Q: How do I get help if my child is out of control at home, school or in the community?
A: If you feel your child is a danger to himself or others, you should contact law enforcement. If it is not an emergency, you can call the Department of Social Services and speak to the general access worker about services that are available in the community.
Q: How do I get a social worker?
A: Delinquency social workers are assigned to a family after a determination by the intake worker is made, that services are warranted and supervision by the Department is necessary.
Q: What happens when the police/school refer my child to Social Services?
A: When the Department receives a referral from law enforcement or from a school, an intake worker reviews the law enforcement/school referral to determine whether Marathon County has the legal authority to handle the referral and whether the action described in the referral has legal merit.
· The parents and/or guardian of the child involved will be sent a notice requesting that they, along with the child, participate in an intake conference to discuss the referral.
· The conference will assist the intake worker to determine how the case will be handled.
Q: Is there a cost involved?
A: The Department does not charge for services that the Department directly provides. Families may be involved in community services such as individual and/or family counseling that would be a parental financial responsibility. Family medical insurance may cover this cost. Parents will be responsible for Court costs and costs associated with the Secure and Shelter facilities if their child is placed there. The court also has the responsibility per state statute to order payment for legal representation of the youth if the parents have not retained private legal representation. If the youth is placed outside of the parental home in a foster home, group home or in residential treatment the parents will be referred to the Marathon County Child Support Agency to determine their child support obligation while the child is out of the home.
Q: Do I need to get an attorney?
A: The Social Services cannot advise you with regard to this decision.
You should know that:
- Parents may hire an attorney at their own expense.
- If the juvenile desires to be represented by an attorney, the court may appoint a Public Defender.
- If in disposing of your child’s case the court is considering a placement in out of home care e.g. foster care, the child will need to be represented by an attorney.
Q: How do I get help if I’m the victim of an offense committed by a juvenile?
A: If law enforcement refers a juvenile responsible for a crime to Juvenile Intake and that juvenile is a resident of Marathon County, you will receive a victim information packet by mail, which includes the following:
A brochure informing you of your rights (Victim Notification and Juvenile Court Process)
A form requesting information about your loss and asking you to describe the effect this crime had on you. (This form needs to be completed and returned to Social Services as notification of your intent to collect damages.)
Social Services can assist victims of juvenile crime through the direct collection of restitution, a referral to Marathon County Restorative Justice Program or by starting civil action on your behalf.
NOTE: Juveniles under age fourteen are limited by law to a maximum restitution assessment of $250.
Q: What do I do if my child does not go to school?
A: If your child is refusing to go to school, immediately contact a teacher, administrator, or counselor at your child’s school and request assistance. You should expect an offer for the following to occur by the school:
- To meet with you to discuss your child’s truancy.
- An opportunity for educational counseling for your child to determine whether a change in the child’s curriculum could resolve the truancy issue.
- An evaluation of your child to determine whether learning problems may be a cause of the truancy and, if so, what steps can be taken to overcome the learning problems.
- An evaluation to determine whether social problems may be a cause of the child’s truancy and what appropriate actions or referrals should be taken.
If your child continues to miss school, he/she can be cited by law enforcement and ordered to appear in Truancy Court, or referred to Social Services as a habitual truant.
Q: How do I become emancipated or have my child become emancipated?
A: There is currently no legal process available via the court system to allow emancipation.
Q: Are my juvenile records kept confidential?
A: Specific laws govern the release of information about a juvenile (938.78). Generally, those statutes state to what agency or person the information may be released in order to provide services, protect the community or prosecute a case. The Department will often ask that you sign a release in order to facilitate communication, but in certain circumstances such as a Court Order, a release is not necessary.