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Legal Statutes: North Dakota

UPDATED December 17, 2015

North Dakota Statutes

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Chapter 27-20. Uniform Juvenile Court Act

back to top27-20-02. Definitions

As used in this chapter:

1. “Abandon” means:

a. As to a parent of a child not in the custody of that parent, failure by the noncustodial parent significantly without justifiable cause:

(1) To communicate with the child; or

(2) To provide for the care and support of the child as required by law; or

b. As to a parent of a child in that parent's custody:

(1) To leave the child for an indefinite period without making firm and agreed plans, with the child's immediate caregiver, for the parent's resumption of physical custody;

(2) Following the child's birth or treatment at a hospital, to fail to arrange for the child's discharge within ten days after the child no longer requires hospital care; or

(3) To willfully fail to furnish food, shelter, clothing, or medical attention reasonably sufficient to meet the child's needs.

2. “Abandoned infant” means a child who has been abandoned before reaching the age of one year.

3. “Aggravated circumstances” means circumstances in which a parent:

a. Abandons, tortures, chronically abuses, or sexually abuses a child;

b. Fails to make substantial, meaningful efforts to secure treatment for the parent's addiction, mental illness, behavior disorder, or any combination of those conditions for a period equal to the lesser of:

(1) One year; or

(2) One-half of the child's lifetime, measured in days, as of the date a petition alleging aggravated circumstances is filed;

c. Engages in conduct prohibited under sections 12.1-20-01 through 12.1-20-08 or chapter 12.1-27.2, in which a child is the victim or intended victim;

d. Engages in conduct that constitutes one of the following crimes, or of an offense under the laws of another jurisdiction which requires proof of substantially similar elements:

(1) A violation of section 12.1-16-01, 12.1-16-02, 12.1-16-03, or 14-09-22 in which the victim is another child of the parent;

(2) Aiding, abetting, attempting, conspiring, or soliciting a violation of section 12.1-16-01, 12.1-16-02, or 12.1-16-03 in which the victim is a child of the parent; or

(3) A violation of section 12.1-17-02 in which the victim is a child of the parent and has suffered serious bodily injury;

e. Engages or attempts to engage in conduct, prohibited under sections 12.1-17-01 through 12.1-17-04, in which a child is the victim or intended victim;

f. Has been incarcerated under a sentence for which the latest release date is:

(1) In the case of a child age nine or older, after the child's majority; or

(2) In the case of a child, after the child is twice the child's current age, measured in days;

g. Subjects the child to prenatal exposure to chronic or severe use of alcohol or any controlled substance as defined in chapter 19-03.1 in a manner not lawfully prescribed by a practitioner; or

h. Allows the child to be present in an environment subjecting the child to exposure to a controlled substance, chemical substance, or drug paraphernalia as prohibited by section 19-03.1-22.2.

4. “Child” means an individual who is:

a. Under the age of eighteen years and is not married; or

b. Under the age of twenty years with respect to a delinquent act committed while under the age of eighteen years.

5. “Custodian” means a person, other than a parent or legal guardian, who stands in loco parentis to the child or a person to whom legal custody of the child has been given by order of a court.

6. “Delinquent act” means an act designated a crime under the law, including local ordinances or resolutions of this state, or of another state if the act occurred in that state, or under federal law, and the crime does not fall under subdivision c of subsection 19.

7. “Delinquent child” means a child who has committed a delinquent act and is in need of treatment or rehabilitation.

8. “Deprived child” means a child who:

a. Is without proper parental care or control, subsistence, education as required by law, or other care or control necessary for the child's physical, mental, or emotional health, or morals, and the deprivation is not due primarily to the lack of financial means of the child's parents, guardian, or other custodian;

b. Has been placed for care or adoption in violation of law;

c. Has been abandoned by the child's parents, guardian, or other custodian;

d. Is without proper parental care, control, or education as required by law, or other care and control necessary for the child's well-being because of the physical, mental, emotional, or other illness or disability of the child's parent or parents, and that such lack of care is not due to a willful act of commission or act of omission by the child's parents, and care is requested by a parent;

e. Is in need of treatment and whose parents, guardian, or other custodian have refused to participate in treatment as ordered by the juvenile court;

f. Was subject to prenatal exposure to chronic or severe use of alcohol or any controlled substance as defined in chapter 19-03.1 in a manner not lawfully prescribed by a practitioner;

g. Is present in an environment subjecting the child to exposure to a controlled substance, chemical substance, or drug paraphernalia as prohibited by section 19-03.1-22.2; or

h. Is a victim of human trafficking as defined in title 12.1.

9. “Detention” means a physically secure facility with locked doors and does not include shelter care, attendant care, or home detention.

10. “Director” means the director of juvenile court or the director's designee.

11. “Fit and willing relative or other appropriate individual” means a relative or other individual who has been determined, after consideration of an assessment that includes a criminal history record investigation under chapter 50-11.3, to be a qualified person under chapter 30.1-27, and who consents in writing to act as a legal guardian.

12. “Home” when used in the phrase “to return home” means the abode of the child's parent with whom the child formerly resided.

13. “Juvenile court” means the district court of this state.

