DFCS DIVERSION POLICY
HOW YOU CAN HELP
Better Courts for Kids was instrumental in the passage of Georgia Open Court Legislation SB207 that opened juvenile court hearings in Georgia for abused and neglected children. While the law went into effect in 2010, it is still in the process of being implemented in all courts in the state.
SB 207 amends O.C.G.A. § 15-11-78 to allow the general public to attend juvenile court proceedings for abuse and neglect. The judge can close the proceedings upon a written finding that (1) exceptional circumstances exist, (2) the proceeding involves allegations of a sexual offense or (3) closing the proceeding is in the best interest of the child, considering the child's age, the nature of the allegations, and any potential effect of publicity on achieving reunification of the family. Additionally, the court may refuse to admit any person to a hearing upon making a finding on the record that the person's presence would be detrimental to the best interest of the child, impair the fact-finding process, or otherwise be contrary to the interest of justice.
If you are over 18 years of age and are interested in attending juvenile deprivation hearings in your county, contact your local juvenile court for information about the deprivation case docket. Please remember that SB 207 did not open juvenile delinquency hearings to the public.
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