The short answer is no. There is no specific legal requirement to enter a disposition in a delinquency matter in a certain period of time. At the same time, the law does provide some context on moving efficiently to disposition, including the ability, in certain circumstances, to appeal an adjudication before a disposition has been entered. This blog explains that context. Continue reading →
One of the unique features of the juvenile justice system is its statutory focus on identifying the needs of juveniles and resolving matters to provide “appropriate rehabilitative services to juveniles.” G.S. 7B-1500(2)b. In addition to protecting public safety, dispositions should include “an appropriate plan to meet the needs of the juvenile.” G.S. 7B-2500. The caselaw and statutes that govern one form of assessment in delinquency cases—the comprehensive clinical assessment (CCA)—have undergone rapid change in the last few years. Other assessments, such as assessment for problematic sexual behavior or trauma-focused assessments, may also be needed in certain cases. Questions abound regarding when assessments can occur and what confidentiality law applies to them. This new infographic provides a high-level overview of the law that addresses these questions.
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Comprehensive clinical assessments (CCA’s) are frequently completed—and sometimes required—prior to ordering a disposition in a delinquency matter. G.S. 7B-2502(a2). You can find more information about when the statutory requirement is triggered in a previous blog. CCA’s contain information about the juvenile’s mental health and they may also contain information about substance use disorder treatment. These kinds of information are covered by federal confidentiality laws that are not specifically addressed by the Juvenile Code. While the federal laws generally prohibit disclosure absent a valid patient authorization, courts can order disclosure after following the required procedure and making certain findings. The North Carolina Administrative Office of the Courts (NCAOC) recently released new and revised forms that are structured to provide the court access to CCA’s while complying with the requirements of federal confidentiality laws. This post explains why and how to use the new and revised forms. Continue reading →
This is the third in a series of blogs about the changes contained in Session Law 2021-123. It summarizes the new requirement for court ordered mental health assessments, including a new care review team process. (see Raise the Age Legislative Changes and From 6 to 10: New Minimum Age for Juvenile Delinquency and Undisciplined Jurisdiction for previous blogs about the other provisions in S.L. 2021-123).
A steady stream of appellate caselaw, beginning with In re E.M., 263 N.C.App. 476 (2019), established that G.S.7B-2502(c) requires the trial court to refer a juvenile who is adjudicated delinquent to the local management entity (LME) prior to ordering a disposition when there is any amount of evidence that the juvenile has a mental illness. The purpose of the referral is for the LME to conduct an interdisciplinary evaluation and mobilize resources. Beginning with petitions filed on December 1, 2021, this statutory mandate is changing. The court will be required to order mental health assessments under different circumstances and, in some cases, to order a care review team after the assessment is completed. Continue reading →