family guide to navigating the juvenile legal system

King County Juvenile Legal System Family Handbook

Leading with racial equity demands the voices and experiences of those impacted are at the center of all practices, policies, and procedures implemented across King County.  Zero Youth Detention (ZYD) is doing the work to effectively address systemic inequities and eliminate barriers to access within the juvenile legal system.

Navigating the juvenile legal system in King County is already proven difficult for most youth, guardians, and families. It becomes even harder when faced with language barriers, cultural differences, limited education, physical restrictions, disabilities, and other challenges.

In 2018 and 2019, King County held focus groups with parents and guardians of youth involved with juvenile detention. Participants expressed a need for print resources that effectively explain how the juvenile legal system works and a list of accessible community resources.

Impacted families and guardians identified the specific content needed to create a handbook. In 2019, ZYD partnered with the community, working across systems and King County departments, to create it. A contracted artist developed the visual design. The iterative process included families and guardians, providing the opportunity to give their feedback.

The final publication of ZYD’s family handbook was delayed by the COVID-19 crisis. However, now that standard operations across departments have regained some level of stability and consistency amid the pandemic response, the handbook is online and available for download.

The Juvenile Legal System Family Handbook focuses on helping family and guardians of impacted youth understand and navigate the King County Juvenile Legal System. It also provides links to additional resources and helpful information for community service providers working to support youth and families.

The handbook is available for download in Amharic, English, Marshallese, Russian, Somali, Spanish, Tigrinya, and Vietnamese. New translations will be uploaded to the webpage as needed.

For youth, guardians, and families who do not have access to the internet, please email zydinfo@kingcounty.gov to request a printed copy.   

Subscribe to the ZYD Newsletter for periodic updates on King County’s work toward achieving Zero Youth Detention.