9 Kids and the Law There have been many changes in the laws concerning children since this book was first published in 1996. In 2012, the CHINS statute was replaced by the Child Requiring Assistance (CRA) statute. In 2013, the age of juvenile court jurisdiction was raised from 17 to 18. In 2018, as part of much larger criminal justice reform, the lower age for juvenile delinquency was raised from age sev- en to 12. New detention and diversion alternatives have been established in an effort to better serve children and minimize juvenile court involvement. The class action lawsuit known as “Rosie D” resulted in development of the Children’s Behavioral Health Initiative, a system of integrated home-based mental and behavioral health services for all Medicaid-eligible children who need them. Negotiations are in process that would make these services available to com- mercially insured children as well. A goal of the juvenile court is to limit its involvement in the child’s and family’s life while protecting the child’s well-being and community safety. This is often referred to as providing “the least restrictive alternative.” The court seeks to secure services that will be helpful to the child and family. The court also seeks to promote the child’s growth while setting limits on harmful or wrongful be- havior. “The policy of this commonwealth [is] to direct its efforts, first, to the strengthening and encouragement of family life for the protection and care of children; to assist and encourage the use by any family of all available re- sources to this end; and to provide substitute care of children only when the family itself or the resources available to the family are unable to provide the necessary care and protection to insure the rights of any child to sound health and normal physical, mental, spiritual and moral development.” —from Massachusetts General Laws chapter 119, Section 1