Juvenile courts also handle delinquency cases, in which a child under the age of 18 is accused of committing a crime or a status offense (a violation that is illegal only because of the child’s age, such as truancy). Different rules apply in dependency cases and delinquency cases, although unfortunately, many children in dependency cases later end up in delinquency cases.
What Constitutes Abuse or Neglect?
While each state has its own laws governing what sort of behavior can result in dependency proceedings, generally, they arise as a result of physical abuse (injury), sexual abuse, neglect (failure to provide adequate food, clothing, shelter, medical care, or supervision), abandonment, or severe emotional abuse. Abuse and neglect can have many different causes, but parental drug addiction and untreated mental illness are both big risk factors.
The following are examples of abuse and neglect:
Many of the behaviors that can constitute abuse or neglect are also crimes.