Revised Juvenile Court Rules

December 1, 2008

The California Judicial Council has revised juvenile court rules governing the release of confidential records to provide additional protections for children and youth.  Working with Jack Daniel, an attorney with Central California Legal Services, the Youth Law Center recommended the change to clarify the court must make an individual determination of the best interest of the child before granting a petition to disclose confidential juvenile court records. The amended rule, which is accompanied by revised court forms, (1) requires the petitioner to show that it is likely the records will disclose relevant information; (2) requires notice of the petition for disclosure and of the right to file an objection; (3) prohibits the court from granting the petition summarily; (4) requires a finding that the need for discovery outweighs the policy considerations favoring confidentiality of juvenile records before any release of records; (5) increases the amount of time required to notice parties prior to the filing of the petition for disclosure from five to ten days; and (6) lists individuals who may receive a copy of the case file under recent statutory amendments. The new rule and Judicial Council report is available at http://www.courtinfo.ca.gov/jc/documents/reports/102408itema36.pdf.