Youth Court

The Youth Court is a division of the County Court and is responsible for handling cases involving persons under the age of 18 who fall under the following categories:
  • Delinquent Child
  • Child in Need of Supervision
  • Abused child
  • Neglected child
Youth Court has exclusive jurisdiction involving persons under the age of 18 and hears the following type cases:
  • Hearings when a child commits a delinquent act – an act that would carry criminal punishments if committed by an adult;
  • Hearings when a child has been abused or neglected – whether it be physical, mental or sexual abuse/neglect;
  • Hearings when a child is unruly or in need of supervision and is a dependent child;
  • Involuntary committals of children in need of special care or mental treatment. Youth Court may also hear cases to terminate parental rights when parent(s) have failed or neglected certain key duties to the child or children

Youth Court Information

Youth Court Judge:
Honorable C. Kent Haney

Court Reporter and Court Administrator:
Rhodes Shaffett

Data Entry Clerk
Perian Stribling

Truancy Officer
Sheila Ranson
(662) 624-3010

Youth Court Address:
63 Sunflower Ave.
Clarksdale, MS  38614

Youth Court Phone Number: 

MS Department of Youth Services
Youth Court Counselor/ Probation Officer:
Perian Stribling

MS Department of Child Protective Services Area Director: Laquira Hill

MS Department of Child Protective Services Coahoma County Address: 
923 Ohio Ave.
Clarksdale, MS  38614

Youth Court Mission Statement

The Youth Court was created

  1. to prevent and reduce youth delinquency and incorrigible behavior (CHINS) through intake assessment, counseling, court, probation, detention services and

  2. to provide safety, security, welfare and protection for abused and neglected children with advocacy for a safe, permanent and nurturing home environment. These endeavors are in an effort to provide balanced attention to protecting the community from delinquency, accountability for offenses committed and development and protection of our youth’s physical, mental and moral development to become productive, responsible citizens.

Youth Court Terms & Definitions

Child in Need of Supervision

A child who has reached his seventh birthday and is in need of treatment or rehabilitation because the child:

  • is habitually disobedient of reasonable and lawful commands of his parent, guardian or custodian and is ungovernable; or
  • While being required to attend school, willfully and habitually violates the rules thereof or willfully and habitually absents himself therefrom; or
  • Runs away from home without good cause; or
  • Has committed a delinquent act or acts.

Abused Child

A child whose parent, guardian or custodian or any person responsible for his care or support, whether legally obligated to do so or not, has caused or allowed to be caused upon said child sexual abuse, sexual exploitation, emotional abuse, mental injury, non-accidental physical injury or other maltreatment. Provided, however, that physical discipline, including spanking, performed on a child by a parent, guardian or custodian in a reasonable manner shall not be deemed abuse under this section.

Sexual Abuse

Obscene or pornographic photographing, filming or depiction of children for commercial purposes, or the rape, molestation, incest, prostitution or other such forms of sexual exploitation of children under circumstances which indicate that the child’s health or welfare is harmed or threatened.  

Neglected Child

  • A child whose parent, guardian or custodian or any person responsible for his care or support, neglects or refuses, when able so to do, to provide for him proper and necessary care or support, or education as required by law, or medical, surgical, or other care necessary for his well-being; provided, however, a parent who withholds medical treatment from any child who in good faith is under treatment by spiritual means alone through prayer in accordance with the tenets and practices of a recognized church or religious denomination by a duly accredited practitioner thereof shall not, for that reason alone, be considered to be neglectful under any provision of this chapter; or 
  • A child who is otherwise without proper care, custody, supervision or support; or
  • A child who, for any reason, lacks the special care made necessary for him by reason of his mental condition, whether said mental condition be mentally retarded or mentally ill; or
  • A child who, for any reason, lacks the care necessary for his health, morals or well-being.

Types of Hearings

Types of Hearings for abuse and neglect cases:

Shelter Hearing:
  • Within 48 hours after your child has been removed from your home or a complaint has been made, you will be ordered to appear for a shelter hearing.
  • A representative from the Department of Human Services will discuss the conditions of your home and your family situation with the court. A child advocate, witnesses and attorneys may also be present at the hearing.
  • The Court will appoint a guardian ad litem (representative of the child) and perhaps a CASA worker (which stands for “court appointed special advocate”). The guardian ad litem and CASA worker will investigate the facts and the circumstances of the case and make sure the best interest of your child is met.
  • You will be given the opportunity to tell the court why the child should go home with you; however, the court may decide that your child will not go home with you at this time. In this case, you should work with the court and your social worker toward that goal.
Adjudicatory Hearing:
  • The Adjudicatory hearing will be scheduled within 90 days from the date of your petition.
  • The facts of your case will be examined by the court to determine if evidence proves that your child is actually being abused or neglected.
  • The State will call witnesses and you or your lawyer will be able to call witnesses. The court will determine whether your child has been abused or neglected.
Dispositional Hearing:
  • The dispositional hearing usually occurs on the same day as the adjudicatory hearing, but you have the right to have this hearing at a later date if you think it best.
  • At this hearing, it is the court’s job to insure that your child will not become abused or neglected again.
  • You may get an order from the judge requiring you to attend parenting classes, counseling or substance abuse treatment if needed.
  • The court may give custody to someone else if it determines that is in the best interest of your child.
  • You must follow the orders if you want to be reunited with your child. If you fail to follow the court orders, you may face some serious consequences.
Review Hearing:
  • At the review hearing, the judge checks to see if you have followed all of the court’s orders.
  • This hearing usually takes place within a year after the dispositional hearing. The span of time between the dispositional and review hearings is designed to give you a chance to complete the requirements ordered to you by the court.


Types of Hearings for delinquent and child in need of supervision cases:

Detention Hearing:
  • Prior to the detention hearing, your child may have been arrested or held in custody.
  • At the detention hearing, the court is not looking at the facts of the case.
  • The court will not determine at this time whether or not your child committed the delinquent act, but is instead will be looking at whether your child would be a risk to themselves or someone else if they were released.
  • If your child can be released, the court needs to determine which responsible adult will be supervising the child to insure the safety of the child and the community.
  • If the child is released, they must follow the orders of the Court. If they disobey the court and get into trouble again, the child may not be released for a second time.
Adjudicatory Hearing:
  • The court will look at the facts and evidence to determine whether your child committed the delinquent act.
  • The State will call witnesses.
  • The child and their attorney also have the right to call witnesses and ask questions of the witnesses produced by the State.
  • Your child has the right to tell their side of the story if they want to, but they do not have to testify if they do not want to.
Dispositional Hearing:
  • The dispositional hearing may immediately follow the adjudicatory hearing or may be at a later date.
  • The Court will make a disposition to insure that your child will not commit such an act again.
  • Depending upon the circumstances, the court can put the child on probation, send the child to training school, or impose other appropriate measures.