Status Offenders

Adopted March 1987 – Reaffirmed January 2011 – Community Concerns Commission

The California State PTA recognizes the need for community-based programs to help address the problems of status offenders. Such programs should include:

  • Family involvement in the problem-solving process;
  • Family mediation in crisis situations;
  • Counseling, training, work experience, education, and family engagement;
  • Cooperation and coordination with law enforcement agencies, social service agencies, and educational institutions;
  • Out-of-home placement when in the best interest of the youth and/or the family;
  • The provision of safe shelters for temporary placement while families and/or appropriate agencies are contacted.

The California State PTA strongly supports the use of School Attendance Review Boards and other social agencies in dealing with problems of habitual truancy and persistent or habitual refusal to obey the reasonable and proper orders or directions of school authorities.

The California State PTA will support limited secure detention of status offenders only under the following circumstances:

  • Custody shall be separate and apart from alleged or adjudicated delinquents and adult inmates;
  • Custody shall be for the purpose of
    • Determining whether there are any outstanding warrants;
    • Locating parent(s)/guardian(s) and arranging for return to home or to jurisdiction of residence;
    • Prevention of child endangerment.

The California State PTA will support court-ordered secure detention of status offenders only under the following circumstances:

  • Custody shall be separate and apart from alleged or adjudicated delinquents and adult inmates;
  • Custody shall be determined by the court and for the least amount of time necessary to resolve the crisis;
  • Custody shall be for the purpose of enforcing a court order and providing services that would not be available in the absence of limited secure detention.

A status offender is any person under the age of 18 years who persistently or habitually refuses to obey the reasonable and proper orders or directions of a parent or guardian, is beyond the control of a parent or guardian, or who is under the age of 18 years when violating any city/county ordinance or state statute establishing a curfew based solely on age. Status offenders are governed by section 601 of the California Welfare and Institutions Code.

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