Massachusetts law about the juvenile justice system

Laws, cases, and web and print sources on juvenile justice system law.

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Table of Contents

Massachusetts laws

Child Requiring Assistance (CRA)

MGL c.119, § 21 Definitions

MGL c.119, §§ 39E-39I Child requiring assistance


12 to 18  between 12 and 18 years old

Delinquent children

MGL c.119, §§ 52-74 Juvenile justice for children between 12 and 18. See section 52 for definitions of “delinquent child” and “youthful offender”

MGL c.233, § 20 Except in certain limited circumstances, a parent cannot testify against their minor child

MGL c.276, §§ 100E-100U Lays out requirements for expungement of juvenile records

MGL c.279, § 24 Determination of sentence for (youthful) offender aged 14 through 17

Juvenile Court

Court rules


Selected cases

Web sources

Bail for juveniles, Mass. Juvenile Court.

Child Requiring Assistance cases, Mass. Juvenile Court.
Find out what will happen in court, who may be involved, and what your rights are as a parent, legal guardian, or custodian in a Child Requiring Assistance (CRA) case.

Guide on the disclosure of confidential information: Court information, Mass. Juvenile Court.

Massachusetts juvenile arrest procedures, effective July 13, 2018, Mass. Municipal Police Training Committee.
Arrest, detention, and bail procedures for children 12-18.

Overview of the juvenile justice system, Citizens for Juvenile Justice.
“This overview explores how Massachusetts children enter and exit the juvenile justice system, how they move through it, and how different groups of young people are impacted by the decisions our system makes for them.”

Quick reference on CRA (Child Requiring Assistance), Children's Law Center, March 2023.
A handy guide for child advocates in Massachusetts.

Print sources

Juvenile law, 2nd Ed. (Mass. Practice v.44-44A), Thomson/West, 2006 with supplements.

Massachusetts Juvenile Court bench book, MCLE, 2011 with supplements.

Massachusetts juvenile delinquency and child welfare law sourcebook & citator, MCLE, annual.

Practitioner's guide to state intervention in the family, MCLE, 2023. Chapter 24, Children requiring assistance (CRA) proceedings; Chapter 29, Dually involved youth.

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Last updated: December 4, 2023

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