Activity in Juvenile Matters

Analysis of Activity for the Year Ended August 31, 1998


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 82.3 percent of the juvenile cases in the State were handled by district courts and 17.6 percent were handled by county-level courts (county courts at law or constitutional county courts).

Juvenile Dispositions Increase

Statewide, 35,832 new juvenile cases were filed during fiscal year 1998. Motions to revoke probation totaled 4,702. Of the new filings, 34,556 were allegations of delinquent conduct and 1,276 were for allegations of conduct indicating a need for supervision. The courts disposed of 43,723 cases, 5.6 percent more than in 1997. Figure 1 below provides the ten-year trend for juvenile activity in the district and county-level courts.

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 59.3 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

In 1998, 25,909 children were found to be delinquent or in need of supervision. Where probation was granted, 21,081, 81 percent, of the children were placed in the care of their parents; 4,697, 18 percent, were placed in residential care facilities; and 115, less than one percent, were placed with foster parents.

Children found to be delinquent were ordered confined to a Texas Youth Commission facility in 12.2 percent of the cases.

During fiscal year 1998, 408 children were certified to be tried as adults, down 3 percent from 419 children in 1997.

Other actions taken by juvenile courts during the fiscal year included the holding of 33,335 detention hearings and 2,936 hearings on motions to modify court orders.

Return to 1998 Annual Report