What is DYS in Massachusetts?

DYS stands for the Department of Youth Services; which in Juvenile Court is a Juvenile Justice Agency and a directional facility.  It operates a variety of services not just secured locked facilities, but also a variety of different delinquency prevention substance abuse and other aspects.

What is DCF?

DCF is the Department of Children and Families. In the past it was called “DSS” where the department of social services and it is an agency that is supposed to protect children from child abuse and neglect. It investigates reports and intervenes if they determine the child is allegedly abused or neglected and try to provide permanency.

What is the Difference between a Juvenile Delinquent, Youthful Offender and Guilty in an Adult Court?

Youthful offenders are considered more serious offenders than what is called a “delinquent” crime.  A youthful offender is something that the juvenile must be indicted and to be prosecuted as a youthful offender.  There are cases that involve serious bodily injury or the potential of that. In addition, gun charges and other more serious charges are considered youthful offenders.

The sentencing between a delinquent and a youthful offender can be significantly different as well as where a court can impose either juvenile or an adult sentence on a youthful offender or even a combination of both.  The Juvenile Court has no jurisdiction over somebody who is considered a juvenile delinquent beyond the age of 18, but it retains jurisdiction for a youthful offender.

Are Juvenile Records in Juvenile Proceedings accessible to the Public?

In Massachusetts there are laws designed to protect the confidentiality of the juvenile court proceedings and there are specific laws protecting juvenile probation records that are maintained by the probation department in the court which are not accessible to the public, except in very limited circumstances.