The Juvenile Division handles three basic categories of complaints which all involve persons under the age of 17. The three categories are: delinquency, Children in Need of Care (CINC), and Families in Need of Services (FINS).
Delinquency involves the prosecution of juveniles for criminal acts including traffic citations, misdemeanors, and felonies. Local law enforcement investigates criminal acts by juveniles, then, if appropriate, refers cases to the District Attorney's Office for a determination of whether to institute prosecution.
If prosecution is instituted, the juvenile is brought to court to admit or deny his guilt. When a juvenile admits to the charged offense or goes to a hearing and is adjudicated-found guilty-the juvenile is then determined to be a child in need of supervision by the court. The judge can sentence a minor ranging from a term of probation to "juvenile life," which is to the juvenile's 21st birthday, in a secure or non-secure facility.
The second category of matters handled in the Juvenile Division involves Children in Need of Care. This involves investigation of acts of abuse or neglect on the part of parents or guardians toward their minor children. Upon a referral for investigation, the acts are investigated by the Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS).
In life threatening situations, the child(ren) can be immediately removed from the parents/guardian and taken into custody by the State. In other cases, the investigatory report is submitted to the District Attorney's Office for a determination of whether to petition the matter before the judge for review. If the matter is petitioned for review, the judge can order the parents to work with the Office of Family Services.
All children who are removed and placed in foster homes are brought back to court by the District Attorney's Office every six months to one year for review.
The third category, Families in Need of Services (FINS), are cases referred to the District Attorney's Office by the FINS program coordinator for petition and court hearings in regard to minor children. These cases involve truant children, ungovernable children, runaway children, and criminal acts committed by children under 10 years of age. These children and/or their families are brought to court in an effort to have the families and children under court supervision to prevent further involvement in the criminal court system. The children are sometimes given a term of probation or detention in a non-secure facility.
The Lincoln/Union Truancy Assessment Service Center (TASC) is a cooperative endeavor between a number of local agencies and is managed by the Lincoln Parish School Board.
The purpose of the Center is to provide early identification and assessment ofK-12th grade students who have accumulated five or more unexcused absences and provide family services to increase and maintain school attendance.
Studies clearly show that truancy is one of the first indicators that serves as a link to future juvenile crime. The cooperating agencies comprising the TASC program work to reduce truancy and, thus, decrease the number of children who will later find themselves involved in the juvenile justice system.
The Truancy Assessment Service Center is a tool used in the Third Judicial District to interrupt the cycle of truancy and reduce the negative effects of the truant student's behavior pattern.
The Juvenile Division Head is Porsha Mack and includes the following individuals: Lisa McCrell, Leigh Ann McCorckle, and Towanda Richardson.
The staff and team at the Pine Hills Sexual Assault and Child Advocacy Center is made up of: Julia Summersgill, Carole Carson, Sally Thigpen, Mandy Willis, Melanie Levy, Jennifer Ditter and Tammy Saffel.
Board of Directors Pine Hills Child Advocacy Center, Inc.
Sheriff Ken Bailey, Claiborne Parish Sheriff’s Office
Sheriff John Balance, Bienville Parish Sheriff’s Office
District Attorney John Belton, District Attorney, Third Judicial District
Sheriff Andy Brown, Jackson Parish Sheriff’s Office
Sheriff Dusty Gates, Union Parish Sheriff’s Office
District Attorney Danny Newell, Third Judicial District
Sheriff Mike Stone, Lincoln Parish Sheriff’s Office
Melanie Johnston Levy
Dr. Sally Thigpen