14. “Juvenile drug court” means a program established in a judicial district consisting of intervention and assessment of juveniles involved in forms of substance abuse; frequent drug testing; intense judicial and probation supervision; individual, group, and family counseling; substance abuse treatment; educational opportunities; and use of sanctions and incentives.

15. “Permanency hearing” means a hearing, conducted with respect to a child who is in foster care, to determine the permanency plan for the child which includes:

a. Whether and, if applicable, when the child will be returned to the parent;

b. Whether and, if applicable, when the child will be placed for adoption and the state will file a petition for termination of parental rights;

c. Whether and, if applicable, when a fit and willing relative or other appropriate individual will be appointed as a legal guardian;

d. Whether and, if applicable, to place siblings in the same foster care, relative, guardianship, or adoptive placement, unless it is determined that the joint placement would be contrary to the safety or well-being of any of the siblings;

e. Whether and, if applicable, in the case of siblings removed from their home who are not jointly placed, to provide for frequent visitation or other ongoing interaction between the siblings, unless it is determined to be contrary to the safety or well-being of any of the siblings;

f. In cases in which a compelling reason has been shown that it would not be in the child's best interests to return home, to have parental rights terminated, to be placed for adoption, to be placed with a fit and willing relative, or to be placed with a legal guardian, whether and, if applicable, when the child, aged sixteen or older, will be placed in another planned permanent living arrangement. The court shall:

(1) Ask the child whether the child has a desired permanency outcome of another planned permanent living arrangement.

(2) Make a judicial determination explaining why another planned permanent living arrangement is the best permanency plan for the child, and

(3) Identify the compelling reasons it continues not to be in the best interest of the child to return home, be placed for adoption, be placed with a legal guardian, or be placed with a fit and willing relative;

g. In the case of a child who has been placed in foster care outside the state in which the home of the parents is located, or if the parents maintain separate homes, outside the state in which the home of the parent who was the child's primary caregiver is located, whether out-of-state placements have been considered. If the child is currently in an out-of-state placement, the court shall determine whether the placement continues to be appropriate and in the child's best interests; and

h. In the case of a child who has attained age sixteen, the services needed to assist the child to make the transition from foster care to independent living.

16. “Protective supervision” means supervision ordered by the court of children found to be deprived or unruly.

17. “Relative” means:

a. The child's grandparent, great-grandparent, sibling, half-sibling, aunt, great-aunt, uncle, great-uncle, nephew, niece, or first cousin;

b. An individual with a relationship to the child, derived through a current or former spouse of the child's parent, similar to a relationship described in subdivision a;

c. An individual recognized in the child's community as having a relationship with the child similar to a relationship described in subdivision a; or

d. The child's stepparent.

18. “Shelter care” means temporary care of a child in physically unrestricted facilities.

19. “Unruly child” means a child who:

a. Is habitually and without justification truant from school;

b. Is habitually disobedient of the reasonable and lawful commands of the child's parent, guardian, or other custodian and is ungovernable or who is willfully in a situation dangerous or injurious to the health, safety, or morals of the child or others;

c. Has committed an offense applicable only to a child, except for an offense committed by a minor fourteen years of age or older under subsection 2 of section 12.1-31-03 or an equivalent local ordinance or resolution;

d. Has committed an offense in violation of section 5-01-08; or

e. Is under the age of fourteen years and has purchased, possessed, smoked, or used tobacco, tobacco-related products, electronic smoking devices, or alternative nicotine products in violation of subsection 2 of section 12.1-31-03; and

f. In any of the foregoing instances is in need of treatment or rehabilitation.

g. As used in this subsection, “electronic smoking devices” and “alternative nicotine products” have the same meaning as in section 12.1-31-03.

20. “Willfully” has the meaning provided in section 12.1-02-02.

S.L. 1969, ch. 289, § 1; S.L. 1971, ch. 306, § 1; S.L. 1971, ch. 307, § 1; S.L. 1973, ch. 120, § 26; S.L. 1975, ch. 280, § 1; S.L. 1977, ch. 270, §§ 1, 2; S.L. 1981, ch. 326, § 1; S.L. 1983, ch. 82, § 59; S.L. 1985, ch. 343, § 1; S.L. 1987, ch. 380, § 1; S.L. 1987, ch. 381, § 1; S.L. 1989, ch. 384, § 1; S.L. 1995, ch. 124, § 8; S.L. 1995, ch. 299, § 1; S.L. 1999, ch. 282, § 3; S.L. 2001, ch. 55, § 9; S.L. 2001, ch. 136, § 2; S.L. 2001, ch. 288, § 1; S.L. 2003, ch. 106, § 3; S.L. 2007, ch. 274, § 3, eff. Aug. 1, 2007; S.L. 2009, ch. 267, § 1, eff. Aug. 1, 2009; S.L. 2015, ch. 111, § 4, eff. Aug. 1, 2015; S.L. 2015, ch. 112, § 2, eff. Aug. 1, 2015; S.L. 2015, ch. 127, § 4, eff. Aug. 1, 2015; S.L. 2015, ch. 229, § 1, eff. Aug. 1, 2015.