Embracing Common Wisdom: the New Juvenile Code in Georgia

An Assessment

In 2013, the Georgia General Assembly unanimously enacted a revised Juvenile Code, which was a critical component of justice reform in Georgia. Its unanimous passage demonstrated a commitment to administering justice for children based on current social science knowledge of the development of children, incorporated best practices, and embodied consensus from practitioners and stakeholders in the juvenile justice system. 

Three years into its implementation, Georgia Appleseed conducted an assessment to obtain feedback on how the revised Code is working. Volunteer attorneys, paraprofessionals, and support staff spread out across Georgia to interview stakeholders who are regularly using the revised Code. A majority of the stakeholders reported that it was being implemented as written and was working remarkably well in dependency and delinquency proceedings; stakeholders disagree whether the new “Child in Need of Services” statutory section has been implemented effectively throughout Georgia. Drawn from that input, this report presents key findings and provides recommendations for actions that would continue to improve juvenile justice.