b'Washington County Attorneys Office2019 Annual Report JuvenileDivisionJuvenile prosecution involves both holding juveniles accountable for behavior and providing opportunities for future growth. Juvenile Division Chief Tony ZdroikThe juvenile division, led by division chief Tony Zdroik prosecutes all juvenile delinquency cases filedinWashingtonCountyCourt.Thejuveniledivisionseekstopromotepublicsafetythroughthe prosecutionofjuvenilecrimeswhiletakingintoconsiderationthespecialcircumstancesofjuvenile offenders. The juvenile division also provides legal representation to Washington County Community Services on child protection matters that involve Washington County children who have been abused or neglected by a parent or legal custodian. In 2019 the juvenile division saw the effects of increased use of electronic nicotine delivery devices, also known as vaping devices, by teenagers.Unfortunately, too many teenagers began to replace the nicotine cartridges for these devices with cartridges containing tetrahydrocannabinol (THC).Due to the increased use of THC in vaping devices, the number of juveniles charged with illegal possession of THC tripled from 20 in 2018 to over 60 in 2019.The juvenile division ended 2019 and continues to look at fair and creative ways to address this conduct that holds the juvenile accountable and appropriately responds to the increased use of these devices by teenagers. The juvenile division also adopted an office policy in 2019 to address reports of threatening behaviors at schools.Thepolicygivesprioritytothedecisionmakingonthesecasesandrequirestheassigned prosecutor to seek inputfrom the law enforcement agency and school involved in the offense. The prosecutor will also communicate with those agencies and keep them informed about developments in the case.The policy also provides some guides, using research based practices, to help the prosecutor make decisions on charging and handling of the case. The number of child protection cases handled by the juvenile division reached an all-time high in all 3 major categories of court filings in 2019.We filed 70 child in need of protection or services (CHIPS) petitions; 25 termination of parental rights petitions; and 22 other permanency petitions in 2019.The total number of child protection referrals in 2019 was 182, an increase of 16% compared to 2018. The numbers are significant especially when compared to the average number of child protection referrals we received from 2011 to 2015, which was 82 referrals per year. 16'