Juvenile Division

The Juvenile Division of the Johnson County District Attorney’s Officer is responsible for receiving police reports involving juveniles 10 years of age through 17 years of age. In 2022, our office received over 2,000 reports. The Johnson County District Attorney’s Office filed 1,162 Juvenile Offender (JO) cases. Of the cases filed, 294 were felony charges, and 868 were misdemeanors.

Additionally, 306 juvenile offenses were resolved via a non-court intervention known as an Immediate Intervention Program (IIP). Another 248 were granted a “diversion” and not found guilty of any crime and therefore were able to avoid an adjudication. The most common crimes committed by juveniles in 2022 were battery, possession of marijuana, and misdemeanor theft (theft of property with a value less than $1,500.00).

Teenager sitting on a rooftop

Juvenile Justice Reform

In 2016, SB 367 became as Juvenile Justice Reform of 2016 sought to reduce the number of low level offenders entering into the juvenile justice system and offer non-court programs for low level offenders. The reform also sought to modify the system of probation and sanctions for those who violate probation. The bill also sought to minimize and phase out group home placements for juvenile offenders in favor of community based sanctions and services.  Included in the reform was a proposed funding mechanism for creating such local services in smaller communities.  One of the chief goals of this reform was a reduced reliance on secure detention as a penalty or sanction for juvenile offenders.

Once a report reaches our office, we consider whether to file charges. Sufficiency of evidence and the need for court intervention are the two main considerations in this decision. Our office has several options: no charges, a warning letter, a youth court referral, Diversion, or a court filing.

If the matter is filed with the court, notice is given to the juvenile and his or her family. The court will appoint an attorney to represent the juvenile although the family is free to retain private counsel. Families are responsible for the cost of an appointed attorney at the rate of $65 an hour. If parents or guardians are deemed indigent, the court may remit fees in part or in whole.

Once filed, the juvenile (called a "Respondent" in court) may request Diversion or answer to the charge. Diversion is a program for low-level first time offenders. It is an agreement between the Respondent and the court to follow a Diversion education program. If the program is completed, the case is dismissed without a finding of guilt. If Diversion is not requested or approved, the Respondent must answer the charges. Upon a plea of guilty to the charge, the court will adjudicate (or judge) the Respondent to be a juvenile offender. If the Respondent pleads not guilty, the matter is set for trial.

At trial, the District Attorney’s Office bears the burden of proof: beyond a reasonable doubt. The Respondent benefits from almost all the same rights an adult criminal defendant would have, including the right to a trial by jury. If the Respondent is adjudicated by plea or trial, the judge has the power to make sentencing orders. The judge is authorized to order the Respondent on probation, in treatment, pay a fine and/or be placed in a facility.


Truancy is prosecuted as a Child in Need of Care case. Under state law, children between the ages of 7 and 18 are required to attend school. If a child is deemed truant by his or her school, then a referral is made to the District Attorney's Office. Upon receipt of a truancy referral from the school, our office has discretion about how that case is processed.

Kansas statutes provide that a student is "truant" if they are absent without excuse, for a "significant portion" of the school day, for three consecutive days, or five days in a semester, or seven days in a school year. When that occurs, then the school is to provide notice to the student's parent or guardian. Once notice is received, then any further unexcused absences trigger a report to the District Attorney's Office.

If a truancy case is filed in District Court, then the assigned Judge has the discretion to formulate a plan designed to meet the child's needs and get the child to attend school. In some instances, the State may proceed informally and refer the child to services. In other instances, the court will direct the child be monitored on a formal "truancy plan." If the child is placed on a truancy plan, a court services officer will supervise the child's attendance, and work with the child and family to make sure the child attends school. In extreme cases, the court has the authority to place a child outside the home to make sure the child gets an education.

For more information on truancy, please contact our office at (913) 715-3000.

Victim Impact Panel

For computer systems with PowerPoint (part of MS Office Suite):


Juveniles completing the Victim Impact Panel may access and view the associated PowerPoint Presentation. Please follow the instructions that were provided to you by your Diversion or Probation Officer.  Choose “Enable external content for this session.” 

You are required to turn in the completed worksheets and evaluation (paper copies) to your officer. 

PDF version for systems without PowerPoint:

Juveniles completing the Victim Impact Panel may access and view the associated PDF version of the presentation. The video links (4) are not live in this format. Please refer to the instructions provided to you by your Diversion or Probation Officer which will have web addresses to access and view the videos, or you may view our document with the live links.

You are required to turn in the completed worksheets and evaluation (paper copies) to your officer.

Frequent Questions

How can a child be emancipated?

Generally, parents are obligated to care for their children until they reach age 18. Emancipation is a term used quite often as a panacea for situations of parent/child conflict. Emancipation simply allows someone under the age of 18 to: hold property; enter into contracts; and to sue and be sued. Emancipation does not necessarily relieve a parent of their obligation to provide for their child until age 18. To be emancipated, a petition is filed in District Court. At hearing, a judge would have to determine that the juvenile has the ability to enter into contracts and is responsible and mature enough to be treated as an adult by the outside world.

My child refuses to come home on time. Can I lock my child out?

Enforcing house rules is tough for parents. A parent is allowed, even expected, to provide discipline in the home. However, a child may not be locked out of the house unless other arrangements have been made. This might be to allow the child to stay with a relative, or in another furnished part of the house.

Is my child required to have an attorney in court?

Yes. Kansas law requires that all juveniles appearing in court must be represented by counsel. A parent cannot represent their child in court.

Does my child have 'Miranda' rights? Does a parent have to be present during questioning?

All citizens enjoy the right to be informed of their rights when they are in police custody and are being questioned about suspected criminal acts. If a child is under the age of 14 and in custody, they must have the opportunity to consult with a parent or guardian prior to waiving Miranda rights and giving a statement. In all cases of police questioning of juveniles in custody, the court will look at their age, the presence of parents, and other factors to determine whether any statement was freely and voluntarily given.

At what age can a child be left home alone?

The Kansas Child in Need of Care (CINC) code does not have a specific answer. Generally, a parent or guardian must provide supervision and care for their children until they reach 18 years of age. Younger children have a greater need for supervision and care than older children. Obviously, young children under age 10 should not be left without supervision at any time. In most cases, older teenage children may be left alone for short periods of time.

How can my child's juvenile record be expunged?

Kansas Statutes allow a juvenile adjudication to be expunged. Recently, the law was also changed to allow Immediate Interventions and uncharged police records to be expunged as well.  A record that has been "expunged" means that to those persons or agencies outside the court system, it can be treated as if it never occurred.  At least two years must have elapsed from discharge from court jurisdiction for a person to be eligible for expungement of a juvenile adjudication. If interested, you should contact your attorney or our office.  If eligible, you may start the process with the Petition For Expungement.

My child is applying for a job. Does my child have to disclose any juvenile court record?

The important thing is to be honest. If the question asks about convictions only, juvenile records (which are adjudications, and not convictions) would not count. If the question calls for convictions and adjudications, then the answer would be different. If a juvenile record is "expunged," it can be honestly treated as if it had never occurred.