The Warren County Attorney’s Office represents the Commonwealth of Kentucky in juvenile proceedings before the district and family courts. These cases are comprised of Dependency, Neglect, and Abuse (DNA) actions, status offenses, and public offenses.
The goal of the County Attorney’s office is the care and protection of the child in juvenile family court cases. These proceedings are not criminal in nature, and the goal of all dependency, neglect, and abuse cases is, through the appropriate treatment and therapies, to reunify the child with the family.
Child abuse is a serious crime that can be prosecuted under the Kentucky Penal Code; however, the juvenile family court proceedings are independent of any criminal proceedings. It is possible to have both criminal and family court proceedings prosecuted at the same time.
“The Cabinet” is short for The Cabinet for Health and Family Services, which administers programs to promote the mental and physical health of Kentuckians and support Kentucky’s families. Specifically, Child Protective Services workers are who will investigate the report.
Yes, the caseworker has the ability to get an Emergency Custody Order to remove the child, if the child will be in immediate danger if not immediately taken into custody.
The workers classify each investigation as either “substantiated” or “unsubstantiated.” If the worker determines that the report is unsubstantiated, this means that there was not enough credible evidence found to determine neglect or abuse occurred.
There are periodic reviews of the case by the court. The goal of these is to reunite the child with his/her parents once the treatment has been completed. The parents’ rights can be fully terminated and a permanent plan for the child will be put into place based on the results of the treatment and the seriousness of the abuse or neglect.
Yes, Juvenile court records are deemed to be confidential and cannot be disclosed to persons other than:
- The Child
- The Child’s parent, guardian, or spouse
- Victims or other persons authorized to attend a juvenile court hearing
- Attorneys of record for the parties