Juvenile Justice  Juvenile Justice Initiatives Juvenile Prosecution & Defense Capacity Building

Juvenile Prosecution & Defense Capacity Building


The goal of this program initiative is to enhance juvenile case processing capabilities for prosecution and defense attorneys working in Pennsylvania's Juvenile Courts.


  • Promote accuracy of decision making at every stage of the juvenile justice system, from detention through disposition, disposition review and transfer.
  • Increase attorney understanding of the Rules of Juvenile Court Procedure.
  • Increase attorney knowledge of the law and resources available to the juvenile justice system, in particular Balanced and Restorative Justice.
  • Increase attorney knowledge about juvenile justice system policies, including those related to Balanced and Restorative Justice, Aftercare/Re-Entry, and Diversion.
  • Increase attorney knowledge in areas of child welfare, child and adolescent development, mental health, mental retardation, special education, drug and alcohol treatment, and other special needs of juvenile offenders.

Historically, projects under this area have included augmentation of district attorney and public defender existing staff complements for juvenile case processing, as well as training that focuses on the improvement of juvenile case processing capability. With the promulgation of the Rules of Juvenile Court Procedure by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court in 2005, this initiative has supported statewide trainings for juvenile defenders and prosecutors that focus on this and a variety of topical areas for the purpose of ensuring that juvenile cases are handled in an effective, efficient and coordinated manner.

Activities supported by this program initiative include training, technical assistance, information sharing related to juvenile case processing, and updates on case law by means of website, listserv, and traditional bulletin format.

Funding under this program initiative is provided through the federal Justice Assistance Grant Program. Annual subgrant awards from PCCD are made to the Pennsylvania District Attorneys Institute and the Philadelphia Defenders' Association. Questions about this program area should be directed to Christina Cosgrove-Rooks at (717) 265-8478 or (800) 692-7292.

Rules of Juvenile Court Proceedings