35 Kids and the Law 2. meet with the child and the child’s family to try to resolve the issues that led to the application. The initial period of informal assistance is 90 days; the court can extend it for an additional 90 days. The child and family are not required to participate with the informal assis- tance. But, if they fail to participate in good faith, the probation officer can accept the CRA application and schedule a Fact-Finding Hearing. How can a CRA application be dismissed? At any time before a hearing that determines the disposition of a CRA appli- cation, the applicant or any party can file with the court a motion to dismiss the application. The judge may order that the application for assistance be dis- missed upon a showing that a dismissal is in the best interests of the child or if all parties agree to the dismissal. A probation officer may, at any time, request that the CRA application be dismissed upon a showing that dismissal is in the best interests of the child. School Truancy and Habitual School Offender appli- cations are automatically dismissed when the child turns 16. What happens at the Fact-Finding Hearing? The child can agree (stipulate) that he or she requires assistance and the Con- ference and Disposition Hearings should be scheduled. If the child does not want to agree that he or she requires assistance, then a hearing will take place. A different judge will hear the case than the one who ruled at the Preliminary Hearing unless the child agrees to allow the same judge to preside at both hearings. The judge will hear evidence about the child’s alleged need for as- sistance from the parent or guardian, child, probation officer, school, or oth- ers. Then the judge will decide whether the statements on the CRA application have been proven beyond a reasonable doubt. If the judge finds the child re- quires assistance, the judge must schedule Conference and Disposition Hear- ings, which may be held on the same day. If the judge decides that the child does not require assistance, the case must be dismissed. Child Requiring Assistance 4