Statistical Briefing Book > Juveniles in Court Previous Page
Petitioned Status Offense Cases
Q: How many petitioned status offense cases are handled by juvenile courts?
A: In 2020, an estimated 57,700 petitioned status offense cases were handled in juvenile court.

Estimated number of petitioned status offense cases, 2020

Most serious offense Number
of cases
Percent change
2011-2020 2016-2020 2019-2020
Total* 57,700 -59% -44% -32%
Runaway 6,500 -49% -35% -21%
Truancy 33,400 -44% -43% -33%
Curfew 2,800 -79% -53% -25%
Ungovernable 4,800 -70% -47% -34%
Liquor law violations 6,000 -75% -50% -22%

* Includes other offenses not shown.

Note: Percent-change based on unrounded numbers.

It is important to note that 2020 was the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, which may have impacted policies, procedures, and data collection activities regarding referrals to and processing of youth by juvenile courts. Additionally, stay-at-home orders and school closures likely impacted the volume and type of law-violating behavior by youth referred to juvenile court in 2020.

  • Status offenses are acts that are illegal only because the persons committing them are of juvenile status.
  • The juvenile court caseload for petitioned status offenses declined 59% between 2011 and 2020.
  • Truancy cases accounted for the majority (58%) of petitioned status offense cases disposed in 2020.


  • See also: What types of violations constitute a status offense in each state?

Internet citation: OJJDP Statistical Briefing Book. Online. Available: https://www.ojjdp.gov/ojstatbb/court/qa06601.asp?qaDate=2020. Released on January 10, 2023.

Data Source: National Juvenile Court Data Archive. National Center for Juvenile Justice. Pittsburgh, PA.