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There are several government agencies in charge of mistreated minors in most communities. Though many of these agencies work collaboratively with one another, the primary agency responsible in different cases usually depends on the specific situation.
American Agencies which could possibly be involved include:
- Department of Social Services: responsible primarily in cases of abuse or neglect, also involved in cases of criminal activity by a minor.
- Guardian ad Litem: primary responsibility of this agency is to work for the "best interest" of the minor.
- The Public School System: often the first contact for a minor when a teacher, coach, or administrator, for example, suspects abuse/neglect.
- The Department of Juvenile Justice: even though this agency seems most responsible for the "punishment" of criminal activity in minors, like Guardian ad Litem, judges and attorneys often fight for "the best interest" of a child criminal, especially when circumstances mitigate logical reasons for illegal behavior. An example here might be a judge sentencing a student to spend time at a rehabilitation wilderness camp rather than spend time in juvenile detention (or jail).
The link below is the home page of the Department of Health and Human Services in my home state, North Carolina, but every state has a similar website for this government agency.
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