LAWRENCE COUNTY JUVENILE OFFICE
JILL BRADEN, CHIEF JUVENILE OFFICER
309 E. CLEVELAND AVE.
MONETT, MO 65708
FAX: (417) 235-6254
The Lawrence County Juvenile Office’s mandate, as defined by Missouri Revised Statutes, § 211.011 is to provide the care, protection, and discipline of children who come within the jurisdiction of the juvenile court. Each child coming within the jurisdiction of the juvenile court shall receive such care, guidance and control as will conduce to the child’s welfare and the best interests of the state, and that when such child is removed from the control of his parents, the court shall secure for him care as nearly as possible equivalent to that which should have been given him by them.
Under the direction of the Chief Juvenile Officer, the Juvenile Office deals with children under the age of eighteen who have committed a violation of the law (referred as delinquency); runaways, out of parental control, behaviors which are injurious to self of others, or habitually truant from school (referred to as status behavior). Additionally, the Office handles cases of child abuse and neglect cases within the county which require court intervention. The Juvenile Office is designed to provide protection, treatment and rehabilitation. Children are not treated as criminals, but as persons needing care, education, protection and guidance.
The probation is for youth who are struggling with delinquent behaviors and/or have committed a very serious crime. The unit’s approach is to resolve issues which contribute or will contribute to incorrigible or delinquent behavior. Youth being considered for probation are screened by staff to determine if they meet appropriate criteria. Once approved, a plan is developed to initiate services and programs which are designed to help youth be successful. This includes intense supervision, adherence to probationary rules and conditions, and restitution.
The Juvenile Division’s goal is to divert youth from the formal adjudication process. This is accomplished by placing youth on informal supervision. This strategy is for first time delinquent offenders who do not need to be under the jurisdiction of the juvenile court. Youth are assessed by staff and once approved, the youth are closely supervised by the probation officer. Supervision plans are developed which include programming designed to promote positive behavior and good decision making.
Officers assigned to the abuse/neglect unit are responsible for reviewing requests from the Missouri Children’s Division and law enforcement agencies for court intervention of children alleged to have been abused and/or neglected by parents or other caretakers. The Officer is responsible for opening a preliminary inquiry to determine if there is sufficient evidence to open a formal case when a child’s safety cannot be ensured in the family home. Once a formal case is opened, the Officer is responsible for providing ongoing court case management services, compliance of court orders, and permanency for the child.
The Juvenile Office practices Team Decision Making meetings for the placement stability of all children in care and are held prior to, or within 72 hours of an emergency move. All team members are invited, including the parent and older youth, and are designed to reduce the number of placements a child has during their time in care.