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The extralegal factor that should be given the most consideration is the degree of family stability that is present in the case of the youth in question.
When a complaint is made against a juvenile subject, the intake system has to decide what to do with the subject. It has to decide whether to a petition should be drawn up, essentially charging the youth with a crime, or whether the incident should be handled in some less formal way.
Ideally, the intake system should look carefully at the family situation of the youth in question. It should try to determine whether the youth is truly in an out of control situation in which it would be best for the state to formally step in.
Family situations are perhaps the strongest influence on a juvenile's life chances and likelihood of becoming embroiled in serious crime. Therefore, this is the factor that the intake system should consider most important.
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