In 1999, we will commemorate the 100th anniversary of the establishment of the juvenile court. It is a centennial worth celebrating, for the juvenile court is the linchpin of Americaís juvenile justice system, playing a critical role on the front line in the fight against juvenile crime and violence. The juvenile courtís influence on the lives of the children it serves is significant and often lasts a lifetime.
As we approach the next millennium, the challenges that face the juvenile court are considerable. These challenges have changed as our society has changed over the past two decades, and these changes have affected both the volume and the nature of the juvenile offenses with which the court must deal.
Juvenile Court Statistics 1995 profiles more than 1.7 million delinquency cases and 146,000 status offense cases handled by juvenile courts in 1995. From 1986 to 1995, the number of delinquency cases addressed by juvenile courts rose 45 percent. In that same decade, juvenile court cases for offenses against persons increased 98 percent to 377,300 cases.
As its predecessors, this Report should prove a valuable reference guide for policymakers, practitioners, researchers, and others working to improve our juvenile justice system. Documenting trends enables us to plan more effectively for the future. By working together to strengthen the juvenile courtís ability to provide timely, appropriate justice, we can build a bridge to a better future for our children and our Nation.