The Juvenile Branch of the Family Division of the Court of Common Pleas of the First Judicial District processes cases involving juvenile delinquency where minors have been accused of crimes; dependency cases, arising from allegations of neglect or abuse; truancy petitions and those alleging incorrigibility; and adoptions. Several means are used to provide services to youth and their families. The general information number is 215-686-4000.
Administrative Judge of Family Court: Honorable Kevin Dougherty, 215-686-7970
Juvenile Court Deputy Court Administrators: Mario D'Adamo, Esq., 215-686-4100
Chief of Court Operations: Kathy Grasela, 215-686-4258
Chief Juvenile Probation Officer: Faustino Castro-Jimenez 215-686-4103
Please select an office or department from the list below to view detailed information.
New delinquent petitions are filed by the Juvenile Court Delinquent Intake Unit, Philadelphia Youth Study Center, 3232 Henry Avenue (215-683-9183) which is open 24 hours a day. Juvenile Delinquency Court and Probation case transfers from other jurisdictions are processed by the Delinquent Intake Unit, as well.
New dependent petitions, which are usually filed by the Law Department of the City of Philadelphia on behalf of the Philadelphia Department of Human Services (DHS), are submitted to the Dependent Court Operations Office (215-686-4119). This unit also accepts Mental Health petitions filed by psychiatrists when involuntary treatment for a juvenile under the Mental Health Act is indicated.
Private Criminal complaints against juveniles are submitted to the Private Criminal Complaints Unit (215-686-8370).
Parental complaints about incorrigible children or youth who are suspected of abusing drugs or alcohol are processed by the Prevention Services Unit (215-686-8328).
Truancy citations are prepared by Project START (Stop Truancy and Recommend Treatment) (215-686-4104) from a list of truant children provided by the School District of Philadelphia.
Adoption cases are processed by the Adoptions Unit (215-686-4259).
The mission of Juvenile Probation in the context of Pennsylvania's Balanced & Restorative Justice (BARJ) Model is to serve the needs of the victim, offender, and the community in a balanced manner in each individual case. The goals are accountability to the victim and community, protection of the community, and the development of competencies in individual offenders. Victims of crime, the community and the juvenile offenders as well, should receive balanced attention from the juvenile justice system and each should benefit from their interactions with the justice system.
The services of the Philadelphia Juvenile Probation Department are organized by geographic districts, specialized probation units, and aftercare units that assign probation officers to individual residential programs for institutional and aftercare services.
Delinquent Intake Unit (215-683-9183) performs the following functions for the Court: liaison to the police and the prosecutor's office for the processing of new delinquent cases, authorization of juvenile detentions, support services for detention hearings, appointment of defense counsel for delinquent cases, liaison to the Department of Human Services and to agencies providing delinquent placement services, and initiation of new delinquent case records
Specialized Probation Units and Programs:
Electronic Monitoring & Voice Tracking Unit (215-686-4271) monitors juveniles at home as an alternative to detention.
Youth Violence Reduction Partnership (YVRP) (215-686-7494) is a multi-agency, anti-violence initiative that serves the most violent areas of Philadelphia. It provides intensive services and supervision for high risk youth and young adults.
Juveniles committed to and recently discharged from a residential program are usually supervised by probation officers who are assigned to the facility and work in one of the following units:
Special Offenders Unit (215 686-4150) services juveniles in sex offender & psychiatric programs.
Residential Services Unit (215 686-7777) services juveniles in all other residential placements
Director of Court Services (215-686-7786) manages interagency initiatives, statistics, and reports and coordinates the implementation of Model Court practices in the Dependency Courts.
Pre-Hearing Conferences To better serve all of the dependency courtrooms, Family Court utilizes two full-time Pre-Hearing Conference Rooms. Every court case begins with a Pre-Hearing Conference that involves all parties and is moderated by a facilitator. An assessment of the problems causing the child abuse or neglect is made. Expectations of the court are explained and responsibilities are delineated. Behavioral Health and Drug/Alcohol needs are assessed. In many cases, agreements are reached and the facilitator submits recommendations to the Court on placements, visitation, behavioral health evaluations, and services. Addressing these problems at the outset holds out hope for family preservation or reunification.
Behavioral Health Services-Family Court Unit (BHS-FCU) (215-413-3100) Master's level clinicians research the treatment histories of family members named in the Dependent Petition, identify behavioral health needs, arrange for evaluations and treatment for family members and make informed recommendations to the Court.
Clinical Evaluation Unit (CEU) (215-686-4272) assesses family members for drug and alcohol problems, refers them to treatment, and provides the Court with progress reports for subsequent hearings.
Accelerated Adoption Review Court (AARC) is a specialized courtroom dedicated to examining cases where parental rights have been terminated, however the adoption has not been finalized.
Adoptions Branch (215-686-4259) staff files, processes and lists all termination of parental rights and adoption finalization matters. Final Adoption decree is issued by the Adoption Branch. They also process Registrations of Foreign Birth and Gestational Carrier cases and conduct searches for adoptees seeking to locate their biological parents.
Prevention Services Unit (215-686-8328) is a prevention program which services families and children who voluntarily access the Court for assistance. Assessment of what is causing the problematic behavior (i.e., truancy, incorrigibility) is conducted by a Social Worker. Appropriate services are provided by DHS funded programs.
Project START (Stop Truancy and Recommend Treatment) (215-686-4104). With the aid of Project START, DHS and School District staff, Judges, Masters and Facilitators conduct Truancy Hearings at school sites and in the courthouse.
Court Listings (215-686-7733) schedules delinquent and dependent trials and other hearings involving juveniles.
Courtroom Operations (215-686-4244) provides court officers to manage cases in the courtrooms.
Dependent Court Operations Unit (215-686-4119) processes and stores dependent case petitions and enters the data on new petitions into the automated database.
Juvenile Record Room(215-686-4155) staff process and store juvenile probation case records.
Mental Health Unit (215-686-4276) is the court liaison with private psychologists and psychiatrists who provide evaluations of delinquent offenders.
Nursery (215-686-4090) provides court-supervised visitation most Sundays, during four time periods - 9:30-11:30, 12:00-2:00, 2:00-4:00 and 2:30-4:30.
Training Unit (215-686-8341) provides training for juvenile probation officers and other staff.
Victim Services Unit (215-686-7060) works directly with victims of juvenile crime, providing information and other assistance.
Substance Analysis Unit (215-686-7722) Provides (Drug and Alcohol) testing for Juveniles and those ordered by the Court.