§49-5A-1. Juvenile referee; qualifications; compensation; authority;"child," etc., defined.
In each county, the judge or judges of the circuit court may appoint one person who is qualified by education and experience to serve as juvenile referee on a full-time or part- time basis who shall serve at the will and pleasure of the appointing court. The salary of such referee shall be fixed by the court in accordance with the rules of the supreme court of appeals, and shall be paid out of the state treasury. It shall be the duty of the referee to hold any detention hearing determined necessary pursuant to the provisions of section two of this article. Each referee shall also perform such other duties as are assigned to him by the court to carry out the purposes of this article. Referees shall not be permitted to conduct hearings on the merits of any case.

As used in this article, the terms "child" or "children" shall have the meaning ascribed to those terms elsewhere in this chapter.