Child Attorney

Fulton County

Child Attorney

Child Attorney

Update, June 2020

The Fulton County Office of the Child Attorney has adopted the following public health and safety guidelines:

  • ALL PERSONS entering the Romae T. Powell Juvenile Justice Center, Fulton County Juvenile Court, will be REQUIRED to wear a face mask or facial covering and will be subject to regular security screening, temperature screening using a no-touch thermometer. Any person who has a confirmed body temperature over 100.4 will be denied entry to the Juvenile Court building.
  • Health screening questions may be asked of those entering the building regarding symptoms of COVID-19.
  • Social distancing will be required at elevators, restrooms, waiting areas, court rooms and other court house space will have a limited capacity in order to minimize the person to person contact that may be had while within the Juvenile Court building.

Learn more about the Fulton County Office of the Child Attorney, Operations Update, June 2020

For further details of the Fulton County Juvenile Court’s COVID-19 response, please visit the website at www.fultonjuvenilecourt.org/


 

The mission of Fulton County's Office of the Child Attorney is to zealously and effectively advocate for the legal rights and protections of child clients alleged to be abused and/or neglected throughout the entire dependency process in Fulton County Juvenile Court as mandated by Kenny A. v. Perdue, the Georgia Constitution and Georgia law.

The Office of the Child Attorney dates back to the early 1990's when “Child Advocate Attorneys” were managed by the Fulton County Juvenile Court.

In 2006, the Kenny A. Consent Decree resolved ongoing litigation over the representation of children in Fulton County Juvenile Court. During that time the Office was managed by the Public Defender's Office. The Office of the Child Attorney currently employs a multi-disciplinary staff which includes eighteen attorneys, four investigators, one social worker, one educational advocate, and four administrative staff persons, all under the guidance of a Director.


Services

Services of the Office of the Child Attorney include:

  • Client-directed legal representation throughout all stages of dependency proceedings, including appeals, on behalf of child clients alleged to be abused and/or neglected in Fulton County Juvenile Court.
  • Educational advocacy on issues, as needed, on behalf child clients alleged to be abused and/or neglected in Fulton County Juvenile Court.
  • Social services and referrals on issues, as needed, on behalf of child clients alleged to be abused and/or neglected in Fulton County Juvenile Court.
  • Home assessments, as needed, on behalf of child clients alleged to be abused and/or neglected in Fulton County Juvenile Court.
  • Investigative services, as needed, on behalf of child clients alleged to be abused and/or neglected in Fulton County Juvenile Court.
  • GCIC background checks, as needed, on behalf of child clients alleged to be abused and/or neglected in Fulton County Juvenile Court.

common terminology

in juvenile proceedings

Definition of Child

Any individual who is:

  • Under the age of 17 years;
  • Under the age of 21 years, who committed an act of delinquency before reaching the age of 17 years, and who has been placed under the supervision of the court or on probation to the court; or
  • Under the age of 18 years, if alleged to be a “deprived child.”

 

Definition of Deprived Child

  •  A child without proper parental care or control, failing to meet educational needs based on the law or without other care or control necessary for the child's moral, physical, mental or emotional health.
  • A child placed for care or for adoption in violation of the law.
  • A child abandoned by parents or other legal custodian; or without a parent, guardian or custodian.

Custody

The right to a child's care and control, carrying with it the responsibility of providing food, shelter, medical care, education and discipline. An agency may have custody of a child, but not be the primary caretaker or party giving day to day care. 

Guardianship

Term describing the legal status of a custodian of a juvenile which confers certain rights and responsibilities, including the requirement to provide for the child's physical,spiritual and mental needs, and the ability to register the child for school, obtain medical care and provide legal consent when needed. may be granted by Probate Court or Juvenile Court. The guardian may be eligible for financial subsidy from the Department of Family and Children Services (DFCS).

72 Hour Hearing

(Probable Cause Hearing, Detention Hearing)
+ Must be held within 72 hours after the juvenile is taken into state custody (excluding weekends and holidays.) Also called the emergency shelter care hearing (in deprivation proceedings.) This
hearing allows the court to determine whether there is “reasonable cause to believe that the allegations of the compliant are true.” Parents are made aware of what is on the complaint and are given the option to obtain an attorney.

10 Day Hearing

(Adjudicatory Hearing, Formal Hearing or Trial) 

Must be set on the calendar within 10 days of filing the petition if the child is detained. The main focus of this hearing is to determine whether the child was deprived at the time the deprivation complaint was signed. All persons with first hand knowledge of the issues have to personally testify. If the petition is true, the court makes a decision based on findings of fact and conclusions of law.