41 U. Mich. J.L. Reform 243 (2007-2008)
Troubled Children and Children in Trouble: Redefining the Role of the Juvenile Court in the Lives of Children

handle is hein.journals/umijlr41 and id is 251 raw text is: TROUBLED CHILDREN AND CHILDREN IN TROUBLE:
REDEFINING THE ROLE OF THE JUVENILE COURT
IN THE LIVES OF CHILDREN
Ann Reyes Robbins*
This Essay considers the emerging research in the area of dual-jurisdiction chil-
dren, often referred to as crossover kids -those currently or previously involved
in maltreatment proceedings who have also committed delinquent acts. Part I de-
scribes the development of the juvenile courts in the early twentieth century. Part II
of this Essay questions the need to track children along one legal path or another
and points to the pitfalls of providing services to some children through a criminal
justice paradigm instead of treating all children through a social work paradigm.
Finally, Part III advocates a redesign of the juvenile court-a return to its roots-
to better enable a court to consider the needs of the whole child, in context with the
needs of her/his family.
I. DEVELOPMENT OF THEJUVENILE COURT
A. Origins of the Juvenile Court Concept of Child-Saving
As the concept of a juvenile court developed legislatively in Il-
linois between 1891 and the creation of the nation's first juvenile
court in Cook County in 1899, the goal of its creators remained
steadfast: to engage in the work of child-saving.' While the juve-
nile court concept was not without controversy as to how that goal
should be achieved, the guiding principle of its creators was that
[a] child should be treated as a child.2 It was deemed no longer
acceptable for children under the age of sixteen to be indicted,
prosecuted, and confined as criminals, in prisons ... before they
knew what crime was.0
Ph.D. student in Social Work and graduate certificate student in Public Policy and
Geographic Information Science at the University of Southern California. B.A. 1994, Uni-
versity of Southern California; J.D. 1998, University of Michigan Law School. Certified
Family Law Specialist and Domestic Relations Mediator (Indiana). I would like to thank
judge Charles Pratt of the Allen County Superior Court in Fort Wayne, Indiana for provid-
ing the inspiration for the title of this Essay.
1.    T.D. Hurley, Development of the Juvenile-Court Idea, in CHILDREN'S COURTS IN THE
UNITED STATES: THEIR ORIGIN, DEVELOPMENT, AND RESULTS 7, 7 (Samuel J. Barrows ed.,
1904).
2.    Samuel J. Barrows, Introduction, in CHILDREN'S COURTS IN THE UNITED STATES, SU-
pra note 1, at xi.
3.    Richard S. Tuthill, Illinois: History of the Children's Court in Chicago, in CHILDREN'S
COURTS IN THE UNITED STATES, supra note 1, at 1.

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