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FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)

How do I seal my records?
Who is authorized to check my records?
How do I get a marriage consent?
How do I apply for stepparent adoption?
What are Juvenile Hall Visiting Hours?
Can I bring food during Juvenile Hall Visiting Hours?
What should I do if I get cited by the Police?
When can I see my son/daughter?
How do I get to Youth Guidance Center?
Are there religious services at Juvenile Hall?
Do I need to show up to court with my child?
Where Can I Park?
Does my child get a lawyer?
How much does it cost to seal a record?
Does my child have to go to court?
Is there a school on site?

Q. How do I seal my records?
A.
An applicant may come in person or phone in. Each application must be signed. A Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) abstract must accompany the application. The application must state that he or she graduated from high school, or obtain a GED, passed the high school proficiency exam, or is going to night school. He or she must be employed to demonstrate rehabilitation.

The sealing process takes about 6 months to complete. A "final letter" is sent to the applicant when all affidavits are returned to Special Services. A Sealing Calendar is held every two months: February, May, July, October, and December. If the application is denied by the deputy or the Court, a letter is sent to the applicant with an explanation. A letter is sent to the applicant if there is no record to seal.

Q. Who is authorized to check my records?
A.
The Marines, Army, Navy, and Air Force have been instructed to request a record check via fax, along with the applicant’s consent. The Job Corps (mainly San Francisco, Santa Clara, and Sacramento) mail their requests to Special Services. The probation/parole departments can also request a record check.

Q. How do I get a marriage consent?
A.
Minors under age of 18 must be interviewed by a deputy in the Special Services Unit. The juvenile court judge must sign consent, along with the minor’s parent. An interview is conducted with the minor, parent, and fiancée. A record check with San Francisco Police Department (SFPD) and California Law Enforcement Telecommunications Computer Systems (CLETS) is made by the deputy on the fiancée.

Generally, if a minor is 15 year old, the juvenile court judge and deputy will not give consent. He/she should be referred to Reno, Nevada if they still want to get married. These are some of the reason why a deputy will not approve of a marriage; the fiancée does not have a job; the fiancée is on adult/juvenile probation; the fiancée is incarcerated; or the minor is still on probation (does not demonstrate rehabilitation).

Q. How do I Apply for stepparent adoption?
A.
A dependency petition is filed by a deputy clerk and mailed to Special Services from 400 McAllister Street, San Francisco. The stepparent must fill out the following documents: family questionnaire, financial statement, face sheet, and provide three names for character references.

The natural parent must provide consent. Otherwise, his/her parental rights must be terminated by the Court. A stepparent fee is $200.00. The fee may be waived if the stepparent cannot afford it.

A record check with San Francisco Police Department (SFPD) and California Law Enforcement Telecommunications Computer Systems (CLETS) is made by the deputy. The Department of Human Services (formerly Department of Social Services) must be contacted to see if the minor and or family has been referred for suspected physical/sexual abuse and or neglect.

A home visit is conducted by the deputy. The parent who has legal and physical custody must sign consent in the presence of the deputy. A social report is prepared by the deputy. It is filed with the Family Law, located on the first floor at 400 McAllister Street, San Francisco. The whole process takes about 6 months to complete.

Q. What are Juvenile Hall Visiting Hours?
A.
We encourage parents or legal guardians to visit. They should obtain a "visiting permit" from the probation officer before visiting. The visiting hours are 4:30 PM to 5:15 PM Sunday through Friday and 1:00 PM to 3:00 PM Saturday. Late night visitings are Monday through Thursday. Late night visiting will be approved by the Assistant Director or Director when requested by the Probation Officer for parents who cannot visit during regular hours. Visiting is permitted for 30 minutes between 6:30 PM and 8:30 PM, Monday through Thursday.

Sunday through Friday, visitors must be at the visitor's door no later than 4:45 PM. Saturday visitors must be at the visitor's door no later than 2:30 PM. Other family members may visit after obtaining special written permission from the probation officer and the Assistant Director or Director of Juvenile Hall.

Each visitor must present a photo identification with a visiting permit prior to entering the facility. Purses or bags are not allowed into the facility. Any purses or bags brought in will be kept in the visitor's area until the end of the visit. Juvenile Hall will not accept responsibility for lost or stolen articles of visitors. A metal detector is used to screen visitors. Juvenile Hall supervisors use independent judgement in refusing a visitor entry to the facility for specific reasons (e.g., if the supervisor believes the visitor may be under the influence of drugs or alcohol or may be carrying contraband).

Q. Can I bring food during Juvenile Hall Visiting Hours?
A.
Snacks are permitted on Saturday. Only sealed packaged, grocery store foods are allowed during Saturday visits. These include cookies, candies, cheese-crackers packages and varieties of chips. Soft drinks are permitted only if they are in plastic or cardboard containers. Snacks brought for Saturday visiting must be eaten during the visit.

