Harry Williams
Attorney and Counsellor at Law

Professional, Practical, Prompt
220 East King Street, Suite 110
Johnson City, TN 37601-0110
Tel 423.773.3382
Fax 423.328.8434

Juvenile Justice

Juvenile Court

What is Juvenile Court?

"Juvenile" is defined in Tennesse as any individual who is under the chronological age of eighteen (18) years and who has not been previously transferred to adult court. Juvenile courts deal not only with delinquency and status offenses, but also with issues concerning dependency and neglect, child abuse, child support, custody issues, establishing parentage, visitation, and the need for medical and/or mental health treatment for children. Tennessee's juvenile courts have jurisdiction within the following areas:

  • Adjudication of children as dependent and neglected, abused,  status/unruly, or delinquent
  • Determination of custody
  • Termination of parental rights
  • Ordering of treatment, evaluation and/or commitment of a developmentally disabled or mentally ill children
  • Commitment of children to the custody of the Department of Children Services
  • Establishment of parentage
  • Ordering and enforcement of child support for children of unwed parents
  • Establishing visitation for non-custodial parents
  • Enforcement of the compulsory school attendance laws
  • Removal of the age restrictions on a minor's application for a marriage license
  • Giving of judicial consent to a minor's employment or enlistment in the armed services if law requires such consent
  • Giving of judicial consent to the medical treatment of a child when his/her parents or guardians are unable to do so
  • Judicial authorization of an abortion without parental consent
  • Adjudication of alleged traffic violations by persons under the age of  eighteen
  • Transfer of serious delinquency cases to criminal court for trial as adults

Johnson City Juvenile Court

The Johnson City Juvenile Court, presided by Judge Sharon M. Green, conducts judicial proceedings involving children and familiess who are referred to the court for reasons of abuse, dependency and neglect, delinquency, truancy and unruly behaviors, parentage , custody, visitation, and child support. The Court seeks to protect the safety of children, protect the public safety, hold juvenile offenders accountable, and coordinate treatment and rehabilitative services tailored to the needs of children and their families.

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Washington County Juvenile Court

    Judge Niddifer          Judge Lincoln           Judge Arnold

The Washington County Juvenile Court in Jonesborough, Tennessee is presided by Judge James Niddifer, Judge Robert Lincoln and Judge Donald Arnold. The Court  serves children who live inWashington County but outside the city limits of Johnson City. Director Angel Blackwell, Office Manager Gina Rutherford and three Youth Service Officers work with children and youth who have been referred through several primary ways: school truancy, unruly behavior (parents' referral), dependency/neglect on the part of parents, or delinquency (criminal). 

After a child enters the system, he or she is matched with one of the Youth Service Officers (YSOs): Andy Jones or Kathy Harris. The YSO's provide local probation monitoring — unless the child is on state probation — and oversee the provision of other needed services, such as counseling. The goal is to provide services that can help a child eventually to not require probation: to provide the services as long as needed but no longer.


Mental Health Pilot Program


Recently, the department partnered with the State of Tennessee on a pilot program involving Vanderbilt University and aimed at improving mental health services for juveniles. Director Berry said the program should allow his department to broaden its available number of mental health service providers, and help the state determine whether more and different provider options are needed in this area.



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