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Court of Common Pleas, Family Division - Juvenile Court

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.

Consistent with the terms of the Pennsylvania Supreme Court’s order of April 28, 2020 (Nos. 531 and 532 Judicial Administration Docket), it is ORDERED AND DECREED THAT:

  1. Unless otherwise specified hereafter, this Order applies to the resumption of Court operations in Philadelphia Family Court, effective June 1, 2020.
  2. While the Philadelphia Family Court BUILDING shall REMAIN GENERALLY CLOSED to the public, services and court proceedings shall be expanded as set forth hereafter. Family Court services, conferences, hearings, and court proceedings shall generally be conducted through the use of advanced communications technologies as defined in the General Statewide Judicial Emergency Orders issued by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court on April 28, 2020 (Nos. 531 and 532 Judicial Administration Docket). Family Court reserves the right to require parties and/or counsel and necessary witnesses to participate in person at proceedings held in the Philadelphia Family Courthouse, if necessary.
  3. Supervised physical custody at the Family Court Nursery shall remain suspended pending further order of court.
  4. Suspension of Time Requirements. The suspension of time requirements, time limitations, or filing deadlines imposed by this Court’s Orders in connection with the Judicial Emergency will expire. Legal papers or pleadings required to be filed between March 16, 2020 and June 15, 2020, shall be deemed to have been filed timely if they are filed by the close of business on June 15, 2020.
  5. Rescheduling of Events – As to Family Court, all matters that were given a date certain by notice issued prior to March 16, 2020 for any date from March 17, 2020 through December 31, 2020, are hereby administratively canceled and will be rescheduled. Parties will receive notification of their rescheduled hearing date(s). This does not apply to cases designated as protracted, which remain as scheduled.
  6. Filing. All legal papers may be filed, as applicable, through the following electronic filing systems, which will be fully operational: Criminal Electronic Filing System, PACSES, and PACFile. Legal papers may also be mailed or emailed to the applicable filing office as set forth hereafter. For the protection of court staff and court users, filing of legal papers in person at filing offices is suspended until further court order.

Juvenile

  1. Dependency Matters
    1. Shelter Care Hearings, Adjudicatory Hearings, Dispositional Hearings, Permanency Hearings, and Adoption Finalizations, shall continue to be conducted. Termination of Parental Rights shall resume. Parties will receive notification of their rescheduled hearing dates.
    2. With agreement of all parties, reunification orders will be administratively granted without a hearing, using advanced communication technology when necessary.
    3. The Court shall continue to issue orders for Authorization of Medical Treatment of a Minor, pursuant to 18 Pa.C.S. 3201.
  2. Delinquency Matters
    1. Detention Hearings shall continue to be conducted Monday, Wednesday, and Friday at the Family Courthouse, 1501 Arch Street, Philadelphia, PA 19102.
    2. Adjudicatory hearings shall resume after June 1, 2020, with notice to parties and counsel.
    3. In cases where the juvenile is detained prior to the adjudicatory hearing, the Court shall schedule a prehearing conference at which time the pretrial detention of the juvenile will be reviewed using advanced communication technology.
    4. The Court shall continue to hear motions for step down from detention and discharge from placement using advanced communication technology.
    5. Dispositional Review Hearings shall continue to be conducted with notice to parties and counsel.
  3. Filings
    1. How to File. Juvenile filings shall continue to be electronically filed through PACFile. Self-represented litigants may file according to the below procedures:
      1. Mail – filings may be made by mail to the Office of the Clerk of Family Court – Juvenile, 11th Floor, 1501 Arch Street, Philadelphia, PA 19102.
      2. Email – all fillings may be emailed to: JUVClerkEmergency@courts.phila.gov.
    2. Filing Fees. Payment of all applicable filing fees, or in the alternative a fully completed Petition to Proceed In Forma Pauperis (“IFP”), must be received by the Office of the Clerk of Family Court simultaneously with a mailed filing, or within three (3) business days from an emailed filing. All filing fees must be in the form of a money order or attorney’s check (no personal checks), MADE PAYABLE TO THE OFFICE OF JUDICIAL RECORDS, and must be mailed (along with the filing, if applicable) to the Clerk’s office, addressed as follows:
      Office of the Clerk of Family Court – Juvenile
      1501 Arch Street, 11th Floor
      Philadelphia PA 19102
      ATTENTION: FILING FEES (if payment is included)
      1. IMPORTANT: If, after Court review, the IFP petition is denied, payment of all applicable filing fees must be made via mail within twenty (20) days from notification by the Clerk's office to the Petitioner that the IFP petition has been denied.
      2. IF THE FILING FEE IS BEING MAILED SEPARATE FROM THE LEGAL FILING, BE SURE TO INCLUDE THE DOCKET NUMBER IN THE MEMO PORTION OF THE MONEY ORDER.

