as a screenplay. This novel will be re-released by Kerlak Publishing in 2009  Brilliant Insanity – released by Kerlak Publishing October 2008  Silent Scream – Released by Lulu.com October 2008- Slated to be made into a movie Yvonne’s Philosophy in Life - “Pay it Forward”: “In this life we all have been helped by others to attain our dreams and goals. We cannot pay it back but what we can do is ‘pay it forward’. It is a simple
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