Juvenile Fee Abolition in California

In October 2017, Governor Jerry Brown signed landmark bipartisan legislation making California the first state to abolish fees in the juvenile legal system.

Starting January 1, 2018, Senate Bill 190 (SB 190) prohibits counties from charging fees to parents and guardians for their children’s detention, representation by counsel, electronic monitoring, probation supervision, and drug testing in the juvenile system.

In our 2019 report, we present key findings regarding the implementation of SB 190 and the status of juvenile fee reform in California. Some highlights include:

  • In compliance with SB 190, all 58 counties stopped assessing new juvenile fees against families before January 1, 2018.
  • Most counties (36 of 58) have voluntarily stopped collecting juvenile fees assessed against families prior to January 1, 2018, relieving families of $237,582,333.
  • Some counties (22 of 58) continue to collect juvenile fees assessed against families prior to January 1, 2018 totaling $136,770,661.
  • Five counties—San Diego, Orange, Riverside, Tulare, and Stanislaus—are pursuing more than 95% of the fees still being collected from California families.

In spring 2020, additional counties, including San Diego, Riverside, and Stanislaus, ended collection and discharged fees; as of May 2020, 18 counties are continuing to collect approximately $44 million from vulnerable families.

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 (updated in 2020 as additional counties have ended collection).

Senate Bill 1290, which is pending before the California Legislature, will end all further collection and discharge all outstanding fees.

In 2018, California abolished new juvenile fees. Which counties are still collecting old fees?


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