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2012 Conference

The 2012 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 7-9, 2012 at the Harrisburg Hilton and Towers. This year, more than 1,000 individuals registered for the conference.

Juvenile Court Procedural Rules Update for Judges and Masters

On Wednesday, November 7th, the JCJC, in partnership with the Pennsylvania Supreme Court and the Juvenile Court Section of the Pennsylvania Conference of State Trial Judges, sponsored a training, "Juvenile Sex Offender Registration: What Judges and Masters Need to Know", in conjunction with the 2012 Pennsylvania Conference on Juvenile Justice.

Moderated by Jim Anderson, JCJC Executive Director, this training provided an opportunity for more than one hundred judges and masters to discuss the very significant impact on the processing of juvenile sex offense cases tht is anticipated with the enactment of Act 111 of 2011, which becomes effective on December 20, 2012. Judges and masters were able to discuss implementation issues that are likely to arise within their local jurisdictions.

Various juvenile and family court judges, as well as representatives from the Governor's office of General Counsel, the Pennsylvania State Police and the State Sexual Offenders Assessment Board, were featured in the comprehensive review of Act 111 and related Rules of Juvenile Court Procedure. Topicsw of discussion included: "Juvenile Offender" Classification, Notification, Registration and Quarterly Verification procedures; Recommended Supplemental Written Admission Colloquy for use in juvenile sex offense cases; Pennsylvania State Police Responsibilities and Policies; and "Sexually Violent Delinquent Children" committed for involuntary treatment under 42 Pa. C.S. Chapter 64.

Professional Caucuses

The conference began on November 7th with an opportunity for participants to join with colleagues from their area of specialty within Pennsylvania's juvenile justice system in Professional Caucuses, and 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. A summary of issues discussed in each of these caucuses will appear in December's newsletter.

Juvenile Defender Training

Over seventy juvenile defenders from across Pennsylvania attended the 2012 Conference on Juvenile Justice, and participated in a separate training track developed exclusively for them on Wednesday, November 7th. Presentations for juvenile defenders included: Overview of the Youth Level of Service/Case Management Inventory (YLS/CMI); SORNA Update; Juvenile Detention Alternatives Initiative (JDAI) in Pennsylvania and Defender's Roles in Supporting Reductions in Unnecessary Detntion; Family Engagement Discussion Group; and Ethical Consideration Post M.W. and Strickland. A "Judges Roundtable" was also held on Thursday, November 8th, at which time juvenile court judges joined the defenders for lunch. 

Youth Awards Program

The 2012 Youth Awards Program was held on Wednesday evening, November 7th, and was attended by close to 600 people. Young people were recognized for being selected as winners in Poster, Creative Expression, and Outstanding Achievement award categories. Additionally, the Juvenile Court Section of the Pennsylvania Conference of State Trial Judges presenting two deserving youth with inaugural Juvenile Justice Scholarships, each in the amount of $1,000.

This year's Youth Awards Speaker was Dr. Charles A. Williams, III, also known as "Dr. Chuck". Dr. Chuck is an educational psychologist, and a member of the faculty at Drexel University, where he serves both as Assistant Clinical Professor in the School of Education and the Director of the Center for the Prevention of School-Aged Violence. His work focuses on mentoring, bullying, child welfare, and the achievement of minority and special needs youth.

Dr. Chuck, who is a former foster care youth who remained in care until aging out of the system, spoke about the hard work and perseverance required of him to successfully achieve his educational and life goals, including earning a Ph.D. He encouraged the youth in attendance to employ the same sense of determination to overcome life's obstacles and past mistakes to ultimately achieve success in life. Dr. Chuck imparted upon the youth one sacred tenet -- "the way you start does not have to be the way you finish."

Conference Welcome and Keynote Presentation

On Thursday morning, November 8th, 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 programs, 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 Dr. James D. "Buddy" Howell, Managing Partner at the Comprehensive Strategy Group and a Senior Research Associate with the National Gang Center in Tallahassee, Florida.

