The 'Child' Grows Up: The Juvenile Justice System Enters its Second Century

Posted: 2 Aug 2000  

Robert E. Shepherd Jr.

University of Richmond, School of Law (deceased)


The juvenile court was a child of the last year of the nineteenth century and has celebrated its centennial during the final year of the twentieth century, but it is quite a different institution from what it was in its infancy as it enters the new millennium. This essay details the changes the juvenile court system has undergone during the century and summarizes the trends of the past decade. These have been in the direction of transforming juvenile court from a model that still resembled the rehabilitative model envisioned by is founders at the turn of the twentieth century into a criminalized institution that more closely resembles adult criminal court. The author suggests that the beginning point for any meaningful discussion of the broader directions for the juvenile and family court systems in the twenty-first century must be to secure a much greater emphasis on prevention and early intervention.

Suggested Citation

Shepherd, Robert E., The 'Child' Grows Up: The Juvenile Justice System Enters its Second Century. Family Law Quarterly, Vol. 33, No. 3, Fall 1999. Available at SSRN:

Robert E. Shepherd (Contact Author)

University of Richmond, School of Law (deceased)

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