Please select an office or department from the list below to view detailed information.

Administrative Judge of Family Court: Honorable Margaret T. Murphy, 215-686-7970

Supervising Judge of Family Court: Honorable Walter J. Olszewski

Deputy Court Administrators: Mario D'Adamo, Esq., 215-686-4100

Deputy Court Administrators: Katherine T. Grasela, 215-686-4050

Chief Juvenile Probation Officer: Faustino Castro-Jimenez 215-686-4103

Chief, Juvenile Division: Lisa Pema Harvey, Esq., 215-686-9362

The Juvenile Probation Officer assigned to you will inform you of any juvenile court costs, fees, fines, and restitution payments assessed to your case(s).

Forms of Payment
Agency Checks, Attorney Checks, and Money Orders payable to the First Judicial District are accepted. Please Note: Personal Checks are not accepted

Ways to Pay Your Juvenile Court Costs, Fees, Fines and Restitution Payments By Mail:
Juvenile Branch Fiscal Unit
1501 Arch Street, 11th Floor
Philadelphia, PA, 19102

  • Please include the Juvenile’s Name, Date of Birth, and case number if known on memo line of check or money order.
  • If using a money order, please ensure all fields are completed, especially the address field showing the juvenile's current address on record.

Until further notice, payments may not be made in person at the Family Court Building.

How to File. Juvenile filings shall continue to be electronically filed through PACFile. Self-represented litigants may file according to the below procedures:

  1. Mail – filings may be made by mail to the Office of the Clerk of Family Court – Juvenile, 11th Floor, 1501 Arch Street, Philadelphia, PA 19102.
  2. Email – all fillings may be emailed to: JUVClerkEmergency@courts.phila.gov.

Filing Fees. Payment of all applicable filing fees, or in the alternative a fully completed Petition to Proceed In Forma Pauperis (“IFP”), must be received by the Office of the Clerk of Family Court simultaneously with a mailed filing, or within three (3) business days from an emailed filing. All filing fees must be in the form of a money order or attorney’s check (no personal checks), MADE PAYABLE TO THE OFFICE OF JUDICIAL RECORDS, and must be mailed (along with the filing, if applicable) to the Clerk’s office, addressed as follows:
Office of the Clerk of Family Court – Juvenile
1501 Arch Street, 11th Floor
Philadelphia PA 19102
ATTENTION: FILING FEES (if payment is included)

  1. IMPORTANT: If, after Court review, the IFP petition is denied, payment of all applicable filing fees must be made via mail within twenty (20) days from notification by the Clerk’s office to the Petitioner that the IFP petition has been denied.
  2. IF THE FILING FEE IS BEING MAILED SEPARATE FROM THE LEGAL FILING, BE SURE TO INCLUDE THE DOCKET NUMBER IN THE MEMO PORTION OF THE MONEY ORDER.