Dr. Howell's presentation, "How to Use Research and Evidence-Based Programs to Lower the Age-Crime Curve", emphasized the need of juvenile justice systems to focus primarily on high risk offenders, and to maximize the utilization of proven, effective programs to work with these offenders, and ultimately reduce risk and recidivism.

Over the past several years, Dr. Howell has worked with Dr. Mark Lipsey in implementing the Standardized Program Evaluation Protocol (SPEP) within the Comprehensive Strategy in various jurisdictions -- including Berks County and the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania in conjunction with the Juvenile Justice System Improvement Project sponsored by the Center for Juvenile Justice Reform at Georgetown University.


Over 650 people registered to attend fifteen different workshops on Thursday, November 8th. 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 workships included:

  • Juvenile Justice Evidence-Based Practices 101
  • Building an Evidence-Based Juvenile Probation Department: JJSES Stage 1 Activities
  • Motivational Interviewing 101 and Pennsylvania's Protocol for Successful Implementation
  • Developing Effective Case Plans Utillizing the Youth Level of Service (YLS)
  • Lessons Learned from JDAI: Implementing a Detention Risk Assessment Instrument
  • Integrating the YLS and Service Delivery: What a Provider Needs to Know
  • Using Curricula to Address Criminogenic Needs: The National Curriculum and Training Institute (NCTI) 
  • The Family Guide to Pennsylvania's Juvenile Justice System: A Resource Supporting Families
  • Pennsylvania's Recidivism Project: Establishing our Benchmark
  • The Missing Link: How to Incorporate the Youth Voice in Juvenile Justice Reform Efforts
  • How Does the SPEP Fit within the Context of the JJSES and Pennsylvania's Evidence-Based Programs?
  • The Standardized Program Evaluation Protocol: A Roadmap for Improving Services to Juvenile Offenders
  • Using Evidence-Based Practices to Inform Decision-Making: What a Judge Needs to Know
  • Effective Diversion Programs, Policies and Practices
  • Advancing Balanced and Restorative Justice Through the Juvenile Justice System Enhancement Strategy

Thursday Afternoon Plenary Session

The afternoon plenary session, entitled "What Works with Juvenile Offenders in Reducing Recidivism", was presented by Dr. Edward J. Latessa, Interim Dean and Professor of the College of Education, Criminal Justice and Human Services at the University of Cincinnati. Dr. Latessa discussed the identification of criminogenic needs and the effective implementation of the principles of effective intervention (risk, need, and responsivity) in the context of identifying effective practices and programs for intervention. Dr. Latessa has co-authored seven books and has directed over 150 research projects, including studies of day reporting centers, juvenile justice programs, intensive supervision programs, halfway houses, and drug programs.

Annual Awards Program and Dinner

Thursday's activities concluded with the 32nd Annual Awards Program and Dinner. The Juvenile Court Judges' Commission and the Pennsylvania Council of Chief Juvenile Probation Officers honored both individuals and progarms for their outstanding work in Pennsylvania's juvenile justice system.

The Juvenile Court Judges' Commission congratulates all of the 2012 Award Winners


Residential Program of the Year
Craig J. Schmidt
The Abraxas Leadership Development for Females


Anthony F. Ceddia
Outstanding Scholar Award
Matthew Foster
Dauphin County


Juvenile Probation Officer of the Year
Shannin C. Danquah

Undergraduate Scholarship Award
Felicia Franklin
Shippensburg University


Juvenile Court Support Service Award
Marcia M. Jordan
McKean County


Court-Operated Program of the Year
Gary A. Purfield
Chester County Juvenile Probation
Community Service Program

Juvenile Probation Supervisor of the Year
John A. Dively
Blair County


Community-Based Program of the Year
John G. Frain
Wesley Spectrum Services
In-Home Drug & Alcohol Initiative


Chief Probation Officer of the Year
Elizabeth A. Fritz
Lehigh County


Victim Advocate of the Year
Erin Siffin
Allegheny County


Meritorious Service Award
Norman L. Lacasse
Dauphin County