dependent and neglected children | Definition

Doc's CJ Glossary by Adam J. McKee
Course: Introduction / Juvenile Justice

Dependent and neglected children is a classification of children in the courts because they are in need of care and supervision, not because of delinquent activity.

Dependent and neglected children are a specific classification of children in the courts, and they are not in trouble because of delinquent activity. Instead, they are in need of care and supervision from the court system. These children are often referred to as “wards of the court” and require assistance from social services agencies and the juvenile court system to provide them with proper care.

Dependent and neglected children are those who have been abused or neglected by their parents or guardians or are unable to care for themselves. These children require the assistance of the court system to ensure that they receive adequate care and supervision. The goal of the juvenile court system in these cases is to protect the welfare and best interests of the child, which may include placement in a foster home, group home, or another appropriate care setting.

In the context of juvenile justice, the classification of dependent and neglected children reflects the recognition that some children are in need of special care and attention due to their home life or personal circumstances. These children may have experienced abuse or neglect in their homes, may have parents or guardians who are unable to care for them due to illness or addiction, or may have other special needs that require the involvement of the court system.

Juvenile courts are responsible for handling cases involving dependent and neglected children. The court system works closely with social services agencies, such as Child Protective Services, to investigate allegations of abuse or neglect and to determine the best course of action for the child. This may involve removing the child from the home and placing them in a temporary or permanent care setting, providing counseling or other support services to the child and family, or other interventions as deemed necessary.

The primary goal of the juvenile court system in cases involving dependent and neglected children is to ensure that the child’s welfare and best interests are protected. This may involve providing the child with a safe and stable home environment, ensuring access to necessary medical or mental health care, and providing educational and other support services to help the child succeed.

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Last Modified: 04/10/2023


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