It was a new day in Georgia for laws affecting our children when, on January 1, 2014, the Juvenile Code of Georgia (Title 15, Chapter 11 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated) became the law of the land. It was a significant and substantial change, for the new law fundamentally moved away from incarceration and embraced, as an alternative, rehabilitation. And, importantly, under that law, children became entitled to representation by an attorney, whether court-appointed or privately hired.
It does not take much for the needs of a minor to be ignored completely or swallowed whole by the legal system. However, an experienced lawyer can make sure your voice, or that of your child, is heard and your rights are protected. At Nation, Moore & Associates, we take a stand for minors and their families throughout the greater Atlanta area with juvenile law concerns. From juvenile delinquency to child dependency and children in need of services (CHINS), we know how these cases work, and we understand the rights of minors as well as the rights of parents to raise their children without government interference.
When a child is deprived of their basic sustenance, care and supervision or put in harm's way physically or mentally, it could be a case that the law calls dependency or CHINS. It could be as simple as a parent failing to take their child to school, or it could be a parent or guardian using drugs or abusing the child. Anyone of legal age can bring a dependency complaint to the Division of Family & Children's Services (DFCS) or directly to a juvenile court. However, under the Juvenile Code, not everyone can bring a CHINS action.
If DFCS finds sufficient grounds, it will file a complaint with the juvenile court, and there will be a sequence of events similar to a criminal trial. If the parents are found guilty of depriving their child, the court will work out a plan to fix the situation. We represent parents defending against these claims or advocate for concerned third parties in order to do what is best for the children involved.
Having handled a wide range of cases in Georgia juvenile courts, attorney Russel D. Moore IV knows how the system works, understands the Juvenile Code and is prepared to handle a wide range of concerns, including:
- Delinquency: We represent minors who have been charged with delinquency by the Department of Juvenile Justice. These cases involve children who have committed acts that would be crimes if the children were adults.
- Dependency: The term used under the Juvenile Code to describe children who have been deprived; that is, children who have been abused or neglected by the adults responsible for their well-being.
- Children in Need of Services (CHINS): An approach for intervening with children who were, under the previous law, considered "unruly." CHINS cases include children who have committed an act that would not be against the law but for the fact that they are children, such as skipping school, running away, violating curfew or drinking while underage.
- Termination of parental rights: If you require assistance in obtaining the termination of parental rights for any reason, including adoption, we can help.