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Juvenile Court

See the Yamhill County Juvenile Web site page for more information concerning juvenile or juvenile court matters, such as, drug court, juvenile violation court, peer court, court school, victims and restitution, and victims information.
See the Oregon Department of Human Services
See the Oregon Department of Human Services for Marion, Polk, Yamhill Counties

A juvenile court in Oregon has jurisdiction over most matters which involve persons under the age of eighteen (18) years. The Oregon Juvenile Code general provisions and definitions language makes reference to these persons as delinquent youths in the Delinquency Code, or dependent children in the Dependency Code.

Court Jurisdiction Involving Delinquency

A delinquent youth is a person under the age of eighteen who has been accused of or committed an act, which if committed by an adult, would constitute a violation of a law or ordinance of the United States or a state, county or city. A delinquent youth is determined to be lacking responsibility, but may not be sentenced as an adult. In certain instances, the juvenile court may transfer its jurisdiction over the delinquent youth to adult court after a hearing. In the hearing it must be proved that the youth is not agreeable to treatment in the juvenile system and that keeping the youth in juvenile jurisdiction will not serve the interests of the youth or society.

Currently, delinquent youths charged with committing certain serious felonies are automatically brought to trial and sentenced in adult court.

Court Jurisdiction Involving Dependency

A dependent child is a person who meets one or more of the following situations: is in need of proper, effective parental care and control but has no parent or guardian; or the parent or guardian is not willing to exercise care and control, or is incapable of exercising care and control; exhibits behavior which might endanger the welfare of the child or the welfare of others; depends on a public or private child care agency for care and support, but may require the intervention of the court to help plan for the best interests of the child; has run away from home; has petitioned the court to be emancipated from parents or guardian; or, is not provided with adequate food, clothing, shelter or medical care, or where the home is determined to be unfit by reason of abuse, neglect, cruelty or depravity by a parent, guardian or other person having care or custody of the child.

Juvenile Court Preliminary (or Shelter) Hearing

When youths are detained or children are sheltered, they have been taken into protective custody. Each are entitled to a preliminary hearing in juvenile court. Delinquent youths are entitled to a preliminary hearing within thirty six (36) hours of being placed in detention, excluding weekends and holidays . Dependent children and their parents or guardians are entitled to a hearing within twenty four (24) hours from the time children are placed into the shelter.
At the juvenile court hearing the court notifies all participants of the allegations involved in the matter, then will schedule a future day and time for a jurisdictional hearing. A petition stating the allegations is filed with the court and legal counsel is appointed to represent the delinquent or dependent persons. Legal counsel is appointed for the parents or guardians of dependent children. The juvenile court will determine where youth or child will reside while the court considers the matter.
Delinquent youths may be detained in protective custody for up to fifty six (56) days before the juvenile court reaches a decision in the matter, when the youth meets one or more of the following situations: is alleged to have caused physical injury to another person; is alleged to have committed a felony crime; is currently serving probation or has been released from probation on specific conditions, and there is probable cause to believe that the youth has violated the probation or release conditions; has a history of failing to appear for court appearances or other scheduled related matters; or, is alleged to be in unlawful possession of a firearm, and there is not a less restrictive place for the youth to reside, which would ensure their future appearance in court, or that the behavior of the youth endangers the community.
Once a youth is detained in protective custody the youth is entitled to a placement review hearing before the juvenile court every ten (10) days the youth is in custody. At a placement review hearing the juvenile court will hear evidence from case parties concerning the most appropriate residence of the youth. The youth may continue to be kept in protective custody, released to the parent(s) or guardian(s) if specified conditions have been met, or the court may decide that a specialized treatment program is in the best interest of the youth.
Depending on the circumstances of the matter the juvenile court might order that a dependent child be immediately returned to the parent(s) or custodian(s). Or, the juvenile court may order that the dependent child continue to be housed in a shelter, if evidence indicates that shelter is in the best interests of the child.

Juvenile Court Jurisdictional Hearing

A juvenile court jurisdictional hearing is similar to an adult trial where all parties in the matter call witnesses for testimony and present evidence. In the juvenile court jurisdictional hearing the Oregon Rules of Evidence apply. If the juvenile court makes the decision that a dependent child is under the jurisdiction of the court it means that the dependent child under the control of the court.
In order for the juvenile court to take jurisdiction over a delinquent youth the court must decide that the state prosecutor has proven the youth is guilty of delinquent conduct beyond a reasonable doubt. In order for the juvenile court to take jurisdiction over a dependent child the court must decide if the state prosecutor has proven that the child has been neglected by the parent(s) or guardian(s) of the child, or, that unsafe living conditions exist for the child by using the standard of a preponderance of the evidence.