Foods that visitors are never allowed to give residents include: lunch meats, burritos, bread, hamburgers, homemade sandwiches, or any homemade food. Soft drinks in metal or glass containers are not permitted.

Visitors are not allowed to bring contraband into Juvenile Hal. The following materials listed are considered contraband:

  1. Cigarettes or tobacco in any form.
  2. Prescription or illegal drugs.
  3. Matches or lighter.
  4. Money.
  5. Food: Fruit, chewing gum, ice cream, milk shakes, soft drinks in cans or glass bottle, hot, cooked or prepared foods, etc.
  6. Magazines, comic books, newspapers must approved by a senior counselor or supervisor

Q. What Should I do if I get cited by the Police?
A.
If you are cited by the San Francisco Police Department, you will be required to appear at the San Francisco Juvenile Probation Department, which is located at 375 Woodside Avenue.

You must be accompanied by a parent or responsible adult. It is not necessary to have an attorney present. Before an interview is conducted by a deputy probation officer, your rights will be read to you.

What are the options does a deputy probation officer have after the interview? Depending on the nature of the offense, the deputy may refer you to attend the THEFT AWARENESS PROGRAM, which is held on the University of San Francisco campus on a Saturday. This is a one day class which requires a $30.00 fee. After you complete the class, you will receive a certificate. The deputy assigned to your case will "close" your case and no further action will be taken.

Another option that a deputy has is to refer you to attend STREET LAW, which is an 8 weeks class held on the University of San Francisco campus. It is a free class. You will receive a certificate after you complete the class.

Another option a deputy has especially if you were cited for battery is to attend a one day class, COPS, held at the YGC cafeteria on a Saturday. It requires a $30.00 fee.

If you were cited for graffiti, possession of marijuana, or being in possession of alcohol, you will be referred to Traffic Court. You may be fined; have your driving privilege suspended, or require to do community service.

A deputy may require you to do community service at YGC on Saturdays.

If you are not doing well in school and your parents want the assistance of the Probation Department, you may be placed on voluntary probation not to exceed six months. Counseling will be mandated.

A deputy may require you to pay restitution to the victim.

A deputy may refer you to a community based agency for counseling.

Or, a formal petition may be filed after it is reviewed by a deputy district attorney. If this happens and the petition is sustained, you may be court-ordered to be placed on 6 months probation or placed on formal probation in your parent’s or relative’s home, along with special conditions of probation. It may include community service, a restitution fine, counseling, and out of pocket expenses to the victim(s). Attending school is mandatory. Curfew may be imposed.

These are some of the options that a deputy probation officer will consider when you meet him or her after receiving a citation.

Q. When can I see my son/daughter?
A.
You can see your son/daughter anytime within the first twenty-four hours. Thereafter, you will have to visit during visiting hours which are 4:30PM – 5:15PM, Sunday – Friday, and 1:00PM – 3:00PM, Saturdays.

Q. How do I get to Youth Guidance Center?
A.
Take BART, get off at Glen Park Station. Go across the street and stand in front of the CalFed Bank and catch the 44 or 52 Bus. The bus stops in front.

Q. Are there religious services at Juvenile Hall?
A.
Yes. There are Catholic and Protestant services held each Sunday. Also, available is a full-time Chaplain.

Q. Do I need to show up to court with my child?
A.
Yes, its the parents discretion. What if I can’t understand English? We have court appointed translators and bilingual Deputy Probation Officers and an AT&T conference call line for all languages and dialect.

Q. Where Can I Park?
A.
Street parking is available as well as spaces in the parking lot to the right of the building.

Q. Does My Child Get a Lawyer?
A.
If a petition is filed and your child goes to court, he/she will need a lawyer and if you cannot afford one, a public defender will represent your child.

Q. How much does it cost to seal a record?
A.
The Probation Department will seal a record for free; however, attorney fees varies. Can my child’s record be sealed prior to age 18? No. The system is set up so that at age 18, he/she can petition the court to seal their record.

Q. Does my child have to go to court?
A.
First the Deputy Probation Officers investigate and then refers the matter to the District Attorney if applicable. The District Attorney makes the decision to press charges. If the minor is being charged with law violations, yes, your child does have to go to the court. How does an investigation process go? The Deputy Probation Officer assigned to the case investigates by utilizing some of the following methods: contacting the victim (if applicable), reads Police Reports, interviews the minor, school officials, parents, etc. When is my child getting out? For misdemeanor charges, within 24 hours, the Deputy Probation Officer will investigate, interview and determine whether your child will be released or detained throughout the court process. For felony charges, within 48 hours, the above applies.

Q. Is there a school on site?
A.
Yes. While detained your son/daughter will received educational services from the San Francisco Unified School District.

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