Frequently Asked Questions

Your Rights as a Parent

If you need information about your child in state custody, please call or email the case manager. If your child has been arrested by law enforcement, he/she may have been taken to the nearest detention or receiving/youth services center. For information on visitation, please refer to JJS Visitation Policy No 4-06.
At the time your child is placed with Juvenile Justice Services (JJS), temporary custody is given to JJS by order of a Juvenile Judge. Parents remain the child’s guardian.
Legal custody means, “the right to physical custody; the right and duty to protect, train and discipline; the right to provide food, clothing, shelter, education and ordinary medical care; the right to determine where and with whom the minor shall live; the right, in an emergency, to authorize surgery or other extraordinary care.”
Parents’ rights do not change when custody is temporarily given to JJS. Parents have the right to have contact with their child by phone, letter or visitation as allowed by facility or program rules. Parents have the right to know their child is getting the care he/she needs. Parents have the right and should call their child’s Case Manager if there are questions or concerns.
You are still your child’s parent and you will be treated in a manner that reflects this. You will have a voice in treatment decisions and you will be included in Child and Family Team Meetings. You will also retain certain residual rights, including the responsibility for financial support (child support payments), the right to consent to adoption, the right to determine your child’s religious affiliation, and the right to reasonable visitation.
Your contact person is the Case Manager. Parents are encouraged to maintain close contact with their Case Manager.

Cost to Parents

Parents are required to contact the Office of Recovery Services within 10 days of their son or daughter being placed into JJS custody. ORS will determine a monthly payment obligation based upon a sliding scale based upon the income of the parents. More information on this matter can be found on the ORS website or 801-536-8500. There is no cost to parents/legal guardians unless they refuse to retrieve their child after their child has been released. If a youth is released, and the youth remains in the facility beyond 24 hours after notification of release, the parents, guardians or custodians is responsible for the cost of care per 78A-6-113 Subsection (2) (a) (b) and (c).

Your Child’s Requirements

You and your child need to take an active part in the treatment process.
Placement lengths of stay vary by program. Community based placements typically range from 3 to 4 months, but may occasionally be longer depending on the individual needs of the juvenile. Secure care placements are determined by the Youth Parole Authority (YPA) and will typically range from 3 to 4 months. As with community based placements, lengths of stay may be longer depending on the individual needs of the juvenile.
If your child is not following the program, staff can put interventions into place. If those do not work, staff will contact the Juvenile Court to determine if they need additional court obligations.
This is the biggest difference between JJS and the adult system. JJS is about accountability, treatment and therapy, not punishment. Because each child’s therapy experience is different, some youth need more time than others. The length of stay with JJS is determined by your child’s progress and ability to maintain risk reduction. The treatment team as a whole will have input in determining that timeline.

Other General Questions

Many services are available to youth and families after the youth is released. Services may vary depending on what area of the state you live in. JJS case managers can contract for out-patient services once your child returns home if they are still in the State’s custody. Secure care youth may receive continued TSS (Transitional Support Services) as well as individual and family counseling. Case managers can also contract for out-patient services for youth on parole. If services are still necessary after juveniles are released from JJS custody, a referral can be made to the Systems of Care.
DJJS staff receive specific training in several evidenced based practices that has been shown to reduce recidivism, including the Risk, Need, Responsivitiy principle, Motivational Interviewing, Why Try, Strengthening Families, Thinking 4 Change, DBT, Carey Guides, Seeking Safety, ADAPT, and Casey Life Skills. DJJS also employs Qualified Mental Health Professionals (QMHPs). The QMHPs are professionally licensed and receive more specific and in depth training.
Success rates vary from program to program and from youth to youth. However, all JJS programs and contracted providers utilize evidence based practices that have been shown to reduce recidivism. For reports and more detailed information, click here.
The Youth Parole Authority (YPA) is a citizen board appointed by the Governor and approved by the State Senate. The YPA meets with each youth every 90-180 days in an objective hearing process to review progress of each youth in secure care, give counsel, and to determine if a youth has met the expectations set forth by the YPA to qualify for release from secure care, also ensuring fairness to the juvenile, and protection to the community.
The YPA Administrative Officer and two hearing officers collect information, and write reports and summaries in preparation for upcoming hearings in cooperation with the youth’s Case Manager, Advocate, Therapist, Secure Unit Supervisor and Area Program Director.
For more information and to find out which region or program you would like to volunteer for, click here or email jjsmentors@utah.gov.