Hennepin Juvenile Court

Hennepin County District Court »

Juvenile Court handles matters involving children under 18 years of age. Case types include adoption, child protection, and delinquency.

Quick Links:

  • Effective July 1, 2015, use of eFile & eServe is mandatory for all attorneys, government agencies, and guardians ad litem who file documents in Juvenile Court.
  • April 12, 2012 - Juvenile Court released its 2011 Report Card to the Community. The Report Card provides information to the public public on how the court met its objectives.
  • June 24, 2009 - The Juvenile Detention Alternatives Initiative (a four year project) achieved its goal. Beginning in 2005, the Courts, County Attorney's Office, Minneapolis Police, the city and schools colloborated to reduce the number of youth held in secure detention and to eliminate the racial disparities in juvenile justice while holding young people accountable for their behavior. Learn more about JDAI »
Most Juvenile Court cases are closed to the public, and you generally must get permission from the presiding judge to view or get copies of documents from a Juvenile Court file.

Juvenile delinquency, child protection, truancy, runaway, and adoption records are available upon written request. There is a fee of $10 for plain copies of each document and $16 for certified copies of each document. (See the list of fees for Hennepin County courts.) To request copies of adoption records, download and complete an Affidavit for Adoption Access form. To request documents other than adoption records, please download and complete an Affidavit for Access to Juvenile Court Files form. Then mail or drop off your request form to:

4th District Juvenile Court
Hennepin Co. Juvenile Justice Center
Records Request - 1st Floor
590 Park Avenue
Minneapolis, MN 55415

NOTE: Please allow up to one week to process a request to access a Juvenile Court file and two weeks to process a request to access an adoption file (requests are not granted the same day.)
A party can ask the court to expunge (seal) a juvenile delinquency case by filing a petition based on Minn. Stat. § 260B.198, subd. 6. If a judge grants the expungement, the case cannot be accessed or viewed by anyone other than criminal justice agencies under court order.

To file an expungement petition, you must first get the expungement forms packet. Expungement forms packets are available for free on the Hennepin County District Court webpage or at the Hennepin County Juvenile Court records window for $10. The forms require you to provide information regarding your juvenile case history and adult criminal case history from Minnesota and any other State. The Self Help Center in the Hennepin County Government Center can answer questions on how to fill out the paperwork and what to do after you get a hearing date from Juvenile court, including which agencies must be served with the petition.

NOTE: It usually takes several hours to fill out all of the required paperwork, so please make sure you allow yourself enough time.

For more information, also read the Youth Guide to Expungement (Children's Law Center).
Q. How long do I need to plan to be down at the courthouse?
A. Please allow 4 to 6 hours for the entire process. Check in at the front counter.

Q. I am a parent. Do I need to appear in court with my child?
A. It is highly recommended that a parent attend their child's court appearance.

Q. Does my child need to have an attorney?
A. Your child has the right to have an attorney represent them. A court appointed attorney will be provided if the level of offense is a misdemeanor or higher, and if you qualify under the poverty guidelines.

Traffic matters and petty misdemeanors are not given a court appointed attorney.

Q. My child received a traffic ticket, what do we do?
A. You will receive a letter from Hennepin County Juvenile Court, including instructions, on what to do regarding the ticket in about 4-8 weeks after receiving the ticket. If you do not receive a letter from juvenile court within that time, please call (612) 348-4822 to make sure the address on file is correct.

Q. Can I have access to my adoption records?
A. A court order is needed to access any adoption records. In order to receive access to an adoption record, you will need to complete an Affidavit for Adoption Access form and either mail or drop off the form at the records window at the Hennepin County Juvenile Justice Center.

Q. I want to be emancipated, what do I do?
A. Emancipation means that a minor has the same legal rights and obligations as an 18-year-old adult. The Minnesota Statutes do not provide either the grounds or a procedure for emancipation. Minnesota case law has established that a minor can be emancipated by a legal marriage or by parental consent. 