Delinquency
New delinquent petitions and probation case transfers from other jurisdictions are processed and filed by the Juvenile Court Delinquent Intake Unit, Juvenile Justice Service Center, 91 N. 48th Street 19139 (215-683-9183) which is open 24 hours a day. The Delinquent Intake Unit 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

Private Criminal complaints against juveniles are submitted to the Private Criminal Complaints Unit (215-686-8370).

For more information, see

Dependency
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.

Adoption Unit
Adoptions unit (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 unit. They also process Registrations of Foreign Birth and Gestational Carrier cases and conduct searches for adoptees seeking to locate their biological parents.

Truancy Unit
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. With the aid of Project START, DHS and School District staff, Judges, Hearing Officers, and Facilitators conduct Truancy Hearings at school sites and in the courthouse.

Justice is best served when the community, victim and youth receive balanced attention and all gain tangible outcomes from their interaction with juvenile probation. When crime occurs, it is not an isolated phenomenon, but affects the entire community. Consequently, there are three clients- the community, victim and offender- who will receive equal consideration in the Juvenile Justice System in order to reduce crime and restore order. Therefore, the mission of the Juvenile Justice System is to employ evidence based practices, protect the community from delinquency, and impose accountability for offenses committed and restoration of the victim.

The services of the Philadelphia Juvenile Probation Department are organized by geographic districts, specialized probation units, and residential service units.

Juvenile Probation Administration
Faustino Castro-Jimenez, Chief of Probation 215-686-4103
Bennie Price, Deputy Chief of Probation 215-686-4102
William Cooney, Deputy Director 215-686-4035
Nancy Magowan, Deputy Director 215-686-8329
Miriam Prioleau, Director 215-686-7721
Amy Warner, Deputy Director 215-686-4202

Geographic Districts:
Central - 215-686-4130
Northeast – 215-686-4141
Northwest - 215 686-7483
South – 215-686-7962

Specialized Probation Units and Programs:

Crossover Unit 215 686-4201 provides supervision to youth that are in both the juvenile justice system and child welfare system to provide a collaborative approach for treatment and services.

GPS Tracking Unit (215-686-4271) monitors juveniles at home as an alternative to detention.

Juvenile Enforcement Team (JET) 215 686-7310 and 215 897-0849 is comprised of specially trained Juvenile Probation Officers and Police Officers. The JET unit operates citywide with a law enforcement focus on high risk juvenile offenders and juvenile/gang violence within the City of Philadelphia. The JET unit focuses on community protection.

Residential Service Units (RSU) Juveniles committed to and recently discharged from a delinquent residential program are typically supervised by Juvenile Probation Officers who are assigned to the program and work in one of the following units:


INB - 215-686-7397
IND – 215-686-8323
INS - 215 686-4150

Specialized Services Unit (215-686-7777) is comprised of the Private Criminal Complaints Unit, Post the Evening Reporting Center, and the Student Transition Center.

Youth Level of Service Unit (YLS) 215 686-4120 - completes the YLS risk assessment on youth to determine criminogenic needs and match appropriate services.

Youth Violence Reduction Partnership (YVRP) (215 686-7494) and (215-685-7332) 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.

Academic Help Center (AHC) (215-686-7797) exists to, Help bridge school-based resources and Family Court services to support families (by providing) Education consultation and Philadelphia School District records, to Link and refer supportive services and resources, and ensure Positive educational outcomes. The AHC serves to bridge the gap between the Philadelphia Department of Human Services, School District of Philadelphia and Philadelphia Family Court, to assist young people in having a successful educational experience.

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.

