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Child Abuse Hotline

Persons in Need of Supervision (PINS)

What is Persons in Need of Supervision (PINS)?
A Person in Need of Supervision is a child under the age of 18 who is habitually truant from school and/or uncontrollable at home/school/community. Common behaviors include:

  • Runaway Behavior
  • Serious pattern of disobedience
  • Physical/verbal abuse of parents
  • Truancy

What is the Goal of PINS?
The goal of the Juvenile Justice process is to provide services to support the child and family to deter problematic behaviors in children without court involvement. The Juvenile Justice law requires that the County provide an avenue for parents and schools to have access to programs and services in a timely manner to address Juvenile Justice behavior. Juvenile Justice is a process that involves a series of community supports to assist families and youth.

How Do I Start the PINS Process?
Onondaga County’s ACCESS Team, which is a multi-disciplinary team, that includes Social Services, Probation, Parent Support Partners and practitioners, is the lead agency when it comes to assisting parents and schools with issues relating to their child. We encourage parents to contact the ACCESS Team directly to begin seeking services.
You can contact ACCESS at 315-463-1100.

What Happens When I Contact ACCESS?
Parents who contact the ACCESS line should be willing to:

  • Participate in an assessment to see what challenges exist and what services are available.
  • Willingly participate in programs and services that they are referred to.
  • Provide documentation of any/all previous attempts to provide services or interventions for your child.
  • Ask questions. The ACCESS Team is there to be a support to the family and prevent having to use detention and/or placement where community solutions are available.
What Happens if my Child Continues to Refuse Services?
The assigned ACCESS Team member you are assigned is there to help you. Since Juvenile Justice legislation requires the parent or school to show diligent efforts have been made, ACCESS will assist you in making a referral to the Probation Department to open a Juvenile Justice Diversion on the youth if necessary. ACCESS will ask parents to sign an information release to share the assessment and program referral information that was completed with ACCESS Team and then send the referral to the Probation Department. Once approved, parents should be contacted by the Probation Department within 72 hours to schedule an intake.

What if My Child is Missing or Keeps Running Away?
If your child has been missing for more than 24 hours, you should contact the Probation Department at 435-2321 and ask to talk to the Juvenile Justice Screener. You can also show up at Probation from the hours of 9AM-12PM, or 2PM – 4PM (Monday-Friday) to talk to a Probation Officer directly about your missing child. If your child is missing, please make sure you have taken the following steps:
  • Contacted local law enforcement and filed a missing persons report. PLEASE GET A COPY OF THE ARREST REPORT # as proof as you will be asked for it by Probation.
  • Make attempts to see if your child is still attending school and looked to see if they are with family or friends
    Once you have filed the missing persons report and your child has returned home, please notify the Probation Department by calling 435-2321 and we will open a Juvenile Justice Diversion case on the youth and complete a Probation intake with the youth within 72 hours. Should the youth run away again before that appointment, parents should contact the Probation Department to gain access to court and have a warrant issued for their child.

What happens when a child is placed on PINS Diversion?
Because the law requires that exhaustive attempts be made before a petitioner can be provided access to Family Court, once a child is referred to the Probation Department for diversion, the youth can expect:

  • Full Probation intake and assessment
  • Higher level of monitoring of compliance with the diversion agreement
  • If appropriate, higher level services may be put in place including Special Supervision and Enhanced Supervision programs
  • Continued access to community based programs and services
Diversion services can take 3-6 months before there is any sustained improvement in behavior. Parents and/or schools are required to participate during this diversion phase as assessments are completed and services are engaged. Parents and school staff should note that this timeline is only changed if the youth becomes a danger to themselves or others in the community.

What happens when Diversion is unsuccessful?
When all attempts to work with the child have been exhausted and the behaviors continue, the Probation Department will provide the parent or school with access to the Family Court to file their petition. At that time the Court will decide the following:

  • Has the petitioner (parent or school) met the requirements of the PINS law and can they "clearly document diligent attempts to provide appropriate services to youth"?
  • Does the youth meet the burden for non-secure detention? Detention is used primarily for those youth who are at risk of continuing dangerous behavior or are at risk of not appearing in court.
  • Are there enough facts to proceed to adjudication or should the youth be given more time with Probation and have both parties report back to court at a date and time determined by the judge.


 • "From Courts to Communities: The Right Response for Truancy, Running Away and other Status Offenses"



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