Q. I have an active warrant for my arrest, what do I do?
A. Contact the Juvenile Detention Center or Juvenile Court in person to set up a new court date.
Photo of the Juvenile Justice Center in Minneapolis

4th District Juvenile Court

Juvenile Justice Center (JJC)
590 Park Avenue, Rm. #100
Minneapolis, MN 55415 Map
Phone: (612) 348-4822
Fax: (612) 317-6117
Email us

8:00 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.
Monday - Friday
Closed holidays

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Juvenile Court handles matters involving children under the age of eighteen (18). Cases are categorized as either a delinquency or a child protection matter. Adoption cases are also under Juvenile Court jurisdiction.
  • In delinquency cases, the child is alleged to have committed a violation of Minnesota law ranging from staying out past curfew to the most serious charge of murder.
  • In child protection cases, the child's parents are alleged to have created a condition that places the child's health and welfare at risk of harm. In both areas, the focus of a court case is to provide supervision over services for the child either to return the child to law-abiding behavior or to correct the condition that places the child's health and welfare in danger.
  • There are six basic types of adoptions that can be filed depending on the specific situation of those filing the adoption.
Most Juvenile Court delinquency matters are not open to the public, with the exception of serious crimes committed by children over the age of 16. Child protection matters are open to the public, with the exception of truancy cases as well as any specific case that is closed by court order. Adoption cases are always closed to the public.

Along with judicial efforts, Juvenile Court judges and staff work with other government agencies and community organizations to develop and refine programs that help to ensure a safe and healthy environment for juveniles.

Annie E. Casey Foundation & Juvenile Detention Alternatives Initiative (JDAI)

Since 2005, the courts, County Attorney's Office, Minneapolis Police, the city, and schools began a collaboration to reduce the number of youth held in secure detention and to eliminate the racial disparities in juvenile justice, while holding young people accountable for their behavior.  Learn more.

The Annie E. Casey Foundation (AECF) is presently working with the counties of Hennepin, Ramsey, and Dakota to develop Juvenile Detention Alternatives Initiatives (JDAIs), which will be patterned after successful projects in several “model jurisdictions” elsewhere in the country. Though the grant is for three years, many other jurisdictions are continuing to work and re-evaluate 5–10 years after they’ve begun. Participating stakeholders include police, corrections including detention, juvenile court, county attorney, public defenders, schools, elected officials, community representatives, and others. Specific goals for Hennepin County are to reduce the overcrowding in detention and improve the conditions of confinement by insuring that only those youth that are a threat to the public or at risk to fail to appear are held, and to reduce the racial disparity that exists in the system.

Since 1948, the AECF has worked to build better futures for disadvantaged children and their families in the United States. The primary mission of the Foundation is to foster public policies, human service reforms, and community supports that more effectively meet the needs of today's vulnerable children and families. In pursuit of this goal, the Foundation makes grants that help states, cities, and neighborhoods fashion more innovative, cost-effective responses to these needs.

To demonstrate that jurisdictions can establish more effective and efficient systems to accomplish the purposes of juvenile detention, the Foundation established the Juvenile Detention Alternatives Initiative (JDAI) in 1992. The objectives of JDAI are to reduce the number of children unnecessarily or inappropriately detained; to minimize the number of youth who fail to appear in court or re-offend pending adjudication; to redirect public funds toward successful reform strategies; and to improve conditions of confinement and to reduce the racial disparity in the system.

JDAI focuses on the detention phase of the juvenile justice process prior to trial or pending placement to a juvenile corrections program. Between 1985 and 2001, the number of youth held in detention centers nightly nationwide nearly doubled to 27,000. Yet, less than one-third of detained youth are charged with violent crimes, and an alarming 62 percent are minorities. The AECF also addresses the subject of disproportionate minority contact (DMC) through its DMC initiatives.

In 1992, the AECF selected five jurisdictions as JDAI demonstration sites. Three—Cook County (Chicago), Illinois; Multnomah County (Portland), Oregon; and Sacramento County, California—implemented comprehensive detention reform initiatives. Each developed screening processes to ensure that only high-risk teens were held in detention, launched alternative programs to supervise youth in the community, and improved case processing to reduce lengths of stay for those placed in locked detention. JDAI emphasizes collaboration and data-driven decision making. Examples of results include:
  • Cook County reduced its average daily population in locked detention from 693 to 454 between 1996 and 2003;
  • Multnomah County lowered the daily detention population by 65 percent and eliminated racial disparities in their detention population; savings were used to increase drug abuse and mental health treatment for troubled youth; and
  • Overall, the programs have been proven to reduce juvenile offender recidivism.
Since 1992, over sixty jurisdictions nationwide have benefited from similar reform initiatives.

Coddy Harris of Hennepin County is the site coordinator and also the chair for the Detention Reform Steering Committee, which meets monthly. During the initial phase, an AECF representative conducted a site systems assessment of existing Hennepin County procedures. They documented the process flow to understand case management procedures in Hennepin County and will be providing the committee with a written report.

Progress on JDAI is part of the strategic plan for Hennepin County District Court in the Juvenile Division. Plans for implementation include work on a risk assessment instrument, improving case processing, and enhancing community alternatives to detention.