It's about accountability and consequences.
Youth Court is a youth diversion program operating under the jurisdiction of Jackson County Family Court. Youth Court accepts juveniles ages 6 through 17. The age guideline is based on the defendant's age at the time of the offense. A juvenile can commit an offense and reach his/her 17th birthday before they are to appear in Youth Court.
Every defendant is assigned a youth attorney for their defense. Defendants may choose to plead either guilty or not guilty. If a guilty plea is entered, the defendant will be ordered by the teen judge, to complete a specific number of community service hours and will most often be ordered to complete an education program based on the individual offense(s). If a "not guilty" plea is entered, the defendant and parents will speak to the Court Coordinator to assign a date for their trial, and to discuss witnesses. The courtroom process is monitored by an adult at all times.
Community service hours must be completed through non profit organizations. Defendants and their parents/guardians are responsible for finding suitable (and approved) locations to complete their community service. Should they be unable to attend an educational program, the office must be notified to have that class rescheduled (this will be one time only). If the juvenile realizes they may not get their community service hours completed by the assigned date, they should call the office for an extension. When calling for the extension, a majority of the hours must be completed.
Juveniles and parents/guardians are encouraged to contact the office if you have any questions regarding sentences.
Funding for the operation of Eastern Jackson County Youth Court is received from the Cities involved:Blue Springs School District Public Safety Department, Buckner, Grain Valley, Greenwood, Oak Grove, Sugar Creek and Jackson County Sheriff's Department. But our primary funding is received from the Jackson County COMBAT (Community Backed Anti Drug Tax) program. Without this funding our program could not operate.
Executive Director - Susan Watkins
Municipal Court Judge Susan Watkins, has directed the youth court diversion program since 2003
Court Coordinator - Rachel Johnson
Rachel Johnson serves as the Youth Court coordinator. She has been court coordinator January 2019, Rachel was a Youth Court Attorney during high school and a Youth Court Judge during her Senior year. Before becoming an employee of EJCYC Rachel volunteered or almost 8 years.