First Juvenile Court Established

1899

In Cook County, Ill., the first juvenile court in the United States is established. It is founded on the idea that juvenile offenders need protection and treatment, not just punishment. The idea comes from the British justice system’s principle of parens patriae (the State as parent), meaning that the state has a duty to protect children under its care. By 1925, all but two of the states have juvenile courts or probation services. These institutions operate much less formally than their counterparts in the adult judicial system.