Juvenile Fee Abolition in California

In 2020, Governor Gavin Newsom signed landmark bipartisan legislation abolishing fees in the juvenile legal system.

Starting January 1, 2021, Senate Bill 1290 (1290) prohibits counties from collecting fees assessed to parents and guardians for their children’s detention, representation by counsel, electronic monitoring, probation, supervision, and drug testing in the juvenile system. The bill also discharges all outstanding juvenile fees.

SB 1290 is follow-up legislation to Senate Bill 190 (SB 190) which prohibits counties from charging juvenile fees to parents and guardians. 

In our 2017 report, we documented the harmful, costly, and unlawful practice of charging juvenile fees to youth and families across California.

In our subsequent 2019 report, we presented key findings regarding the implementation of SB 190. Some highlights, updated with numbers through July 14, 2020, include:

  • All 58 counties stopped charging new juvenile fees before January 1, 2018.
  • 43 counties have voluntarily stopped collecting juvenile fees charged to families prior to January 1, 2018, relieving families of more than $346 million.
  • 15 counties continue to collect juvenile fees charged to families prior to January 1, 2018 totaling almost $15 million.
  • Of the remaining counties, Tulare is pursuing the largest dollar amount of fees from California families, more than $11 million.

See the interactive chart below for details about juvenile fee collection in each county, including the county’s collection status, the dollar amounts relieved or still under active collection, and the associated number of accounts.

In 2018, California abolished new juvenile fees. In 2021, all outstanding debt will be declared uncollectible and discharged. Which counties are still collecting old fees as of July 2020?


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