Intake Unit

Intake services are provided by the Court Service Unit as directed by the Code of Virginia. The Intake unit processes both civil and criminal matters.

Page updated on Jan 22, 2021 at 8:25 AM

Summary of Intake

Intake handles requests for petitions for custody, visitation, paternity, child support and protective orders. Intake also handles delinquent and non-delinquent complaints against juveniles, including any Child in Need of Supervision or Child in Need of Services (CHINS). Youth designated as a Child in Need of Supervision may be chronically truant, beyond the control of his/her parent or have run away from home or a residential treatment facility. A Child in Need of Services exhibits behaviors that pose serious risk to his/her safety or the safety of others. CHINS behavior includes non-criminal or status offenses (acts that would not be considered criminal if committed by an adult).

Complaints are filed with the Intake Unit by the police department, citizens, schools, parents and guardians, the Department of Community and Human Services and other city agencies. After-hours intake services are provided in conjunction with the police department for juvenile offenses that occur when the Court is closed. The Court Service Unit is on-call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days out of the year. Depending on factors involved in the case, a youth may be placed at the Sheltercare Program of Northern Virginia, the Northern Virginia Juvenile Detention Home or may be released back to his/her parent or guardian.

Sheltercareis a short-term residential facility for adolescents 13 to 17 years old.  Children are referred by the Alexandria Juvenile Domestic Relations District Court Service Unit and the Al­exandria De­partment of Community & Human Services for a va­riety of reasons including crisis at home or foster placement; runaway behavior, delin­quency, and probation violations; poor school attendance/behavior/grades or other at-risk behavior. All residents referred to Sheltercare are in some form of crisis and need a long-term service plan and/or alternative placement. Sheltercare is operated by the Northern Virginia Juvenile Detention Commission. 

In addition to providing care and custody in a safe and healthy residential setting, Sheltercare residents receive:

  • Individual service plans and assessment
  • Medical screening and assessment
  • Individual counseling that focuses on is­sues identified in service plan and assessment
  • Regular staffing to coordinate ef­forts of the courts, the Department of Community and Human Services, school, parents and Sheltercare
  • Group counseling that focuses on topics such as anger management, conflict resolution, self-esteem, substance abuse, decision making, STD/HIV education, and other life skills
  • In-house special education or assigned school attendance depending on the resident's individ­ual service plan/needs
  • Recreation programs utilizing resources throughout the DC Metro Area to provide new experiences for residents and expose them to alternative educational and leisure activities
  • Community service activities

The Northern Virginia Juvenile Detention Home (NVJDH) is a secure institution for adolescents who are being held by the juvenile courts of Northern Virginia (City of Alexandria, Arlington County and the City of Falls Church). The capacity of the NVJDH is 60 beds for the Pre-Dispositional Program and 10 beds for the Post-Dispositional program.

Intake Procedure

In juvenile delinquent and non-delinquent cases, an Intake Officer will receive the complaint, meet with the youth and family, and make a determination on how to proceed with the case. A juvenile case is handled formally or informally. When a case is handled formally the case is petitioned to Court. In order for the case to be diverted, or handled informally, the juvenile and the family must be willing to adhere to the conditions set by the Intake Officer.

An Intake Officer may require that the juvenile participate in a 90 day monitoring program which may include the Shoplifter's Prevention Program, the SAFE program (Substance Abuse Focus Education), the Case Management & Life Skills program, community service, restitution or counseling. Failure to complete any aspect of the diversion contract may result in an automatic petition to Court.  To see how the Court process works, please click  here.

If you have any further questions or would like more information about Intake and the services offered, please call the on-call Intake Officer at 703-746-4144.

General information for filing during COVID Pandemic


  1. Call INTAKE as soon as possible to screen your request and a same day phone or video appointment will be made 703-746-4144.  If you have an Emergency Protective Order please contact Intake as soon as possible if you wish to extend (by filing Preliminary Protective Order with Intake). 
  2. Please allow at least 2 hours for this appointment on that day (or longer if the use of an interpreter is required).
  3. On the day of the phone/video appointment you will be scheduled to meet with an Intake Officer between the hours of 8:00 a.m. and 1:30 p.m., at 520 King Street 1st Floor of Courthouse, to review the protective order petition/affidavits, sign, and file.  *The Court requires all protective orders to be filed prior to 2:00 p.m. 
  4. Be prepared to attend Court that day, after the Protective Order is filed.  


  1. Call INTAKE to screen your request and further discuss matter at- 703-746-4144.
  2. Most appointments will take place by phone or video. You will be asked to share a copy of your government issued ID.
  3. If, after the phone/video appointment, a petition is to be filed you will be scheduled a date and time to appear at Court Service Unit (520 King Street, 1st floor of Courthouse) to review, sign and file all documents.  Please allow 15-30 minutes for this in-person appointment.  You will be screened prior to being granted access to the Courthouse. Please use PPE and make child-care arrangements.
  4. After filing petition(s) any further inquires should be directed to the Clerk of Juvenile Domestic Relations District Court -703-746-4141.