A blog of the Philadelphia Bar Association’s Criminal Justice Section

Click to Pennsylvania Bulletin on PDF 41-20 below. New juvenile rules begin at page 2413, which is the ninth page of the PDF.


New PA Rules Require Juvenile Courts to Address Needs of Youth in Child Welfare, Juvenile Justice Systems
May 09, 2011

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court has adopted new Juvenile Court Rules that will require courts to thoroughly consider and address the health, education and disability needs of youth in the child welfare and juvenile justice systems. Pennsylvania is now one of only a few states to systematically address these issues through court rules.

Juvenile Law Center, with Education Law Center-PA, has provided comments to the Juvenile Court Rules Committee to support the rules and provide suggestions as to their content. We anticipate much training and support in the coming year for attorneys and judges in Pennsylvania using these rules as well as for advocates in other states interested in replicating them.

The new Juvenile Court Rules require courts to address the health, education and disability needs of juveniles and children in dependency and delinquency matters. With regard to educational needs, the new provisions and comments focus on key areas throughout the adjudicatory process, including:

1. Minimizing school changes

2. Ensuring that a juvenile or child is receiving an appropriate education, including special education, remedial education and, for older youth in the child welfare system, transition planning

3.Ensuring that each juvenile or child has a legally authorized educational decision maker

4. With regard to health care and disability, courts are directed to ensure that a child or juvenile’s health care and disability needs are identified, monitored, and addressed, and that children with disabilities are receiving necessary accommodations. The education, health care, and disability needs of each child must be addressed not only in court proceedings but in the court’s orders.

The engagement and leadership of the courts will increase opportunities for permanency, stability, and, ultimately, better life outcomes for our at-risk youth in both the dependency and delinquency systems.


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