In this section:
The purpose of the Juvenile Court is to protect the well-being of children, provide guidance and control conducive to child welfare and the best interests of the state and secure care for children removed from their homes.
The exclusive, original jurisdiction of juvenile court extends to delinquent children under the age of 17 and deprived or unruly children under the age of 18. Juvenile courts have concurrent jurisdiction with superior courts in cases involving capital felonies, custody and child support cases, and in proceedings to terminate parental rights. Traffic cases made against juveniles are also handled in the Juvenile Court.
The superior courts have original jurisdiction over those juveniles who commit certain serious felonies. The juvenile court also has jurisdiction over minors committing traffic violations or enlisting in the military services, consent to marriage for minors, and cases involving the Interstate Compact on Juveniles.
Juvenile court complaints are received from all local law enforcement agencies, board of education and the community. Charges may be disposed of by dismissal, informal probation, formal probation or placing a young person in custody of the Georgia Department of Juvenile Justice.
The court provides an opportunity for accountability and rehabilitation through a variety of programs, such as mediation, anger management, decision making, character education, Adolescent Safe Passage, tobacco and other addictive drugs, prevention and diversion and community services.
Juvenile court judges are appointed by the superior court judges of the circuit to four-year terms. Judges must be 30 years of age, have practiced law for five years, and have lived in Georgia for three years. Full-time judges cannot practice law while holding office.