JUVENILE JUSTICE:AN OVERVIEW FOR THE NEW JUDGE Presented by Judge Kim Berkeley Clark & Judge Kenneth Valasek
WHAT TO EXPECT TODAY • The Adoption and Safe Families Act of 1997 • Purposes of the Pennsylvania Juvenile Act • Pennsylvania Rules of Juvenile Court Procedure • A Quick Trip Through a Dependency Proceeding • A Lightning Trip Through a Delinquency Proceeding • Two Minutes Twenty Seconds with CPSL • Pop Quiz with Handsome Prizes
THE ADOPTION AND SAFE FAMILIES ACT OF 1997 • What motivated Congress? • What changes did Congress hope to bring about? • PA complies: Act No. 1998-126
THE PENNSYLVANIA JUVENILE ACT • Sections 6301 to 6365 of the Judicial Code (Title 42 of Pa.C.S.) comprise the Juvenile Act.
Purposes The Juvenile Act recites its purposes in its very first section. One of these five enumerated purposes deals exclusively with delinquency cases. The rest deal in whole or in part with dependency cases.We’ll now discuss the purposes of the Act insofar as they relate to dependency.
Family Unity • To preserve the unity of the family whenever possible or to provide another alternative permanent family when the unity of the family cannot be maintained. Section 6301 (b)(1) • To achieve the purposes of the Act in a family environment whenever possible, separating child from family only when necessary for his welfare, safety, health… Section 6301 (b)(3)
Care • To provide for the care, protection, safety and wholesome mental and physical development of children coming within the provisions of this chapter. Section 6301 (b)(1.1)
Legal Rights • To provide means in which… the parties are assured a fair hearing and [in which] their constitutional and other legal rights [are] recognized and enforced. Section 6301(b)(4)
RULES OF PROCEDURE • 100 thru 800 deal with delinquency • 1100 thru 1800 deal with dependency
The Early Stages • A proceeding may be commenced in any of several different ways, including…
By the filing of a dependency petition… • Rule 1200(1) • Section 6321 (a)
With a protective custody application • In emergency situation, a protective custody application can be filed. • Results in a court order OK’ing taking the child into custody immediately • Removal from home is necessary for the welfare of the child • Rule 1200 (2) & (3) • Rule 1210 • Section 6324 (1) • 23 Pa.C.S. 6315
…or by taking the child into custody • Rule 1200 (3) • Section 6321(a) • This prompts us to ask…
When may a child be taken into custody pursuant to statutory authority, without a court order?
Arrest • Pursuant to the laws of arrest • Applicable to delinquency cases for the most part • Section 6324 (2) • Rule 200
Danger! • By cop or JPO only • Illness • Injury • Imminent Danger • Removal Necessary • Rule 1202 (A)(1) • Section 6324 (3)
Runaway • Only by cop? • Rule 1202 (A)(1) • Section 6324 (4) • Inconsistency
For dependency (not delinquency) purposes • A person less than 18 years old or • A person older than 18 who, while engaged in a course of instruction or treatment, asks the court to retain jurisdiction until the course is completed • Never beyond 21 • Rule 1120 • Section 6302
Option #1 • The person taking the child into custody gives the child back to the parents. • Section 6326 (a)
Option #2 • Takes the child to a shelter care facility • Rule 1202 (C) • Petition must be filed w/i 24 hours • Rule 1240 (A)
23 Pa.C.S. Section 6315Child Protective Services Law NOTE: If the child is taken into custody because of the suspicion of physical or sexual abuse, the custody cannot be maintained longer than 24 hours without CYS obtaining a court order permitting it to continue. The law says that a judge should always be available in each jurisdiction to handle this situation.
If the child is placed in shelter care w/i 72 hours an informal hearing before the court Rule 1242 (D) Section 6332
72-Hour Shelter Care Hearing • Issue: Should the child be kept in a shelter care facility pending the adjudication hearing? • Check out Rule 1242 and Section 6332 to see how the hearing should be conducted. • Check out Section 6325 to learn the grounds for continuation of shelter care.
Grounds to Temporarily Place in Shelter Care • Protection of person or property of the child. • Protection of person or property of others (pertains to delinquency). • Risk of absconding or removal from jurisdiction. • Lack of capable parent or guardian • Section 6325 & Rule 1242 (C)
“Informal but orderly manner” Very relaxed rules of evidence Possibly be unrepresented parties at this hearing Possible that parents will not even be there Conducting the shelter care hearing
Required Findings for Continuation in Shelter Care • that there are grounds to do so • allowing child to remain would be contrary to welfare • least restrictive alternative • reasonable efforts determination
Time Constraint after72-Hour Hearing • If the court decides that further temporary shelter care of the child is warranted, the adjudication hearing must be held within 10 days of the filing of the petition. • Rule 1404 (A) • Section 6335 (a)
The Adjudication Hearing:Before you walk through the door into your courtroom…
…should you be curious about anything? • Suggested answer: yes • Take a look at the petition. • First, determine what grounds have been alleged for finding that the child is dependent. • Second, determine if any aggravated circumstances have been alleged.
Definition of “Dependent Child” • Actually 10 definitions - count ‘em. • Section 6302: Definitions • Let’s go there.
Definition of “Aggravated Circumstances” • Actually, 9 definitions – count ‘em. • Section 6302: Definitions • Let’s go there.
You’ve just seated yourself in your courtroom. You survey your domain. Whom should you expect to be seated at counsel table?
CYS? • Statutorily charged together with DPW • Solicitor and caseworker • Nearly 100% of dependency petitions are filed by CYS. • Rule 1320 – private petitions
The Child? • The child must be summoned if he is 14 or older. (In delinquency cases, the child must always be summoned.) • Section 6335 (a) • Not uncommon for younger children not to be there.
The Parents? • The parents must be summoned. • Rule 1360 • Section 6335 (a) • The court can order the parents to bring the child. • Section 6335 (b) • Rule 1360 (B)