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New Jersey Department of Children and Families Policy Manual




Child Protection and Permanency

Effective Date:



Special Interest Topics



Children in Conflict with the Law







Court Intake Services



Definition                                                                                                                      11-2--87

Court Intake service is an arm of the court which performs the following functions:

         screening of delinquency complaints,

         screening and filing of juvenile-family crisis and out-of-home placement petitions,

         reviewing and approving alternate living arrangements for a juvenile involved in a juvenile-family crisis,

         monitoring and approving admission of children to detention and shelter care facilities,

         conducting Intake Service Conferences and developing a written agreement of action,

         recommending referral to Juvenile Conference Committees,

         monitoring court orders for family‘s compliance.

Several of these functions are designed to divert children from the official court system into the social service system.  It is the legislature’s belief that many problems brought before the family court are amenable to treatment.  Thus, court intake screens all petitions and complaints coming before the court, in order to focus the appropriate resources, either diversion or court hearings, on each case.

Screening Delinquency Complaints                                                                      11-2-87

Every complaint is screened to determine if it should be dismissed, diverted or heard by the court.  Allegations of crimes of the first, second, third, or fourth degree or repetitive disorderly persons offenses require the agreement of the prosecutor in order to divert.

The recommendation is presented to the judge and prosecutor within five working days of receiving the complaint.  The judge must approve diversion of the case.  N.J.S.A. 2A:4A-71, 72.

Children in shelter care who have a juvenile-family crisis petition may be charged with delinquency if they commit a delinquent act, such as destruction of property or assault and battery.  They may then be processed through the court system with a delinquency complaint.

Screening and Filing Juvenile-Family Crisis Petitions                                    11-2-87

When the Crisis Intervention Unit decides that a juvenile-family crisis exists despite CIU services and community resources, the CIU refers the family to Court Intake.  Court Intake files a petition with the court, along with facts and recommendations to resolve the crisis.  If the parent is believed to be alcohol or drug dependent, Intake provides the court with the basis for this determination and recommendations.  N.J.S.A. 2A:4A-83, 84, 85.

When Court Intake has reason to believe that the juvenile may have an auditory or vision problem, they may petition the court for any appropriate school or medical records and the court may order the juvenile to be examined by a physician, optometrist, audiologist, or speech pathologist.  N.J.S.A. 2A:4A-85.

The New Jersey Supreme Court has ruled that running away from a shelter is a juvenile-family crisis act, not an act of delinquency.  The child may not be placed in a physically restrictive setting just because he or she ran away.

Alternate Living Arrangements                                                                               11-2-87

CIU or Court Intake may arrange an alternate living arrangement with a relative, neighbor or other suitable family setting, when the child and parents agree.  A court hearing to approve is not necessary.  N.J.S.A. 2A:4A-87.

Admission to Detention and Shelter Care Facilities                                         11-2-87

Alleged delinquents admitted to detention and shelter care facilities must have the approval of Court Intake personnel.  This system operates on a 24 hour a day basis.  N.J.S.A. 2A:4A-70.

When a juvenile-family crisis child needs a temporary placement, prior to a court hearing regarding the need for placement, it is arranged by Court Intake.  Such placements include host shelters, foster homes, group homes, county shelter care facilities and other suitable family settings.  N.J.S.A. 2A:4A-87, 88.

Out-of-Home Placement Petitions                                                                          11-2-87

If a juvenile-family crisis petition has not been filed, and a child is placed temporarily, Court Intake immediately files an out-of-home placement petition with the court.  This results in separate court hearings regarding the placement.  N.J.S.A. 2A:4A-89.

Conferences                                                                                                                 11-2-87

When a decision is made to divert a juvenile accused of a delinquency offense, the child is usually diverted to an Intake Service Conference.  The purpose of this conference is to prevent future misconduct by gaining the cooperation of the child and parents.  They sign a written agreement which may include voluntary participation in counseling, restitution, or community work program.  If the complainant or victim objects to the results of the conference, the court may schedule a hearing.  The agreement becomes null upon request of the juvenile or upon lack of compliance by either the juvenile or parents and is returned to court for action.

At the end of the agreement (six months is the maximum), another Intake Conference is held to determine if the agreement has been fulfilled.  If so, the judge orders the complaint dismissed.  If not, the matter is referred to the judge to determine if a hearing is necessary or if Court Intake shall continue to work with the family for up to three more months.  N.J.S.A. 2A:4A-74.

Juvenile Conference Committees                                                                          11-2-87

Court Intake may also divert a child charged with a delinquency offense to the municipal or county Juvenile Conference Committee.  Referral is voluntary on the part of the child and his family.  A Juvenile Conference Committee is a group of six to nine volunteer members appointed by the judge to deal with less serious delinquency charges.

The committee meets informally with the child and his parents.  Recommendations are made, for example, counseling, forfeiting privileges, referral to community agencies, and restitution.  If the recommendations are not agreed to or followed by the child and family, the complaint is returned to court for a hearing.  If the child complies with the committee‘s recommendations, the judge orders the complaint dismissed.  N.J.S.A.  2A:4A-75.

Monitoring Court Orders                                                                                           11-2-87

When the court has made an order as a result of a juvenile-family crisis petition, it is the responsibility of Court Intake to monitor the family’s compliance with the order.  If a family member is not in compliance, Intake may file a petition of litigants rights, which may lead to another court hearing.

CIU/CP&P/Family Part Agreement                                                                        4-3-2018

The affiliation agreement between CP&P and the Administrative Office of the Courts specifies the roles of Court Intake in Juvenile-Family Crisis cases.  See the CIU/CP&P/Family Part Agreement.