General Questions

When my child was arrested, the police took him. Where is he? What do I do now?

Law enforcement officers have the discretion to take a child into custody (what is considered to be an arrest in adult systems) and to remove the juvenile from the community.  The officer can request that the juvenile be detained in secure detention by contacting the Intake Department (Juvenile Court).  If the juvenile is admitted or accepted into the Detention Home, court personnel will contact the legal guardian within 24 hours of child’s detainment and advise the legal guardian of the scheduled Detention Home hearing. Most law enforcement agencies do notify the parent by phone or by visiting the residence when a child is arrested. 

When I called the police to report my child for being unruly in my home, no arrest was made. What can I do now?

 If the police do not make an arrest, you as legal guardian can file in juvenile court an “unofficial complaint” form.  This form is then reviewed by the intake department, who decides whether diversion services, an unofficial court hearing or formal charges are necessary. 

I filled out a pink sheet (unofficial complaint form) on my child and have not heard from the court. What next?

The Intake Department reviews the forms, and corresponds with the complainant. This is initiated normally within the first two weeks. If you have not heard from the court after this time period, please contact the Intake Department. (440-326-4011) .

My child is not following his curfew, not taking his medication, leaving the house without permission, and is aggressive towards me…what can I do?

You may file an unofficial complaint (pink sheet) with the court. An unofficial complaint form can be filled out at the Lorain County Detention Home or the Justice Center – Juvenile Probation Department, 2nd floor. It is advised that parents do not fill out a pink sheet for EVERY rule violation. If your child is not taking their medication, you should contact your child’s doctor, draft a medication chart to monitor missed doses, give appropriate consequences when your child refuses to take their medication, or have an adult monitor your child while taking the medication. If your child becomes violent, threatens violence or is physically aggressive, you should contact your local police department immediately.

Can I emancipate my child? Emancipation is defined as “the act or process of releasing a person from the parental control, care and custody of his or her parent(s)”

In general, emancipation occurs automatically when a person reaches age 18, the age of majority for most purposes, or upon graduation from high school if a child turns 18 during his or her last year of high school. However, a person may be emancipated before he or she attains the age of 18 if the child gets married or joins the military service. Ohio law does not provide a way for someone under the age of 18 to petition a court to “become emancipated.” Even if a court relieves parents of financial responsibility for a minor child, the child is not emancipated and the parents still may be held responsible for the child’s actions.

Are there any Boot Camps in Ohio?

There are no Boot Camps in the State of Ohio. There are, however, specialized placement facilities that parents or guardians can contact for assistance. Parents and guardians are financially responsible for placement facilities. One agency is the Independent Educational Consultant Association – IECA at (703) 591-4850.

Why do I have to go to counseling if my child is the one who got into trouble?

In an official court-case disposition, the court may order a “child and parent(s) to participate in counseling,” if it is deemed necessary. All parties are bound by law to comply with court orders. [Parents that choose not to comply with a court order (counseling), at an unofficial court hearing, may not receive further court interventions, due to non-compliance.] Counseling is viewed by the court as a helpful tool, to enhance the family’s health and well being and therefore be a productive unit of society.

I think my child is doing drugs, what should I do?

If you find alcohol, drugs or drug paraphernalia on your child or in their room, confront them about it. If you feel your child is using drugs, you should contact a drug and alcohol treatment facility and schedule an assessment. You can find many treatment centers in the phone book under “Drug Abuse and Addiction – Information and Treatment.” Flush any drugs that you may find and throw out any bottles or paraphernalia to keep it out of your child’s possession. Local drug stores also sell drug test kits you can administer in the home..

Can you lock my child up or keep him on Community Control until he listens to me?

The role of the Community Control Officer is to support and empower the parent. A child will not be kept on Community Control due to family issues. If there are problems in the home regarding family issues, a referral may be made to an outside agency, such as family counseling or In-home services. Community Control officers are not permitted to detain a child at the request of a parent. Parents must show their child has a pattern of unruly behavior and what they have done as parents to address the behavior before a child is considered for detainment.

I called the police about my child threatening to hit me and they said to call the P.O./ CCO.

A number of factors are considered to determine whether a juvenile meets the criteria to be detained. The police may or may not call and request that a child be detained based upon information they gather at the scene of the alleged crime. Police use a certain level of discretion in regards to detaining a juvenile. Police must contact an Intake Magistrate to request that a juvenile be detained. If the child is not accepted at the detention home or they do not feel that the child would be eligible for detainment, they may refer you back to juvenile court.

I work nights and my child is having parties and leaving the house. What can I do?

It is not the court’s responsibility to provide “babysitting” services while parents work nights. It is suggested that parents either change their work schedule or ask family or friends to do random checks throughout the night.

Are parents responsible for paying fines and court costs for their child?

Children are ultimately responsible for paying fines and court costs. If they are not paid in a timely manner, a Magistrate may suspend their driving privileges until the age of 21. Other arrangements can be made with the court to pay off fines and court costs. Parents are encouraged to assist, but will not be penalized for failure to pay. Parents are, however, responsible for paying a court supervision fee of $10.00 per month.

