The Juvenile Court’s jurisdiction is confined to offenses that are committed within the geographical confines of Clayton County, Georgia. When transferred from another Georgia county, the Juvenile Court can accept jurisdiction for adjudication and disposition of offenses involving residents of Clayton County. Georgia law gives the Juvenile Court exclusive original jurisdiction over matters concerning a child who:
1) Is alleged to be delinquent;
2) Is alleged to be a child in need of services;
3) Is alleged to be a dependent child;
4) Is alleged to be in need of treatment or commitment as a mentally ill or developmentally disabled child;
5) Is alleged to have committed a juvenile traffic offense; or
6) Has been placed under the supervision of the court or on probation to the court (provided that the jurisdiction shall be for the purpose of completing, effectuating and enforcing such supervision or probation begun prior to the child’s 17th birthday).
Georgia law does require that certain serious felony offenses be handled by the Superior Court if committed by a child 13 to 17 years old (OCGA § 15-11-560). Commonly referred to as the “Seven Deadly Sins,” these offenses include: murder, voluntary manslaughter, rape, aggravated sodomy, aggravated child molestation, aggravated sexual battery, and armed robbery if committed with a firearm.
OCGA § 15-11-2 (10) defines a “child” as an individual who is:
1) Under the age of 18 years;
2) Under the age of 17 years when alleged to have committed a delinquent act;
3) Under the age of 22 years and in the care of the Division of Family and Children Services (DFCS);
4) Under the age of 23 years and eligible for and receiving independent living services through DFCS; or
5) 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.
The Juvenile Court receives referrals from more than ten local, state, and federal law enforcement agencies; DFCS; school officials; parents; and other sources. These referrals are commonly called “complaints.”
There is no filing fee for submitting a complaint to the Juvenile Court; however, there are fees associated with publication in certain dependency matters, and supervision fees are often assessed in cases where a child is placed under the court’s supervision or on an informal adjustment. These fees are used to purchase services such as counseling, educational services, and other programs, such as mediation and symbolic restitution (community service) in accordance with OCGA § 15-11-37.