Juvenile Court Dispositional Hearing

If the juvenile court decided to take jurisdiction over a delinquent youth or a dependent child in the jurisdictional hearing, a juvenile court dispositional hearing will be scheduled at a future date and time. At the dispositional hearing the juvenile court can make the youth or child a ward of the court, place either on probation status with the county juvenile department with probation conditions which might include community service, and/or specialized treatment. The youth or child may be ordered to pay restitution to victims. In more severe situations the youth or child might be ordered placed into the custody of the Oregon Youth Authority for residential placement or placement in a specific training school operated by the State of Oregon.
A dependent child may or may not be immediately returned to the parent(s) or guardian(s) during the dispositional hearing. Parent(s) or guardian(s) may or may not be ordered by the court to fulfill essential requirements in order to guarantee the safety of the child. Once the requirements are completed the child may return to parent(s) or guardian(s) care.
The rights of the parent(s) or guardian(s) may be terminated should the parents fail to resolve the conditions which created the situation that allowed the court to take jurisdiction. Termination of parental rights is the legal process where the court removes the rights a parent(s) or guardian(s) have over their child. This judgment can be by consent of the parents or be involuntarily by order of the court. Judgments can affect one parent but not the other. A termination of parental rights petition is typically filed by the Office of the Oregon State Attorney General on behalf of a child who has been committed to the Oregon State Department of Human Services.

Confidential Juvenile Court Records

Juvenile court records are considered mostly confidential to the general public but may be fully reviewed by the following persons: the child, the parent(s), the guardian(s), the court appointed special advocate, a surrogate and/or the surrogate attorney(s). Only the child or the attorney of record of the child may make copies of the case file.

Public Juvenile Court Records

The name and date of birth of the child; the basis for the juvenile court's jurisdiction over the child; the date, time and place of any juvenile court proceedings in which the child is involved; the act alleged in the delinquency petition; the juvenile court's disposition of the case; the names and addresses of the parents or guardians of the child; and the register of actions of the case of the child are available to the public. Juvenile court orders regarding emancipated children and orders regarding the disposition of adjudicated delinquent youths are not confidential.

Access to Juvenile Court Hearings

All juvenile court hearings are open to the public. However, the juvenile court can determine that public access would overcrowd the courtroom, or interfere with or obstruct the courtroom proceedings.


It is recommended that you contact an attorney or an organization, which sponsors adoptions.

Juvenile Expungement

Expungement is a legal process by which the legal record of a adjudication and disposition is sealed or erased in the eyes of the law. Typically a certain amount of time must have passed or certain obligations must have been completed before an expungement process can begin. Expungement is sometimes called expunction. After the expungement process has been completed, a criminal conviction or an arrest did not happen in the eyes of the law. No adjudication or disposition is discovered if a potential employer, educational institution, or government agency conducts a background check of public records.

See the Yamhill County Juvenile Web site page for information about juvenile expungement.

Change of Name 

Court approved forms can be typically located at stationary stores. The name change petition is filed in the probate court in the jurisdiction where the petitioner lives. If the person requesting the name change is under 18 years of age, the request must be filed by a parent or guardian. If the person requesting a name change is an adult the adult will sign their petition.

The court must find that the requested name change is consistent with the public interest. The court must be satisfied that the reasons for the name change are not detrimental to the interests of anyone else. Any reasonable objections made to the court can influence the decision of the court when deciding if the change of name is consistent with the public interest. A person will not be allowed to change their name in order to avoid judgments, legal actions, to avoid debts or obligations or to defraud any person.

The court may consider the wishes of a child old enough to express those wishes, when considering whether to grant any petition affecting the child. The parent(s) or legal guardian(s) must be given notice of the petition file. The parent(s) or legal guardian(s) must provide written consent to the name change, or proof of service must be filed with the court showing that the child's parent(s) or legal guardian were served with the summons and a copy of the petition at least 30 days prior to the date set for the hearing. The summons must advise the parent(s) or legal guardian(s) of the date and time set for the hearing.

Public notice of the requested name change is accomplished by posting the petition on the bulletin board on the first floor of the courthouse. The decree granting the name change is posted in the same way. The court will provide written notice to both custodial and noncustodial parents of any child.

If a parent responds to a petition or the time for response elapses probate court will hold an informal hearing where all interested parties may present evidence to help in determine if the name change is in the best interest of the child. The court can prevail in the interest of a child even if the parent(s) or legal guardian(s) object to the name change.

When is the court likely to grant a name change? For an order of name change to be granted, the court must find compliance with the requirements of the statute and that the requested change of name is consistent with the public interest. For an adult, a change of name upon marriage, dissolution, or divorce meets these requirements. For a minor, the name change must be in the best interest of the child.

See Information for Change of Name.

Guardian's Report 

Guardianship is a legal relationship created by a court between a guardian and a ward. A ward is either a minor child or an incapacitated adult. A guardian has a legal right and duty to care for the ward and typically the guardian makes personal or business decisions on behalf of the ward.

A guardian may be a relative or may be unrelated to the ward. A potential guardian files a petition requesting to become guardian then a court makes a decision to approve or deny the petition. Guardianship may be temporary or permanent.

At intervals specified by the court, a guardian will submit recent information about the ward to the court. The guardian's report covers personal matters or the business of the ward.

When the relationship of guardian and ward ends, the ward is entitled to have an account of the administration of the estate from the guardian.

See the Guardian's Report.