Glossary of Terms


The pronouncing of a judgment in a case. As an example, the judge adjudicates a case when the judge decides whether the allegations in the petition are true or not.


A hearing at which one is advised of the charges that have been filed in one's interest, is advised of one's rights, and is offered an opportunity to remain silent or to admit or deny the charges.


A person who is under 17 years of age; or a person under 21 years of age who committed an act of delinquency before reaching 17 years and who has been placed under supervision by the court or on probation to the court; or a person under 18 years who is alleged to be a deprived child. (See Georgia Code Section 15-11-2)

Delinquent Act

An act that is designated a crime; an act of disobeying the terms of supervision contained in a court order directed to a child who has been adjudged to have committed a delinquent act. (See Georgia Code Section 15-11-2)

Delinquent Child

A child who has committed a delinquent act and is in need of treatment or rehabilitation or supervision. (See Georgia Code Section 15-11-2)

Detention / Probable Cause Hearing

A detention / probable cause hearing is held to determine whether probable cause exists for the presenting charges. If probable cause is found, the decision is made as to whether the youth continues to be detained or released into the community.

Deprived Child

One who is without proper parental care or control, subsistence, education as required by law, or other care or control necessary for one's physical, mental or emotional health or morals; or one who has been placed for care or adoption in violation of law; or one who has been abandoned by parents or other legal custodian; or one who is without a parent, guardian, or custodian. (See Georgia Code Section 15-11-2)

Designated Felony

A list of particularly egregious offenses that may result in incarceration of a child for up to five years. (See Georgia Code Section 15-11-37)


A place of confinement for juvenile offenders. In Georgia the places of detention are operated by the Georgia Department of Juvenile Justice.


Deciding what to do about a case that has been adjudicated. In an adult criminal court the equivalent is a sentencing hearing.


A formal written document that sets out the allegations of one party to a case against another. (See Georgia Code Section 15-11-25)


All deprived children, unruly children, and first offender delinquent children (except designated felons) have a right to limited confidentiality of their records. The public has access to the complaint, petition, and dispositional order of any child who has been previously adjudicated delinquent and commits a second delinquent offense, or of any child who is charged with a designated felony.

Taking Into Custody

To deprive a person of liberty by legal authority. Children are not arrested, but they may be taken into custody, which is also known as being detained.

These definitions were taken from the Cobb County Juvenile Court.