In-Home Detention

My child is on In Home Detention, why can’t I take him to Cedar Point?

While your child is awaiting disposition, he may be placed in this program. It is viewed as an alternative to secure detention. In other words, instead of being in secure detention at the Detention Home, your child is placed in your home for secure detention. Therefore, privileges should be limited and need to be approved by the In Home Staff.

While my child is on In Home Detention, I feel like I’m being monitored. Why must I allow these monitors to visit my home?

By law, all parties are bound to abide by the court’s decision. Daily, unannounced visits to your home are components of this program. Parents and clients are advised of the rules, by signing a contract with the In Home staff. Failure to follow the contract can result in further court intervention.

My child has a job. If she is on In Home Detention, can she still be employed?

The In Home Staff require that a work schedule be submitted before permission is granted. If your child attends school, she is required to attend school as prescribed by law.

Detention Home

Why can’t I bail my child-out of DH?

Unlike the adult court system where bail can be posted, a child is detained in secure detention only he meets certain criteria designed to weigh any risks to his own safety or the safety of the community. The law requires that secure detention be used only when there are no other alternatives to protecting the juvenile or the community. Due to these factors, bond is not set in most cases.

My child was reported as a runaway, why can’t he go to the DH?

Secure detention is viewed as a last resort and not intended for punishment. Federal Guidelines mandate that those juveniles who violate status offenses should not be held in secure detention. (A status offense is an offense that would not be a crime if committed by an adult)

My child threatened me. Why is he at Turning Point and not the DH?

The Shelter is a less secure facility for domestic disputes. It is utilized when the juvenile who has been referred for secure detention does not meet the criteria for admission. The criteria takes into account the severity of the presenting offense, the juvenile’s prior court history, if any, and the risk to self or others. If the criteria is not sufficiently met, then an acceptable alternative is Turning Point.

My child is in the DH, can I bring him food & clothing? When can I visit him?

In that the Detention Home is secure detention, no outside food, clothing, or hygiene supplies are accepted. Each juvenile is given all supplies necessary. Only parents/legal guardians are permitted to visit on Wednesdays, Saturdays & Sundays. Visitation schedule is posted in the lobby at the Detention Home. Any concerns may be directed to the facilities Superintendent.

My child is in the detention home and he needs his medication, What do I need to do?

Legal guardians are encouraged to bring the current prescription medication to the detention home as soon as possible.

Can my child receive mail, while in the DH?

Yes, all children are given the opportunity to receive and send out mail.

May my child receive a hair cut, while in the DH?

Special arrangements can be made if the child is scheduled for a hearing in front of a Judge, by calling the Superintendent.

Will my child attend school during his stay at the DH?

Our educational program is administered by the Educational Services Center of Lorain County. Any questions may be directed to one of our educators, by simply calling our facility (440-326-4040).

Court Procedures

What is a Guardian ad Litem (G.A.L)?

(G.A.L) Is a person appointed by the court to protect the interest of a party in court proceedings. Per the policy of Lorain County Juvenile Court, a GAL is appointed to the juvenile in Domestic Violence cases, as there may be a conflict of interest between legal guardian and child.

Why didn’t my son qualify for a court appointed attorney?

Forms and Guidelines for access to Court Appointed counsel are created by the Public Defenders Office. The information you provided in your application and affidavit may have indicated your household income and expenses placed you above the limit in the guidelines for access to Court appointed counsel. For questions on a specific application, please contact a Probation Supervisor at the Justice Center.

What is a dispositional hearing?

A hearing held to review and determine all possible alternatives and imposing sanctions (i.e., consequences). Also known as a sentencing hearing in adult court.

School and Attendance

My child won’t go to school, can you make him go or lock him up?

It is the responsibility of the parent or guardian to ensure that their child is attending school on a daily basis. If your child is refusing to go to school, juvenile court will not place your child in the detention home. Juveniles and/or parents may face official charges regarding school attendance if the child accumulates the following hours of absences without legitimate excuse: 30 or more consecutive hours, 42 or more hours in one month, or 72 or more hours in a school year.

What do I have to do to withdraw my child from school?

With very limited exceptions, Ohio’s compulsory attendance law requires that children be educated at least until they reach the age of 18 years old or earn their high school diploma/GED. There are multiple alternative educational options that provide flexible scheduling to accommodate various needs.

Isn’t skipping school a violation of probation?

Your child is mandated to attend school when school is in session. If your child is cutting class or not going over a period of time, inform the C.C.O. to pursue a violation of probation offense.

Can I put my child in JOB CORPS?

Juveniles that are enrolled in Job Corps are not permitted to be currently court-involved. For your child to be placed in this program, he must complete his court orders and be successfully released from probation. If you have concerns or questions, please contact your child’s attendance officer or probation officer. For more information, there is a Job Corps site in Cleveland.