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Fellowship contributes to new juvenile court rule

July 1, 2011

The contribution of Stoneleigh Fellow Christine Trinkl Dougherty (2008-2009) to new court rules regarding the health of children in foster care has paid off.  Under the new Pennsylvania Juvenile Court Rules and Amendments, effective July 1, 2011, the court must ensure that the dependent child’s health care and disability needs are identified, monitored, and addressed, and that dependent children with disabilities are receiving necessary accommodations.  In 2008-09, Christine contributed to the effort of several advocacy groups to bring about these new rules.  In addition to the health rules, new rules also address education of dependent children, and focus on three key issues: 1) minimizing school changes; 2) ensuring that a juvenile or child is attending school, receiving educational services, and making progress toward graduation; and 3) ensuring that each juvenile or child has a legally authorized educational decision maker.  As set forth in the amendments, each of these educational, health care, and disability needs must be addressed at each stage of the proceedings and in the court’s orders.  Read the amended court rules here.