COMMONWEALTH OF VIRGINIA
DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION
P. O. BOX 2120
RICHMOND, VIRGINIA 23218-2120

SUPTS. MEMO. NO. 217
December 3, 1999

INFORMATIONAL

TO: Division Superintendents
FROM: Paul D. Stapleton
Superintendent of Public Instruction
SUBJECT: 100th Anniversary of the Juvenile Court


This memorandum is to draw your attention to the occasion of the 100th anniversary of 
the creation of juvenile courts in America.

The Superintendents-Judges Liaison Committee, a group of superintendents and juvenile 
and domestic relations court judges representing the eight regions of the state, learned 
about the anniversary of the juvenile court at its recent meeting held on November 2, 
1999.   The Committee recommended that all school divisions be informed of this event 
and that school superintendents be encouraged to extend their congratulations to the 
juvenile and domestic relations court judges in their areas.

The Senate of Virginia commended the Juvenile and Domestic Relations District Courts 
in Virginia with Senate Joint Resolution No. 509 (1999).  This resolution recognizes 
that the first independent juvenile court in the world was established in Cook County, 
Illinois, in 1899.  In 1910, the Virginia General Assembly permitted courts to deal 
with delinquent children separately and differently from adults to "prevent the child, 
where possible, from the stigma of jail and the contaminating influences of association 
with criminals." 

The General Assembly in 1914 authorized cities with 50,000 or more residents to elect 
a justice of the juvenile and domestic relations court.  This justice would act in cases 
involving law violations by children under age 18, in prosecutions of men for abuse 
and neglect of their wives and parents for similar treatment of their children, in cases 
involving abusive or criminal behavior by adults against children, and cases involving 
the "protection, care, custody or control of children."

The resolution offered by the Senate also recognizes Judge J. Dean Lewis who is serving 
as president of the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges.  Judge Lewis 
was a founding member of the Superintendents-Judges Liaison Committee.

Further information can be found in the February 1999 edition (Vol. 46, No. 7) of Virginia 
Lawyer (the official publication of the Virginia State Bar), which is devoted to the 
"Centennial of the Juvenile Court."

For additional information, please contact Dr. Lissa Power-deFur, associate director, 
Special Education and Student Services (804/225-2818) or lpower-d@mail.vak12ed.edu.


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