The Juvenile Division of the State's Attorney's Office is responsible for both the civil prosecution of parents who have abused and/or neglected their children, and also the criminal prosecution of juveniles who commit delinquent acts. In recent years, there was a movement to assign and retain experienced prosecutors within the Juvenile Division in an attempt to invest resources in the advocacy of children. This office has attempted to comply with this philosophy.
Differences in the Division
There are substantial differences between the Juvenile Division and the remainder of the State's Attorney's Office. These exist not only in the rules of evidence, the time frames during which juvenile cases must be prosecuted, and the length of time that a case is open, but also the focus of the cases in general.
Whether the case involves one of neglect / abuse or delinquency, the Juvenile Division's focus is to advocate for the minors and their families.
There are two juvenile courts:
Juvenile Delinquency Court - Handles cases involving youth (under age 17) who have allegedly committed crimes
Abuse and Neglect Court - Handles cases involving children who have been abused by caretakers and who need foster care or other special services
Under Illinois law, juvenile court hearings are closed to the general public.