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2011 Conference

The 2011 Pennsylvania Conference on Juvenile Justice, sponsored by the Juvenile Court Judges' Commission, the Pennsylvania Council of Chief Juvenile Probation Officers, the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency, and the Juvenile Court Section of the Pennsylvania Conference of State Trial Judges was held November 2-4, 2011 at the Harrisburg Hilton and Towers. This year, nearly 1,100 individuals registered for the annual conference.

Juvenile Court Procedural Rules Update for Judges and Masters

On Wednesday, November 2nd, the JCJC, in partership with the Supreme Court, the Office of Children and Families in the Courts, and the Juvenile Court Section of the Pennsylvania Conference of State Trial Judges, sponsored a "Juvenile Court Procedural Rules Update" for judges and masters/hearing officers in conjunction with the 2011 Pennsylvania Conference on Juvenile Justice.

Moderated by George D. Mosee, Jr., Philadelphia Deputy District Attorney and Chairman of the Juvenile Court Procedural Rules Committee, this training provided an opportunity for judges and masters to discuss the very significant modifications to the Pennsylvania Rules of Juvenile Court Procedure that became effective July 1, 2011, and to discuss implementation issues that have arisen within local jurisdictions.

Panels of juvenile and family court judges were featured in the comprehensive review of the rules modifications. Topids of discussion included: The appointment of educational decision makers; the use of advanced communication technology; the presumption that juveniles are indigent; the use of restraints during juvenile delinquency proceedings; juvenile probation authority and training; on-the-record dispositional and permanency hearing statements; and mandatory hearings to ensure a dependent child's successful transition to independent living.

Professional Caucuses

The conference began on November 2nd, with an opportunity for participants to join with colleagues from their area of specialty within Pennsylvania's juvenile justice system in Professional Caucuses, to discuss issues of mutual concern and interest. Caucuses were held in the following areas of specialty:  Chief and Deputy Chief Juvenile Probation Officers; Juvenile Probation Supervisors; Juvenile Probation Officers; Victim Services; and Service Providers.

Juvenile Defender Training

Over seventy juvenile defenders from across Pennsylvania attended the 2011 Conference on Juvenile Justice and participated in a separate training track developed exclusively for them on Wednesday, November 2nd. Presentations for juvenile defenders included:  Effective use of a Psychologist in Dispositional Planning and Transfer Hearings; How to Use a Social Service Advocate or Social Worker in Dispositional Planning and Transfer Hearings; Ineffective Assistance of Juvenile Defense Counsel; Protecting Your Client and Yourself; Maximizing Effectiveness in Inter-legal Advocacy; and a Procedural Rules Update. A "Judges Roundtable" was also held on Thursday, November 3rd at which time juvenile court judges joined the defenders for lunch.

Youth Awards Program

The 2011 Youth Awards Program was held on Wednesday evening, November 2nd, and was attended by close to 600 people. Youth people were recognized for being selected as winners in Poster, Creative Expression and Outstanding Achievement award categories. This year's Youth Awards Speaker was the Honorable Dwayne D. Woodruff, Allegheny County Court of Common Pleas Judge and a member of the Juvenile Court Judges' Commission. Judge Woodruff, who played professional football for the Pittsburgh Steelers for twelve seasons, and was a member of Pittsburgh's Super Bowl XIV Championship team, is now as well known for his work as a juvenile court judge and statewide leadership on juvenile justice issues as he is for his athletic achievements. Judge Woodruff spoke about the hard work and perserverance required of him to successfully attend and complete law for two years, all while playing professional football. He encouraged the youth in attendance to employ the same sense of determination to overcome past mistakes and achieve success in life. Judge Woodruff also spoke about what a privilege he considers it to be a role model and to give guidance to youth on a daily basis, especially the young black males who appear before him in court. Judge Woodruff was elected to the Allegheny County Court of Common Pleas in 2005. He was appointed to the Juvenile Court Judges' Commission in 2006 and was reappointed in 2009; appointed by the Supreme Court to the Juvenile Court Procedural Rules Committee in 2008 and reappointed in 2011; and was appointed by the Supreme Court to serve on the Interbranch Commission on Juvenile Justice in 2009.

Conference Welcome and Keynote Presentation

On Thursday morning, November 3rd, Judge Arthur E. Grim, Chairman of the Juvenile Court Judges' Commission, gave the "Conference Welcome" and noted that with its unique combination of training, professional caucuses, awards program and Resource Day, Pennsylvania's annual juvenile justice conference is regarded as the premier state-level juvenile justice conference in the nation.

The Keynote Presentation was provided by Mr. Mark Carey, President of The Carey Group which provides training and technical assistance to both criminal and juvenile justice agencies at the federal, state and local levels in the area of evidence-based decision-making. Mr. Carey is currently providing training and technical assistance in the area of evidence-based practices to several juvenile probation departments in Pennsylvania, and is also providing technical assistance to assist Pennsylvania with the implementation of its Juvenile Justice System Enhancement Strategy. Mr. Carey provided background on the principles of evidence-based practices and highlighted recent work accomplished in this area by juvenile courts in Pennsylvania and other jurisdictions across the nation.


