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Juvenile Division

The Juvenile Courts handle cases of children under 18 years of age who violate any law, or any children who are abused or neglected.

Please check our COVID-19 page for the latest information on Court operations.

Children involved in divorce cases, or child custody or child support issues are served in Family Court, which is addressed on our Family Law pages.

If a child is accused of a crime, the case is heard in Juvenile Justice Court, which is located at the Watsonville Courthouse.

In cases involving allegations of abuse or neglect of a child the case is heard in Juvenile Dependency Court which is located at the Watsonville Courthouse.

Frequently Asked Questions

One of the following could occur:

  • The arresting officer may release your child back to your custody.
  • Your child may be referred to a community agency providing shelter, care, diversion or counseling.
  • Your child could be detained in Juvenile Hall. If your child is detained, the Probation Officer must take immediate steps to notify you.
  • Your child may be released to your custody with conditions and given a date to appear in court. If your child is not returned home, the law requires that a petition be filed, usually within 48 hours from the time the child is taken into custody. There will be a court hearing called a Detention/Arraignment hearing. You will be notified of this hearing date and time.

Your child has the right to an attorney. If you cannot afford to hire an attorney for your child the court will appoint an attorney to represent him or her.

A recent change in the law no longer makes parents responsible for any fees associated with their child's case in the Juvenile Justice (Delinquency) system. If a minor is ordered to pay restitution, parents may be held responsible for this amount.

For parents in Dependency cases, the Department of Child Support Services may seek to recover the cost of support and maintenance of the child if the child is removed from parental care and placed in foster care. Additionally, the County may seek to recover the cost of the minor's attorney assigned to represent the child in the Dependency case.

It depends on the violation your child was cited for. Infractions (most moving/stopping violations) are handled through the traffic division. In that instance, the date at the bottom of the citation is a due date rather than a court date. If your child was cited for an infraction and does not receive a courtesy notice by the date on the citation, you need to contact the court. Non vehicle related infractions are usually handled directly by the issuing law enforcement department or juvenile probation not the court.

If you are under 18, please call the attorney that you were last assigned in your Juvenile Court Case for assistance or the Santa Cruz County Probation Department.

If you are over 18, please read through the information on the Santa Cruz County Probation Department's website. Make sure to read through the section on Application for Sealing Records and review the link for form JV-595 or JV-596. These links contain samples of how to fill out the form. The forms can be found online at the California Courts website. Once completed return the forms to the Santa Cruz County Probation Department.

Juvenile Dependency:

Hearings: Tuesday/Thursday 9:30 Watsonville Court, subject to change.

Hearing Location: Watsonville Court Location: 1 Second Street, Watsonville, CA 95076

Filing Location: 1 Second Street, Watsonville, CA 95076

Juvenile Justice:

Hearings: Monday/Wednesday 1:30 Watsonville Court

Tuesday 1:30 Felton Juvenile Hall, subject to change.

Hearing Locations:

  1. Watsonville Court Location: 1 Second Street, Watsonville, CA 95076
  2. Juvenile Hall Court Location: 3650 Graham Hill Road, Felton, CA 95018

Filing Location: 1 Second Street, Watsonville, CA 95076

Phone Contact: 831-786-7200, follow phone prompts to juvenile section. Phone is answered Monday-Friday 8:00 AM to 1:00 PM.