Resolution Addressing Fines, Fees, and Costs in Juvenile Courts

March 2018
By the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges

The National Association of Juvenile and Family Court Judges encourages courts to work toward reducing and eliminating fines, fees, and costs by considering a youth and their family’s ability to pay prior to imposing such financial obligations. It encourages courts to presume youth indigent when making decisions regarding the imposition of fines, fees, and costs if the youth was previously determined indigent for the purpose of securing attorney representation. It recommends that no court should detain or order youth to out-of-home placement or extend community supervision solely because of lack of payment of fines, fees, or costs. It recognizes that fines, fees, and costs may have a disproportionate impact on poor communities and Black, Brown, and Indigenous communities  and supports the adoption of court policies and practices that promote fairness and equal treatment for all youth and their families. It recommends that juvenile and family courts collect detailed data on the imposition and collection of fines, fees, and costs; study their effects on youth, families, and courts; and demonstrate transparency by making data publicly available.