District and County-Level Court

Activity in Juvenile Matters

Analysis of Activity for the Year Ended August 31, 1997

Section 51.04 of the Texas Family Code provides for the designation of a court or courts in each county as the juvenile court, to hear proceedings under Title 3 of the Family Code. The court designated must be either a district court, criminal district court, county court at law, or constitutional county court. The designation is to be made by the juvenile board in each county, or if there is none, by the judges of the above-mentioned types of courts in the county.

This section contains the combined juvenile activity previously included in the district and county-level courts sections of this report. The total statewide activity indicates that during the state fiscal year, about 83 percent of the juvenile cases in the State were handled by district courts and 17 percent were handled by county-level courts (county courts at law or constitutional county courts).

Juvenile Dispositions Increase

Statewide, 34,998 new juvenile cases were filed during fiscal year 1997. Motions to revoke probation totaled 4,316. Of the new filings, 33,789 were allegations of delinquent conduct and 1,209 were for allegations of conduct indicating a need for supervision. 

The courts disposed of 41,392 cases, 16 percent more than in 1996

.Juvenile Activity graph

Findings of delinquent conduct or conduct indicating a need for supervision (C.I.N.S.), also known as "child in need of supervision", were entered in 61 percent of the disposed cases. Findings of no delinquent conduct or conduct indicating a need for supervision were entered in one percent. The remaining juvenile cases were either dismissed or otherwise disposed.

Juvenile Probation Increases

Of those children found to be delinquent or in need of supervision, 98 percent were placed on formal probation, as compared to 97 percent in 1996. Where probation was granted, 20,080, 81 percent, of the children were placed in the care of their parents; 4,523, 18 percent, were placed in residential care facilities; and 77, less than one percent, were placed with foster parents.

Children found to be delinquent were ordered confined to a Texas Youth Commission facility in 12 percent of the cases.

During fiscal year 1997, 419 children were certified to be tried as adults, down 17 percent from 507 children in 1996.

Other actions taken by juvenile courts during the fiscal year included the holding of 32,677 detention hearings and 3,228 hearings on motions to modify court orders.