Juvenile Law deals with all legal aspects of the developmental stage of a person between birth and the age of majority, usually 18. Law groups most types of consensual behavior and youthful activity, including driving and voting, in the category of age-specific minors. The primary purposes of juvenile law and the juvenile delinquency process are:
- the protection of the public,
- the punishment and rehabilitation of offenders, and
- the incapacitation of juvenile offenders.
A Guardian Ad Litem or GAL is an adult appointed by the court to represent a child ("the ward") in a court action. The judge or the parties may appoint a GAL, and sometimes by agreement of both the parents. A GAL may be appointed even if the child is not a party to the court action.
Juvenile law deals with the crimes committed by minors. However, many courts also hear cases regarding abused, abandoned, or neglected children. If the court decides the child is being mistreated, the court may remove that child from home.