Juvenile Division

The Juvenile Courts handle cases of children under 18 years of age who violate any law, or any children who are abused or neglected.

Children involved in divorce cases, or child custody or child support issues are served in Family Court, which is addressed on our Family Law pages.

If a child is accused of a crime, the case is heard in Juvenile Delinquency Court, which is located at the Watsonville Courthouse.

In cases involving allegations of abuse or neglect of a child the case is heard in Juvenile Dependency court which is located at the Watsonville Courthouse.

Frequently Asked Questions


1. My child was arrested and taken into custody. What will happen?

One of the following could occur:

  • The arresting officer may release your child back to your custody.
  • Your child may be referred to a community agency providing shelter, care, diversion or counseling.
  • Your child could be detained in Juvenile Hall. If your child is detained, the Probation Officer must take immediate steps to notify you.
  • Your child may be released to your custody with conditions and given a date to appear in court. If your child is not returned home, the law requires that a petition be filed, usually within 48 hours from the time the child is taken into custody. There will be a court hearing called a Detention/Arraignment hearing. You will be notified of this hearing date and time.

2. Does my child need an attorney?

Your child has the right to an attorney. If you cannot afford to hire an attorney for your child the court will appoint an attorney to represent him or her.

3. Will I be required to pay my child’s fees?

Yes. Unless you were the victim of your child’s crime, you will receive a bill from the county for various fees, including your child’s attorney’s fees; probation department service fees (such as food and laundry while your child was in Juvenile Hall); and, placement costs for keeping your child in state placement such as the California Department of Juvenile Justice, a probation camp, or an out of home placement. You will have a chance to show how much, if any, of these costs you are able to pay. The Juvenile Court does not make this determination.

4. My child received a citation what do I need to do?

It depends on the violation your child was cited for. Infractions (most moving violations) are handled through the traffic division. In that instance, the date at the bottom of the citation is a due date rather than a court date. If your child was cited for an infraction and does not receive a courtesy notice by the date on the citation, you need to contact the court.

5. How do I seal my Juvenile record?

If you are under 18 please call the attorney that you were last assigned in your Juvenile Court Case for assistance.

If you are over 18 please completed the attached Application for Sealing Record and return to Santa Cruz County Probation Department (address included in the attached materials)

6. When and where are Juvenile transfer-in hearings held?


Hearings: Tuesday/Thursday 9:30 Watsonville Court, subject to change.

Hearing Location: Watsonville Court Location: 1 Second Street, Watsonville, CA 95076

Filing Location: 1 Second Street, Watsonville, CA 95076


Hearings: Monday/Wednesday 1:30 Watsonville Court and Tuesday 1:30 Felton Juvenile Hall, subject to change.

Hearing Location: 1) Watsonville Court Location: 1 Second Street, Watsonville, CA 95076 2) Juvenile Hall Court Location: 3650 Graham Hill Road, Felton, CA 95018

Filing Location: 1 Second Street, Watsonville, CA 95076

Phone Contact: 831-786-7200, follow phone prompts to juvenile section. Phone is answered Monday-Friday 8:00 AM to 1:00 PM.

Contact Information

Office Location:
Superior Court of California,
County of Santa Cruz
1 Second Street, Room 300
Watsonville, CA 95076

Mailing Address:
Superior Court of California,
County of Santa Cruz
Juvenile Division
1 Second Street, Room 300
Watsonville, CA 95076

(831) 786-7200 8:00 AM to 1:00 PM

Filing Hours

Clerks Office:

8:00 AM to 3:00 PM, Monday - Friday in Watsonville. A drop box slot is provided for filings after 3:00 PM.

Come in the morning and avoid the lines.

Items must be received by 5:00 PM.

Phones are answered from 8:00 AM to 1:00 PM Monday - Friday.

Electronic Filings can be filed 24 hours per CCP 1010.6