Our office represents the Commonwealth of Kentucky in pursuing actions on behalf of and against juveniles. There are two primary classes of cases against juveniles; status offenses and public offenses. The primary class of cases brought on behalf of juveniles are Dependency, Abuse, and Neglect cases.
Status Offenders are juveniles who are involved in conduct that would NOT be considered a crime if they were an adult. Some examples of Status Offenses include: beyond control of parent or school, habitual truancy, or habitual runaway. These types of cases are generally heard in Family Court.
Public Offenders are juveniles who are involved in conduct that would be considered a crime if they were an adult. Some examples of public offenses include; abuse of a teacher, assault, harassing communications, theft by unlawful taking, receiving stolen property, possession of a controlled substance, disorderly conduct, and sexual offenses that may result in a youth being declared a Juvenile Sexual Offender by the court. These cases range from minor to serious offenses and are handled in District Court, similar to adult criminal matters. These proceedings are confidential and are more geared toward rehabilitation of the juvenile offender as opposed to mere punishment. In extreme cases, a juvenile may be transferred to Circuit Court to be tried as an adult.
Dependency, Abuse, and Neglect cases, commonly referred to as “D/N/A” actions, involve juveniles that are alleged to have been abused or neglected by a parent or guardian. Neglect occurs where the parent or custodian fails to adequately take care of the child whereas abuse occurs where the parent or custodian physically or emotionally injures the child or allows someone else to physically or emotionally injure the child. When an act of child abuse is reported to the Cabinet for Health and Family Services or to law enforcement, the Child Protective Services (CPS) workers from the county office will begin an investigation. D/N/A proceedings are not criminal proceedings; the ultimate goal of a D/N/A proceeding is to protect and care for the child. The County Attorney is present during D/N/A proceedings to ensure that a dependent, neglected, or abused child is not returned to his/her parent or custodian.
Frequently Asked Questions
When is my court date?
- For information on your next court date contact the Pulaski County Circuit Court Clerk-Family/Juvenile Division at 606-677-4029. You will need to provide the court case number and the Clerk of the Court will be able to inform you of the next date. You may also contact your attorney if you are represented by counsel.
Where is court held?
- Juvenile Public Offenses are heard in the District Courtroom of the Pulaski County Judicial Center located at 50 Public Square Somerset, KY 42501. The courtrooms are located on the second floor of the building. Depending on the month in which your case is heard, you may be in front of either District Court Judge Kathryn G. Wood in Courtroom 1 or District Court Judge Jeffrey Scott Lawless in Courtroom 2. If you are uncertain where you should be, you can ask a Court Security Officer or Bailiff as you enter the building.
- Juvenile Status Offenses and Dependency, Abuse, and Neglect cases are held in the Family Courtroom of the Pulaski County Judicial Center. The courtroom is located on the second floor of the building. The presiding family court judge is Marcus L. Vanover.
Who else can be present in the courtroom?
- Juvenile proceedings are confidential and thus closed to the public. Information about these cases can only be given in person to the child, parent, victim, or individuals who are authorized by a court order. In Juvenile Public Offenses, those that may be present in the courtroom other than the juvenile include, a guardian, parents or relatives who accompany the juvenile, the County Attorney, the Department of Public Advocacy Attorney, the Court Designated Worker, members of the Department of Juvenile Justice, members of the Cabinet for Health and Family Services (CHFS), representatives of the school in which the juvenile attends, and court personnel.
I am unable to make my court date. Who do I contact?
- If you are represented by counsel, contact your attorney directly. If you do not have an attorney or are involved in a Dependency, Abuse, and Neglect case, you may contact the Pulaski County Circuit Court Clerk-Family/Juvenile Division at 606-677-4029.
I missed my court date. Now what?
- If you are represented by counsel, contact your attorney to directly find out what occurred in court on your scheduled hearing date. Otherwise, you may contact the Pulaski County Circuit Court Clerk-Family/Juvenile Division at 606-677-4029 and they will provide you with your next court date.
Who is my attorney?
- Delinquency Cases: If you have been in court and have had an attorney appointed to represent you, please contact the Department of Public Advocacy at (606) 677-4129 or visit their office located at 650 North Main Street, Suite 222 Somerset, KY 42501. If you do not know if you have a Public Defender, contact the Pulaski County Circuit Court Clerk Family/Juvenile Division at 606-677-4029 and they will be able to provide you with the name of your attorney.
- Dependency Cases: Contact the Pulaski County Circuit Court Clerk Family/Juvenile Division at 606-677-4029 and they will be able to provide you with the name of your attorney.
What if I miss work or school for court?
- In order for your court date to be an excused absence, you must bring an excuse executed by the Circuit Court Clerk upon your return to school. Excuses can be picked up from the Circuit Court Clerk in the Circuit Clerk’s Office located on the 1st Floor of the Judicial Center. It is always best to check with the judge before leaving the courtroom.
My child has been arrested. What happens now and how can I see him or her?
- Contact the Adair County Youth Development Center at (270) 384-0822.
How do I expunge my record?
- Juvenile records are confidential, however some may desire to have their records expunged. The Kentucky Revised Statutes do allow a child to expunge records under certain circumstances. An attorney can assist with the process stated in KRS 610.330.