In the 1960's, concern about detaining juveniles in adult jails led to a strong consensus to create a Detention Home for Juveniles. State officials first required a probation office to handle cases that had gone to Court. This work was handled by the "Welfare Department." In 1967, a Probation Department was created with three (3) previous employees of the old Welfare Department.
This Probation Department operated until 1970 under the supervision of the Prince William County General Court. As Prince William County grew, the case loads of the County Court increased as well. It was time to establish a separate Juvenile Court. State officials were also concerned that probation services and juvenile cases were being handled in a haphazard manner throughout Virginia. Legislation created a new system of District Courts throughout the Commonwealth. Each city and county was a part of a District. Included in this system was a new Juvenile and Domestic Relations District Court and its attendant Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court Service Units.
These units provided services to the Juvenile Courts such as intake services when the initial screening of cases were done, in addition to any petitions that brought cases before the Court; social history writers to inform the Court of individuals who came before it; probation services to handle any case where a juvenile was placed on probation; and After Care Services to help children and families when a child had been sent to an institution for committing more serious offenses.
Along with this new Court system came a system to appoint full time Juvenile and Domestic Relations District Court Judges. The number of judges appointed to a district depended on how many cases were to be heard in that district. In smaller areas, a district might include many counties or smaller cities. A judge traveled to several counties during a week. Prince William County was a part of a district that included Fairfax. However, both Fairfax and Prince William County grew so fast that the district was split, and Prince William, Manassas and Manassas Park became the 31st Judicial District.
The 31st District Juvenile and Domestic Relations District Court now has five (5) judges. Services to the Court have grown: there is now a Detention Home (recently expanded); a Boys and a Girls Group Home and a temporary shelter home for short-term cases.