FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)
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When the police arrest a child, the police have to decide whether to release the child or transport the child to a DJS intake office to request that DJS detain the child. If the police opt to request detention, while at the DJS intake office, your child will meet a Case Management Specialist (CMS) who will review the charges via the police report provided by the police and contact you to schedule an intake meeting. During this meeting, the CMS will inquire about you and your child’s background, complete an assessment, and determine if, in the interest of public safety, your child will be detained or return home with your family, possibly on an alternative to detention. Alternatives to detention available through DJS are community detention, reporting centers, and temporary stays in shelter. If your child is detained or placed on an alternative to detention, then your child will appear in court that day or the next business day, or if the arrest occurs over the weekend or holiday, on the next court day. During court, your child will appear before a Judge or Magistrate who reviews the case and may alter whatever decision DJS made during intake.
If the police do not take your child to DJS requesting detention, but still opt to file charges that accuse your child of wrongdoing, then you will receive a letter for an intake appointment at a local Department of Juvenile Services office. The DJS Case Management Specialist you meet during the intake appointment will have to decide what to do in response to the alleged offense charged by the police. At this stage, DJS will choose from one of three options to address the case: 1) resolve the case at the intake level,
2) give your child an informal adjustment, or 3) formalize the case. See below
for an explanation of each option.
- Resolve the case: If the case is resolved at intake, no further action is taken on the case and you and your family will have no more contact with the Department of Juvenile Services.
- Give your child an Informal Adjustment: If DJS gives your child an informal adjustment, this means that your family, your child, and the Department of Juvenile Services enter into an agreement to provide services to the family. Services may include counseling, drug treatment, or DJS supervision of your child without court involvement. If your child is successful by meeting all of the conditions of the agreement, then the case is closed. If your child not successful, then the case is sent to the State's Attorney's Office.
- Formalize the case. This moves the case to the next step of the process. The local State's Attorney will review all the paperwork for the case and will either take the case to court or will dismiss the case
If your child appears before a Judge or Magistrate after adjudication (trial) for disposition (sentencing), and the court determines that supervision and services will be provided by DJS, there are two primary types of supervision that can be ordered.
- Probation Supervision
Children on probation supervision with DJS
remain at home with their families, and all services and programs are based in
the community where you and your family reside. Your child will work with one
primary Case Management Specialist who will support you and your family for the
duration of the court-ordered supervision term. Court-ordered supervision of
your child may require your child to meet court-ordered probation conditions such as school attendance, employment, community service, restitution, counseling, or participation
in substance abuse treatment.
- Commitment to DJS
Children committed to DJS will reside outside of the family’s home to receive services in residential setting, approved by the court and coordinated by DJS.
Multi-Disciplinary Assessment and Staffing Teams (MAST)
The Multi-Disciplinary Assessment and Staffing Teams (MAST) serve as a comprehensive approach to treatment planning for your child and take place in one of the DJS detention facilities. MAST teams consist of you, your child, your child’s DJS Case Manager, the Case Manager’s supervisor, a DJS social worker, DJS psychologist, Resource Specialist, representative from the Maryland State Department of Education (MSDE), representative from the detention facility’s mental health provider, and any other pertinent relative or supportive individuals in your child’s life. Each MAST reviews the results of psychological and psychosocial evaluations and educational records to determine a treatment plan for your child and recommendation to the court for supervision.
Roles of Key Community Services Staff
Case Management Specialist (CMS) – An individual DJS employee tasked with guiding you and your child through your involvement with the juvenile justice system. At the intake level, this individual will review any complaints sent to DJS from the police or citizens and contact you to schedule an intake meeting. If your child’s case is forwarded to the court, a CMS will work with you to help you navigate court hearings and provide information to the court as requested. The CMS will contact you and your child directly to review your court order, if applicable, and connect you to whatever services and resources you may need and to services ordered by the court.
Case Management Specialist Supervisor (CMSS) – This individual directly supervises the CMS. The CMSS must approve key decisions such as whether cases are resolved at the intake level or forwarded to the court. The CMSS also monitors the progression of all youth during supervision, as assigned to the CMS within the supervisor’s team.
Assistant Regional Director (ARD) – This individual manages an intake, probation, and/or aftercare office, directly overseeing the Case Management Specialist Supervisors.
Regional Director (RD) – The director of one of six designated areas of DJS managing all community supervision teams of the region.
Resource Specialist – Coordinator of treatment and services directly provided by DJS. This person also assists in guiding service recommendations during MAST.
Court Liaison – A DJS Case Management Specialist assigned to present cases to the Judge or Magistrate during court. This is not a statewide assignment; some regions do not operate with Court Liaisons.
Yes, the Juvenile Services Education Program (JSEP) operates within each DJS-run facility. The program provides instruction in the 4 major content areas of Science, Social Studies, Language Arts, and Math. Students are provided with Career Technology Education (CTE) courses. Preparation and testing for the General Education Diploma (GED) are provided to students as appropriate. Post-secondary education opportunities are also provided to youth who have achieved their high school diplomas.
Visit the Juvenile Services Education Program (JSEP) website.
In both detention and committed facilities a typical day includes scheduled time for education, treatment groups, meals, exercise, and structured leisure time. The type of programming varies based upon the type of facility and the needs of the youth. Family members are encouraged to contact the youth’s facility Case Management Specialist to learn more about the activities for their particular youth.
The youth’s Case Management Specialist is the primary contact for information related to a particular youth’s treatment plan. When a youth is in the community the primary contact is the youth’s Community Case Management Specialist. When a youth is in a facility the primary contact is the youth’s Facility Case Management Specialist.
Yes. The parent, legal guardian, or legal custodian of a youth involved in an incident must be notified within two hours of an incident that threatens the safety of a youth. Based upon the nature of the incident other entities may also be notified.
This is a complex decision that is not made exclusively by Department of Juvenile Services. The department works with the courts, families, and service providers in this process.
If a youth is pending adjudication (trial), the court may detain a youth on a temporary basis in a physically restricting (or secure) facility pending court disposition of the case.
Learn more about the detention process.
After adjudication (trial) on a matter, and after considering the most appropriate program and treatment services for the youth, the court will determine if the youth will be placed in the community, a staff secure facility, or a hardware secure facility.
Learn more about Department of Juvenile Services committed programs.