151 Kids and the Law Sometimes an attorney or probation officer may ask that the judge wait to make a decision until probation has time to look into the child’s background and report back to the court. In some cases the judge may order the child to undergo a psychological or psychiatric evaluation to help the judge in making the disposition. What does it mean when the judge places the child on probation? The courts follow the policy of using the least restrictive alternative. Most children are put on probation for a set period of time and are supervised by probation while they remain in the custody of the parent or guardian. (In most cases probation will end on or before the child’s18th birthday.*) Certain condi- tions of probation are imposed by law. For example, the child must: 1. Obey local, state and federal criminal laws and court orders. 2. Report to the assigned probation officer as required. 3. Notify the probation officer immediately of any change of address, em- ployment or school status. 4. Permit the probation officer to visit their home. Frequently, a child is given additional conditions of probation, such as a cur- few or counseling. The probation officer, child, and parent or guardian sign a form, which includes all the conditions of probation. Only a judge can set the conditions of probation. * For cases decided when the defendant is between ages 18 and 19, probation ends by the defendant’s 19th birthday; if the defendant is between ages 19 and 20, probation ends by age 20. What is a Department of Youth Services (DYS) commitment? The most serious disposition the judge can make after a finding of delinquent is to commit the child to the custody of DYS until their 18th birthday (or 19th or 20th birthday depending on their age at the time of disposition). If the de- fendant is adjudicated a youthful offender, the court can commit the youthful offender to DYS to age 21, sentence the youthful offender to an adult correc- tional facility, or combine those sentences by committing the youthful offend- er to DYS until age 21 and giving a suspended adult sentence. Delinquent Children 11