Behavioral Health Services-Family Court Unit (BHS-FCU) (215-686-8812) Community Behavioral Health (CBH) and the Behavioral Health Forensic Evaluation Center (BHFEC) provides behavioral health services at the courthouse to court involved children, youth and families. These health services allow for better communication between the Court, CBH and BHFEC. Better communication results in a time effective process and provides available resources at the courthouse for families who are at risk and often unable to navigate multiple complicated systems without assistance. CBH’s Community Umbrella Agency (CUA) Care Coordination Team continues to ensure that children, youth, and families have access to and are provided with quality behavioral health services within their communities. The role of the CBH CUA Care Coordination Team is to synthesize and formulate behavioral health information so that the respective CUA’s, understand the context of experiences (e.g., trauma, mental health, addiction) and how it relates to current behaviors, symptoms, and need for treatment, coordinate meetings with respective treatment providers and when team meetings need to be held, decide if behavioral health concerns are elevating to a point where immediate action needs to be taken, and assist the CUAs in determining a need for high levels of care for children and youth.

Clinical Evaluation Unit (CEU) (215-568-7752) assesses family members for drug and alcohol problems, refers them to treatment, and provides the Court with progress reports for subsequent hearings. Referral to the drug and alcohol unit is available, by referral from the Judge, to any person who has a perceived or substantiated substance use problem/concern. The case will continue to be monitored and reported on until a case is removed from DHS supervision and administratively discharged from the courts by the Judge.

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.

Prevention Services Unit (215-686-8328) is a voluntary program that seeks to prevent children and families from entering into the Delinquent and Dependent Court systems. The primary goal is to enable families during challenging times to remain intact and receive the necessary support and services to build upon the strengths of families to avoid further intervention by the Child Welfare System. In collaboration with the Philadelphia Department of Human Services (DHS), families are referred to community-based services to help parents strengthen their families and raise their children in loving, safe and nurturing homes.

Victim Services Unit (215-686-7060) works directly with victims of juvenile crime, providing information and other assistance. The purpose of the Victim Services Unit is to reduce the trauma of crime by assisting the victim and their family members in reconstructing and restoring their lives through advocacy, support, information, and referrals. One of the main goals of the Balanced and Restorative Justice (BARJ) principles is to hold juvenile offenders accountable for their actions. Victim Services carefully monitors the restitution of our youth and works closely with Probation Officers and the District Attorney’s Office to ensure victims are being compensated. Currently, the unit provides all services as listed in the Crime Victims Act for Victims of Juvenile Offenders, the Juvenile Act, and the PA Rules of Juvenile Court Procedures. Some of these services include but are not limited to, the provision of victim notification services, sending address confirmation forms, providing information to victims on their rights, informing victims of the amount of restitution ordered, the status of restitution payments, and act as liaison with Probation Officers and victims.

Children's supervised waiting area (215-686-4090) provides court-supervised custody/physical most Sundays, during three time periods - 9:30-11:30, 12:00-2:00, and 2:30-4:30. Please note that consistent with Pennsylvania Supreme Court’s order of April 28, 2020 (Nos. 531 and 532 Judicial Administration Docket), unless otherwise specified hereafter, effective June 1, 2020, supervised physical custody at the Family Court Nursery shall remain suspended further order of court.

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. Maintains Dependent Court Records. Kim Tobin (Director)

Director of Court Services (215-686-7733) manages interagency initiatives, statistics, and reports and coordinates the implementation of Model Court practices in the Dependency Courts.

Juvenile Record Room (215-686-4155) staff process and store juvenile probation case records. Eric Smith (Director)

Legal Liaison Unit (215-686-4290) accepts and appoints counsel for dependent and delinquent cases. They also process payment vouchers for wheel attorneys to receive payment for hearings attended.

Substance Analysis Unit (215-686-7722) Provides drug and alcohol testing for individuals ordered by the court and youth under probation supervision. Eric Smith (Director) Philadelphia Family Court is currently unable to process drug and alcohol testing during this time.

Training Unit (215-686-4116) organizes, facilitates, and schedules structured trainings as well as support to the departments within the Juvenile Branch of Family Court. Coordinates the student internship program for Family Court, Juvenile Probation Department. Margaret Joyce, Director

For general Court information, contact (215) 686-7000.

Contact

Business Hours

  • Monday-Friday: 9am to 5pm