Over 750 people registered to attend ten different workshops on Thursday, November 3rd. A smaller selection of workshops than in previous years was offered, as each workshop was specifically selected to address various aspects of evidence-based probation practice and the Pennsylvania Juvenile Justice System Enhancement Strategy. As such, the morning workshops were repeated in the afternoon session in an effort to allow participants to maximize exposure to the selected topics. The workshops included:   

  • Evidence-based Juvenile Justice Practices: What a Judge needs to Know (Morning Session Only)
  • Motivational Interviewing 101
  • Implementing Evidence-based Assessment and Case Planning
  • Promising Approaches to Enhancing Family Involvement in Pennsylvania's Juvenile Justice System
  • The Berks County Juvenile Justice System Improvement Project:  Laying a Foundation for Statewide Reform
  • Keys to Effective Diversion Policy and Practice
  • Pennsylvania's EPIS Center:  Supporting Evidence-based Programs Through Training and Technical Assistance
  • Pennsylvania's Juvenile Detention Alternatives Initiative
  • EBPs in the YDCs:  A Comprehensive Framework for Effective Programming
  • Building an Evidence-based Juvenile Probation Department: Lessons Learned

Thursday Afternoon Plenary Session

During the afternoon plenary sessions entitled "Developing Evidence-based Programming for Delinquent Youth:  The Standardized Program Evaluation Protocol," was presented by Dr. Mark Lipsey, Director of the Peabody Research Institute and a research professor at Vanderbilt University. Dr. Lipsey specializes in program evaluation with a focus on programs for at-risk children . In his presentation, Dr. Lipsey discussed his meta-analysis on interventions with juvenile offenders which identified common characteristics of effective programs that led to the development of the Standardized Program Evaluation Protocol (SPEP) to better translate this research into practice. Dr. Lipsey's Standardized Program Evaluation Protocol is a primary component of the Juvenile Justice System Improvement Project (JJSIP) sponsored by the Center for Juvenile Justice Reform at Georgetown University. Pennsylvania is one of four states in the nation selected to participate in the JJSIP, with Berks County as the initial implementation site.

Annual Awards Program and Dinner

Thursday's activities concluded with the 31sth Annual Awards Program and Dinner. The Juvenile Court Judges' Commission and the Pennsylvania Council of Chief Juvenile Probation Officers honored both individuals and programs for their outstanding work in Pennsylvania's juvenile justice system. In addition to the traditional award winner categories, two other special awards were presented. Judge Kim Berkeley Clark (Allegheny County) was presented with the Outstanding Leadership Award for her service as a JCJC member from May 2004 through July 2011. Dr. Thomas L. Austin (Shippensburg University, Criminal Justice Professor Emeritus) was presented with the Judge Fred P. Anthony Award for his contributions to the Pennsylvania Juvenile Justice system. Dr. Austin taught in the JCJC-sponsored Graduated Education Program since its inception in 1982 until his retirement in August of this year. The Undergraduate Scholarship Award was renamed the "Thomas L. Austin Undergraduate Scholarship" in his honor. 

The Juvenile Court Judges' Commission congratulates all of the 2011 Award Winners

Winner Photo
Residential Program of the Year
A. Mark Amendola
Perseus House Florence Crittenton
Winner Photo
Juvenile Probation
Officer of the Year
Rebecca Arnold
Dauphin County
Winner Photo
Anthony F. Ceddia
Outstanding Scholar Award
Theresa A. Kline
Luzerne County
Winner Photo
Meritorious Service Award
Jennifer M. Kominsky
Westmoreland County
Winner Photo
Undergraduate Scholarship Award
Benjamin Leedy
Winner Photo
Juvenile Court Support Service Award
Wendy A. Munley
Luzerne County
Winner Photo
Court-Operated Program of the Year
Andrew Schneider
Allegheny Court Juvenile Probation Education Specialists
Winner Photo
Juvenile Probation
Supervisor of the Year
Diana Munson
Chester County
Winner Photo
Victim Advocate of the Year
Jenna B. Wheale
Dauphin County
Winner Photo
Community-Based Program of the Year
Leon Wilkerson
Dauphin County Alternative Rehabilitation Communities Neighborhood Reporting Center
Winner Photo
Chief Probation Officer of the Year
Robert N. Williams
Berks County

Resource Day

The 2011 Pennsylvania Conference on Juvenile Justice concluded with Resource Day. Conference participants had the opportunity to learn about new, innovative and creative approaches to working with juveniles. Representatives from private and public residential programs, informational services, technology services, and other vendors were available to present information and discuss products and services. Attendees of Resource Day, which totaled more than 550 people, were eligible to participate in a raffle that was sponsored by the Pennsylvania Council of Juvenile Probation Officers. Attendees could receive one raffle ticket from each vendor, which made them eligible for one of four drawings throughout the morning. Prizes included a free registration to the 2012 Pennsylvania Conference on Juvenile Justice; a weekend stay at the Harrisburg Hilton and Towers; a Kindle E-reader and an I-Pad.