Juvenile Assessment Center (JAC) in Tampa

After a child is arrested for a delinquent act, the child is first taken to the Juvenile Assessment Center (JAC) located at 8605 N Branch Ave, Tampa, FL 33604. The JAC in Tampa, FL, is a booking and assessment center for children under 18 years old who are accused of a crime.

As a processing facility, the JAC works with other agencies including:

  • the State Attorney’s Office;
  • the Department of Juvenile Justice (DJJ);
  • the School Police Youth Court; and
  • the Intensive Delinquency Diversion Services.

These agencies work together to recommend and provide services and sanctions for juveniles accused of committing a delinquent act violating state law.

The DJJ determines whether the juvenile goes home to his parents or remains in custody.  During this screening process, the DJJ can make a referral on-site if the juvenile has a drug, alcohol, or mental health problem.

If the juvenile remains in custody, he will be transferred to the Hillsborough County Juvenile Detention Center at 3948 W Dr Martin Luther King Jr Blvd, Tampa, FL 33614.

Click here to find information on juvenile detention in Hillsborough County.

Juvenile Defense Attorneys in Tampa, FL

If your child was accused of a crime, don’t just wait for the State Attorney’s Office to make a filing decision.

Instead, you should take a proactive approach by retaining a juvenile defense attorney to represent your child during each phase of the case.

A juvenile defense attorney in Tampa, FL, can contact the Juvenile Assessment Center to ensure they have all of the most favorable information that might persuade them to recommend the best possible resolution.

Additionally, your juvenile defense attorney can contact the prosecutors in the juvenile justice division of the State Attorney’s Office before they make a decision.

The prosecutor often decides what charges to file without knowing the exculpatory and favorable information.

Call us at 813-250-0500 to schedule a free and confidential consultation.

The Letter from the JAC in Tampa, FL

After a juvenile is accused, the parents might receive a letter from the Juvenile Assessment Center (JAC).

The letter says that JAC received a Criminal Report Affidavit alleging the juvenile has committed a criminal offense.

If the records indicate this is either a first offense for the child, or the child meets preliminary diversion eligibility criteria, the JAC will decide whether to make a diversion “recommendation” to the State Attorney’s Office in the Thirteenth Judicial Circuit in Hillsborough County, FL.

Even if JAC recommends diversion, many parents are shocked when the State Attorney’s Office ignores this recommendation.

The State Attorney’s Office might refer the case to the Juvenile Division of the Circuit Court for prosecution in a courtroom before a judge. If the case is referred for prosecution, you will receive a summons to appear in court for the arraignment in juvenile court in Tampa, FL.

While this decision is being made, it is important to hire a criminal defense attorney who can advocate for your child and present all of the reasons why the prosecutor should offer the most favorable outcome.

Sometimes, the JAC will conduct a preliminary screening for drug or alcohol use when the youth is presented on drug charges.

The letter might explain that JAC recommends that the child be evaluated immediately.

The letter invites the parents to bring the child to the Juvenile Addictions Receiving Facility, 8620 N. Dixon Avenue, Tampa, FL, 33604, where the child will be evaluated on an in-patient basis for one to three days.

The letter also explains that according to the Marchman Act (Florida Statute 397), a parent has a right to directly admit their child to an addiction-receiving facility for a substance abuse assessment, with or without their consent, based on this recommendation.

Case Management Services for Juveniles at JAC in Tampa, FL

The case management services for juveniles at JAC in Tampa, FL, is a program specifically for youth that are first-time offenders.

As first-time offenders, these children are eligible to be diverted from the Juvenile Court System.

ACTS in Tampa, FL, provides case management services, including intake and direct referrals, until the youth completes the referred program.

Prevention services are provided to youth who present for JAC services in Tampa, FL.

During their detention, the child will watch a video targeted at substance abuse prevention.

The child is allowed to discuss the film with a trained staff member. The youth are asked to complete a satisfaction survey.

Additional Resources

Juvenile Assessment Centers in Florida – Visit the website of the Florida Department of Juvenile Justice to learn more about the juvenile assessment centers in Florida. Find information about the juvenile assessment center, listed by circuit, counties served, entity, address, and phone number. For Hillsborough County, the JAC contact information includes:

Juvenile Assessment Center for the Thirteenth Judicial Circuit
Agency for Community Treatment Services (ACTS)
8605 North Branch Avenue
Tampa, FL 33604
Phone: (813) 936-9099

This article was last updated on Friday, March 17, 2023.