U.S. Department of Justice, Office Of Justice Programs, Innovation - Partnerships - Safer Neighborhoods
Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP), Serving Children, Families, and Communities
OJJDP Statistical Briefing Book logo jump over products navigation bar
OJJDP Statistical Briefing Book logoAbout SSBFrequently Asked QuestionsPublicationsData Analysis ToolsNational Data SetsOther ResourcesAsk a Question

Juvenile Population Characteristics
Juveniles as Victims
Juveniles as Offenders
Juvenile Justice System Structure & Process
Law Enforcement & Juvenile Crime
Juveniles in Court
Juveniles on Probation
Juveniles in Corrections
Juvenile Reentry & Aftercare
Special Topics
Data Snapshot
Statistical Briefing Book Home

OJJDP logo

Juveniles in Court
Petitioned Status Offense Cases
Q: What proportion of petitioned status cases are referred to juvenile court by law enforcement?
A: In 2020, fewer than one in five petitioned status cases were referred to juvenile court by law enforcement but the proportion varied by offense.

Petitioned status offense cases by source of referral, 2020

Source of referral Total* Runaway Truancy Curfew Ungovernability Liquor law
Total 100% 100% 100% 100% 100% 100%
Law enforcement 18.2% 33.0% 1.3% 91.4% 34.7% 86.9%
School 58.7% 0.8% 89.8% 0.3% 8.5% 2.4%
Relative 8.8% 27.2% 0.8% 1.7% 38.7% 0.9%
Other 14.2% 39.0% 8.0% 6.6% 18.1% 9.8%

* Includes other offenses not shown.

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.

[ Graph version ]  [ CSV file ]

  • Cases can be referred to juvenile court by any one of a number of sources, such as law enforcement agencies, social service agencies, schools, parents, probation officers, and victims.
  • Law enforcement agencies referred about one-third of runaway and ungovernability cases, more than 90% of curfew cases, and more than 80% of liquor law violations handled in juvenile court in 2020. Conversely, a small proportion of truancy cases (less than 2%) were referred by law enforcement.

Internet citation: OJJDP Statistical Briefing Book. Online. Available: https://www.ojjdp.gov/ojstatbb/court/qa06604.asp?qaDate=2020. Released on January 10, 2023.

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


USA.gov | Privacy | Policies & Disclaimers | FOIA | Site Map | Ask a Question | OJJDP Home
A component of the Office of Justice Programs, U.S. Department of Justice